Our Score: 8/10
When the elected president of Grand Chien disappears and the paramilitary group known as “the Legion” seizes power, the nation is plunged into anarchy in Jagged Alliance 3. In this authentic successor to a beloved brand, you can hire mercenaries, interact with engaging individuals, and engage in tactically complex turn-based warfare.
The Alliance Continues
Jagged Alliance 3 takes place in 2001 which is just a few years after the second game, allowing many of the recognisable mercenary characters who helped make the series so popular to return along with a few fresh faces. With over 40 mercs (and numerous hidden recruits discoverable in the game environment), A.I.M. divides each merc’s hiring price into four skill-based tiers, giving you lots of options and the possibility for replayability right away. My favourite mercenaries were a mix of the old and the new: Bobby “Steroid” Gontarski, an LMG-wielding Arnie imposter; Keith “Blood” Hanson, a stealthy operative skilled with throwing knives; Cynthia “Fox” Guzman, an ambidextrous medic and notorious femme fatale; and Monica “Buns” Sondergaard, a stern by-the-book professional.
The setting of Jagged Alliance 3 is the fictional African nation of Grand Chien, which is in the midst of a civil war and is being attacked by the Legion, a collection of rebellious citizens and paramilitary forces that have abducted the President and are wreaking devastation across the nation. The President’s daughter receives cash from the Adonis Corporation, a powerful worldwide business that owns the Grand Chien diamond mines, in order to hire the Association of worldwide Mercenaries (A.I.M.) to save her father. As an unidentified commander, you are tasked with assembling, leading, and deploying your own squad of specialised A.I.M. mercenaries in order to defeat the Legion and restore harmony to Grand Chien.
Combat itself offers an entertaining variety of ingenious situations, including as full-scale gun battles, guerilla warfare, unforeseen ambushes, and covert infiltration of adversary facilities. Squads receive orders in a turn-based structure, with action points (AP) deducted for each action. Prior to the enemy’s turn, use the surroundings and tactics to your advantage by arranging units on the battlefield in a grid. I discovered that I spent less time saving and more time shooting shots and getting gratifying outcomes because you may target specific body parts of adversaries, each with varying consequences (legs sluggish, head gets greater crits, etc.).
Jagged Alliance 3’s visuals represent a significant departure from the sprite-based imagery of the prior two games, although the switch to 3D graphics has boosted character and battlefield authenticity and environmental richness. From decaying shanty towns to majestic mansions, lush green jungles to parched deserts, high security jails and hidden underground facilities, each explorable level is jam-packed with hand-crafted detail.
Jagged Alliance 3 is more tactical and strategic goodness that captures the magic of the originals while modernizing it with great quality of life improvements. It has been a long time coming and for fans of strategy and tactical games, especially the originals this game is going to be an absolute treat.