Jagged Alliance 3 seemed like a probable car crash waiting to happen, in part because most Jagged Alliance games are, and in part because its wide-of-the-mark writing was already evident before release. But! It turns out to also be a cannily designed mix of old and new turn-based strategy ideas.
You can now try it for yourself, as there’s a demo on Steam.
“Apparently, We didn’t F*** It Up!” starts the news on Steam. Perhaps they’re as surprised as I am. You’ll find a demo download link in that post, or in the side bar on the Jagged Alliance 3 Steam page. The demo includes Ernie Island, the starting region.
Katharine had a rough time when playing JA3 before release, struggling with its UI, informational overload, and terrible merc barks.
Sin had some similar criticisms of the UI in her Jagged Alliance 3 review, and called the writing “wincingly unfunny”. None of it was so bad that it sunk what’s otherwise a successful turn-based combat game. The characters have interesting, varied skills; the action points system is less rigid than in modern XCOMs; and the shootouts are chaotic, supported by the hiding of chance-to-hit percentages, argues Sin. “It’s a strong push to move the genre beyond the model we’ve been stagnating in for years that still acknowledges the strengths of that design.”
It’s also got Steam Workshop support and an embryonic modding community. Want to see the chance-to-hit percentages after all? There’s a mod for that already.