Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business Info


  • N/A


  • 1 - 1


  • Interplay


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now


  • PC


Unfinished Story.

In the war-ravaged country of Arulco (just sub in the name of any extremely poor

South American country) peace starves, while strife and tyranny gorge themselves

on the bent backs of the natives.

As the fate of Arulco was ripped from the hands of ruthless despots by a brave

band of mercenaries and the civil war they ignited, so were rich Arulcan mines

snatched from Ricci Mining and Exploration. Once liberated, these mines fell

into the defenseless hands of the Arulcans. And now, Ricci Mining and Exploration

wants its mines back.

As you can see, plot isn’t a major element in Jagged Alliances 2: Unfinished

. No, this game, which is neither sequel nor expansion (I have no

idea what that makes it), goes straight for the balls with some of the toughest

turn-based combat this side of the Gulf of Mexico.

The game begins on your laptop, where you receive an e-mail from the distressed

Enrico Chivaldori, President of Arulco. From there you’ve got to use the money

he’s given you to scrape together a group of commandos worthy of the daunting

mission ahead: the dismantling of RM&E’s presence in Tracona.

To rustle up your commandos, you log on to the websites of either A.I.M or

M.E.R.C., two agencies who deal in the soldier of fortune trade. Even though

the M.E.R.C. site boasts an obnoxious little piss-ant host, the two sites only

differ in the mercs they have to offer.

The mercenaries vary in skills and prices and range from your typical stone-faced

military bad ass to a fat, incompetent hitman to a stereotypical French jerk.

As dull as the mercs seem at first glance, they prove to be pretty entertaining

and very well acted. They each have their own little catch phrases when they

ice a baddy, and a few of them have distinct personalities.

Unfortunately, as with most games involving a huge selection of NPCs, none

of these players develop or have any real issues or motives within the game.

Even though the characters have their little programmed quirks and the game

is mainly combat start to finish, it’d be nice if the mercs had more personality

than puppets and more significance than tools.

After choosing your team, you log onto a psychological profiling agency to

figure out who you are. Here you get to juggle stats for the ideal commando

leader. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t give you quite enough points to juggle,

leaving you with either a consistently mediocre player or an idiot savant. What

a choice!

And so the game opens with a beginning so difficult that all but the most

stalwart players will shrink from its nastiness. Before you really get into

it though, you’ve got to get yourself to the map screen.

JA2:UB‘s map is misleading and pointless for two main reasons. First

of all: you can only move one sector at a time. Every damned sector on the map

is full of enemies, and you can’t pass a sector until you’ve killed at least

a handful of the enemy. So, even though you can see where you’d like to be,

you can’t just click and go there, you have to truck it sector by sector.

And secondly, JA2:UB is very linear. There’s really no question as

to where you’re supposed to go and pretty much only one way to get there, making

a big map pointless.

When you’re not on the map screen, you’re in the regular isometric view in

one of the many sectors of the game, and you’re either kicking ass or buying

harder shoes for extra violent kicks to the enemy’s posterior.

Combat in JA2:UB is turned-based and begins when visual contact is

made between one of your guys and an enemy. Needless to say, you always want

to see the enemy first.


there isn’t any way to regain health while you’re in the midst of combat, you

never want your guys to take a hit. As opposed to running into fights with guns

blazing, the player must figure out how to drop his mark without attracting

the attention of the target or any of his friends. This makes for a very subtle,

stealthy combat style, and battles which are more like puzzles than firefights.

While the combat is cool, after your first forty fights it gets slightly formulaic.

You send a dude out into the open to see where enemies are, then you reload

and kill them. Tons of saving and loading.

Though the enemy AI is fairly simple (especially on the easiest difficulty),

enemy placement is perfect. Some enemies are placed in perfect sniping points,

making them extremely difficult to root out and very rewarding to kill. JA2:UB‘s

tactical aspects are very intelligent.

The graphics, on the other hand, are totally dated. The entire appearance

of JA2:UB is unoriginal. It looks exactly like JA2, which in turn

looked a whole lot like the two Fallout games. The camera view is impossible

to manipulate, the colors are drab, and the details are sparse.

The animation is very plain and occurs on a small scale. However, there are

some pretty rockin’ death sequences with exploding heads and perforated bodies.

Sadly, none of the actual animations live up to the ideas. Most of the death

animations are slow and a lot of the gory details aren’t very detailed.

JA2:UB‘s sound is fantastic. The voices are clear and sharp, the weapon

firing effects are distinct and dynamic, and the background themes are perfect

for the suspenseful mood of the game. Having said that, if you select all your

troops and issue a command, the output gets garbled. This is made worse by the

fact that you have to issue lots of commands, making for a lot of “Okeah-huh”

and general “&%$#@.”

While JA2:UB‘s combat is unique and rewarding, nearly every other aspect

of the game lacks vitality and originality. The graphics are weak, there’s no

story, no character development, and the villagers never say anything but “They’re

watching you.” Any pleasure that might be derived from victory via some story

line or dialogue is lost, and all that follows one victory is another difficult

challenge. JA2:UB is a tough game, but not tough enough to overcome its

own mediocrity.


Tactically challenging
Sounds like a winner!
No story
No development
Visually dated