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Came to this game rather late : )[message #357798] Thu, 08 August 2019 04:51 Go to next message
Registered:August 2019
So I've played through Jagged Alliance 1 once or twice, though never got past the final level I have to admit. Love the original as well... I had tried Jagged Alliance 2 before as well but had trouble understanding the interface as well as trouble with the game crashing \ compatibility for Mac OS. Fortunately I decided to give it another try and this time I came across Strataciella which allowed me to run it on my Mac with some occasional crashes (maybe a few dozen crashes throughout my playthrough over the last couple of weeks, not too bad). Very glad I tried it, I can probably consider this one of my favorite games of all time I have played and I have to say it is an absolute masterpiece of design!

I thought I'd share a bit of the outline of my playthrough since I guess this game deservedly has a lot of fans after all these years and maybe people are curious how it looks for a newbie. Anyway, I gave experienced \ ironman a try at first as I was learning and was doing ok (liberated Drassen with my IMP character, Ice, and Blood) but got a bit annoyed in Alma where I was doing very well and on the verge of liberating the first sector but then...there was a guy you talk with who bombs the wall who turns out to be a tired soldier who then decides to leave the army. Cool. Then there is a general who you also have the dialogue option with, but when you talk to him he turns sour and shoots the heck out of you...I felt a bit cheated because I thought the game primed me to think that a character with a dialogue option who doesn't shoot me on sight won't be hostile but...annoying! I wasn't in commitment mode so I had the option to start the sector over but then I also experienced a crash mid-combat without the option of quick-saving, and since I was still early on in the playthrough, I decided to start over without ironman and just try not to load too often of my own accord, because this game was definitely going to throw some more surprises my way and ironman while playing blind might turn out to be a bit tough...

So my second time I probably made some wiser choices...I made an IMP character with high marksmanship and physical attributes and 0 MEC, MED, and EXP. I was very happy with her during the whole playthrough, she eventually reached level 6 by the end, I think 96 marksmanship, and absolutely kicked butt, and was a decent militia trainer to boot by the end. I also decided to hire Gus for only a day to get his GK weapon and try to breeze through as much as possible with him in my employ : ) Turned out to be an excellent idea, not only was the weapon alone absolutely worth 6000 at that point in the game, but his service on the first day was splendid. My IMP and Gus (and Ira) breezed through Drassen and managed to just make it to the eastern SAM site right before the end of Gus's 24 hour contract and clear it out. At this point I considered my options carefully about who to hire. I was just short on cash for hiring Ice for two weeks, who I was pretty set on. But it really felt like the right strategy to go for 2 week contracts pretty much all the time, so I ended up with Hitman and Raven as my first long term team. Dr. Q soon came on board too as a medic and maybe as a night operator. My IMP and Raven both had experience in night operations, so I thought another character with night ops might fit in, but I ended up hating night missions after my IMP got taken down from close range in Cambria with a shotgun and was barely saved from certain doom by a clutch stun grenade before she was finished off. I pretty much never did night ops at all during the rest of the playthrough because I kept hiring the best aiming mercs so they really shined during the daytime from far away when we managed to set up strong positions. Hitman felt like an excellent hire early on because of his relatively high experience level for his cost (I think level 4 to start) and great marksmanship. I used him for quite a while as the point person (I hope my understanding of the game is correct in that the person scouting out new territory should be of a high experience level so they are less likely to get interrupted and conversely get interrupts on any approaching enemy). Meanwhile, Raven who started out at a lower level but had outstanding marksmanship got the highest ranged weapon and hung back behind Hitman a bit to back him up. I think this mostly sums my approach to the game by the time I liberated Cambria, which was next, explored some of San Mono, and started making our way to the northwest. I also picked up Gasket from MERC for repairing items, but unfortunately he got taken out during that very failed night mission in Cambria, and I decided not to reload. When I made my way to the northwestern town, I needed another hire good with locks and more firepower so I ended up hiring Static. He turned out to be a good choice and played a pretty key role in liberating the western towns.

I was pulling in a lot more cash now and decided to hire someone who could maybe be an even better point person than Hitman and my IMP. I perused the AIM files for a while and decided to go with Shadow. Whoo, he definitely became my favorite character during the rest of the playthrough. The permanent camo and stealthy skill was a very nice bonus and he just seemed to hit his targets every time : ) I decided to give him the best possible gear, which at that point was my only treated specta vest, treated spectra helmet (kind of a waste, should probably have only treated vests) and treated spectra leggings. I also modded the crap out of a rifle and gave him a bipod and sent him alone to scout the SAM site south of Cambria while my main team was off doing something else. It turns out I had prepared him very well by also giving him a mine detector and wire cutters, as he was able to make some holes on the western side of the compound, detected some mines along the southern perimeter and snuck around getting an idea of the enemy positions. Ok, so I did some save scumming here when I got detected a few times, as I was fiddling around and learning the stealth mechanics really, which ended up being quite fun. He made holes on virtually all sides of the fence to prepare for my real assault later, then snuck around all the way around the east and from good cover mowed down several guards near the entrance. Then I had him run around to confuse the enemy about his position a bit and picked off several more guys. WOW, stealth kicks ass, and Shadow kicks ass...I was almost considering taking out this whole SAM site with just him, but after a few more fails and reloads I decided it was a bit too much. We ended up meeting up for the NW SAM site first where we ran into Mike. We ended up completely kicking butt as we snuck through the fence and got into strong positions on the roof before they even knew what hit them, but unfortunately an invasion happened with my team there: I already had 20 militia trained but I had not made sure my whole team was away from the border and Dimitri ended up being mowed down from close range on the enemy's first turn. Bummer, but I decided not to reload after that event, even though he was really coming up nicely and was quite useful in repairing. My next hire was Repear because of his high level and thus he and Shadow became my team's new point people, while Raven, Hitman, my IMP, and Static were the backup \ snipers. As we were liberating Alma and had a whole new mine under control, I also hired Scope who was as good as I remember her being in JA: Deadly Games, fun times. Oh and Barry was my explosives guy, he mostly hung out and carried explosives and I seldom used him, figuring I would need to save most of them for the final push (boy I am glad I did). I did go through a fence and then blow through the back of a building in one of the Alma sectors and boy was that fun.

Anyway, I decided I was spending too much time with this game and wanted to be done with it already, so I started setting my sights on the capital. I set down Shadow as close as possible by helicopter and sent him off by himself to scout out what things looked like. I got a glimpse of two sectors just north of the capital and saw lots of sandbag entrenchments (if that's a word), barbed wire fencing and it looked to be very well guarded already outside of the capital...I barely got Shadow out of there alive as it seemed every sector nearby had some sort of enemy patrol...on top of it he got assaulted by bloodcats and miraculously managed to fight them all off by himself and survive at half HP. Finally he made it to a sector in my airspace and I lifted him out to Cambria where I had him meet with everyone in my employ. I had made somewhat of an effort throughout the game to bring most useful items I found to a central location in Cambria and now I loaded up everyone, including the nonfighters with grenades, mortar shells, plenty of medkits, ammo etc. for a grand assault on the capital. I think at this point my team consisted of about 16-17 mercs, if I can remember correctly: my IMP, Shadow, Reaper, Gus (latest (re)hire), Scope, Magic (late addition too), Raven, Hitman, Static, Hamous, Berry, Steroid, Ira, Gumpy, and maybe that's about it. Gumpy tagged along to carry some mortar shells even though he had just been comfortably sitting around the towns training militia happy

I had scouted the west coast pretty thoroughly and had an idea of troop movements. I had the chopper drop down my teams in 3 shifts as close as possible and ended up sneaking on the west coast just having to fight two battles against two relatively small groups with only two small injuries on my guys. I pressed on into the sector just north of the airport that I had scouted with Shadow somewhat, though I did not know where the enemies were positioned exactly, and I certainly did NOT expect tanks when I started. I took a very methodical approach stealthily crawling my shooters into position closer and closer, with camo-d reaped going first on the left and Shadow going down on the southeast, where he finally spotted the tank. Oof. I had no idea what it even took to take down a tank, but I figured LAWs and mortars seemed a good bet, so I made sure Gus was in a good position with the mortar to fire on the tank, then snuck Shadow back up and down with a LAW in his inventory. It nearly took down the tank, but it turned out to need a mortar shell to finish it off, so turns out my planning was spot on! Then we got rushed by quite a few troops and my well placed team got interrupts on virtually all of them to pick them off. I had gained access to the southern border of the section, so while Shadow scouted some more troops hiding behind sandbags to the west, and another tank (!), I decided to just have everyone press on south into the capital. This is where a lot of saving and loading began : ) I ended up on the western side of the airport, pretty much on the edge of the water. While I toyed around with taking this sector, it was unfortunately now night time, which, did I mention, I hate? And there were a lot of these guys with annoying rocket rifles...after a few fails I thought, why not just slowly make my way through the minefield safely (only 3 of my guys had detectors and they went first to scout out the mines for everyone else) and go straight for the palace.

The palace sure was crazy and it ended up taking me A LOT of saving and reloading I have to admit. It would be very difficult to do this level on ironman I think, and I would probably need a team 3 times as big as I had : ) I probably could have afforded it for a few days too, but I got lazy I guess and didn't want to deal with all that inventory management. anyway, I blew through the garden fence from the northwest then into the palace and further towards the center. Unfortunately, I lost several characters including my IMP, Hitman, and Reaper before managing to secure the throne room. I just have no idea how to prevent interrupts from these palace guard troops with rocket rifles, it felt very challenging. I finally learned the value of regen and energy boosts during this final phase, they were huge lifesavers!

Anyway, amazing game, and there is so much I didn't even see (I didn't end up even going to the SE town, the prison, and the few other 1x1 locations just north of the capital, guess I'll have to save those for later). I guess I could also do a ton of guns, 1.13, sci-fi playthrough etc etc. But I'll have to take a break for a while, for now this experience was great and plenty : ) Cheers
Re: Came to this game rather late : )[message #357826 is a reply to message #357798] Sun, 11 August 2019 02:06 Go to previous message

Registered:July 2019
If you want a sort of challenge while also turning your IMP merc into a beast lategame, try going for these stats during creation:

Health 85
Dex 75
Agility 85
Str 85
Wis 85

Rest 35

You could also go for 70 Dex and Str and for that get Explosives and Mechanical up to 45.
Or exchange Str and Dex values.

Depending on your playstyle, get either:
Automatic Weapons (Expert)

Night Ops

With either as Expert or both skills at the same time.

AW Expert is a deadly combination with the "Psycho" personality, however getting both seems to be impossible, at least from trying what felt like an hour to get it.

The high Wisdom will make all of your skills skyrocket during gameplay.
Marksmanship will very quickly hit the 70's.
Leadership will go up just as quickly by spamming Militia.
Medical skill will also rise quickly as Doctoring will be an inevitable thing to do during a gameplay, though Ira usually will be your first main doctor anyway.

I personally dislike the 1.13 mod a lot, as it adds to many unavoidable things like the new weapons and AP system, which negates all the good optional things it adds. (like the Insane difficulty and Milita changes)
If you haven't, try beating the normal game with the highest difficulty on Sci-Fi mode first before trying the 1.13 mod.

Soft of a shame Sparky isn't a playable merc in JA2, she is my favourite in JA1 just because she is so utterly ridiculous.
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