Jagged Alliance: Back in Action (JABIA) is a remake of the 1999 tactical strategy game, Jagged Alliance 2 (JA2). It retains the overall structure of JA2, including largely the same strategic gameplay, story, worldmap, sector layouts, quests, weapons, and mercenaries ("mercs"). JABIA features a new fully 3D engine, which allows the camera to be fully rotated and zoomed in to grant better views of the action, as well as a new tactical gameplay system called "Pause & Go", which replaces JA2's tactical turn-based combat. Various other content and design changes have also been implemented, most notably the removal of fog of war and the addition of more mercs than JA2 featured.
The story of JABIA is identical to JA2's: Enrico Chivaldori, the exiled former ruler of the island-nation of Arulco, hires the player to recruit, arm, and lead a band of mercenaries in retaking control of Arulco. Deidranna, Enrico's evil wife who usurped his rule, now terrorizes the island as a brutal dictator and is draining the nation of its natural wealth (diamonds) to fuel her lavish lifestyle.
Over the course of the game, the player will need to recruit mercenaries via an in-game laptop to form squads of hired guns to recapture control of the island one sector at a time. With each sector captured from Deidranna's forces, the player gains additional daily income as well as various forms of rebel support from the island locals to further the revolutionary cause. Only the death of Deidranna can bring peace back to Arulco.
The gameplay of JABIA is divided into two complementary halves: the strategic side (while viewing the worldmap) and the tactical side (while viewing any of the sectors in which battles are fought).
The strategic side is nearly the same as it was in JA2. The player starts the game with a bundle of money and no mercs or territory under their control. Over the course of the game, the player must manage their roster of mercs as well as their income (from held sectors) and expenditures (from hiring mercs and buying weapons and gear to outfit their mercs). The player may also accept quests from locals, which bring various rewards, including money or new recruits; and Lastly, the player must take care in plotting out the travel routes of their squads of mercs across the island, which functions (macroscopically) like a continuous open world, so as to not waste time unnecessarily or accidentally stumble into enemy positions unprepared.
Meanwhile, Deidranna also operates counter-strategically to the player. She utilizes her own income from her controlled sectors to train and arm her own forces, which she regularly dispatches in squads to attempt to retake sectors from the player. To help guard against these counter-attacks, the player may equip rebel fighters in some captured sectors with weapons and armor. If Deidranna's forces attack a sector with none of the player's squads present and no armed rebels, then the sector is taken instantly; however, if either of the previous is untrue, then a tactical battle ensues, and the side left standing will control the territory.
As soon as a single sector is occupied by both the player's mercs as well as Deidranna's troops, the game switches from strategic into tactical mode. In tactical mode, the player issues commands to individuals mercs and attempts to kill all enemy troops. The action plays out in real-time, but the player may pause the game at any time via the "Pause & Go" system. While the game is paused, the player can issue a queue of orders to each merc, who will then carry out those orders in sequence once the game is unpaused. Queued orders may be synchronized between more than one merc, so that multiple mercs will carry out their own orders up to the point of synchronization, then wait for everyone else to be ready, and then all act simultaneously. This allows the player to coordinate ambushes that would otherwise be difficult to execute with the necessary speed in real-time.
Combat itself operates under the same dynamics as in JA2. Line of sight dictates whether a merc can attack a target, movement mode (run, walk, crouch, prone) allows for a tradeoff between movement speed and accuracy/cover bonuses, and so on. One difference from JA2 is that the environment is no longer broadly destructible, but rather only certain walls designated with an icon are destructible using a planted explosive charge.
Once combat is resolved, the player may speak with civilians. Some will accept weapons and equipment to become rebels that will defend their home territory, others will let the player buy and sell gear, and a few will even offer quests or join the player's squad as a merc.
At any time, the player may access their in-game laptop, which serves as a kind of journal as well as hiring and financial management tool. The following buttons are available in the laptop:
E-Mail - View messages and reminders, just like e-mail messages. These messages typically notify the player of various events, like new stock being available in the online store or messages from Enrico about the campaign's overall progress.
Recruiting - View and hire mercs. Like an online dating website for murders, A.I.M. offers a convenient synopsis on a variety of people you might be looking to rendezvous with. Information includes: name, salary, skills, traits, inventory, and a personal bio on their history, likes, dislikes, and murderous inclinations.
Online Shop - Place orders for new weapons, attachments, ammunition, armor, and equipment. The biggest selection of military-grade hardware on the Internet. All orders will be assessed tax and shipping. Expedited shipping available at extra charge.
Quest Notes - View what needs doing and to whom. Each quest is marked as open (in progress), solved (finished except for claiming the reward), or solved (entirely concluded). Deadline for each quest is also noted, if applicable.
Financial - Shows a chronological record of financial transactions, which can help illuminate where all that money went.
As in JA2, each merc has a unique personality and combination of strengths and weaknesses dictated by their attributes, skills, and traits. Mercs will gain experience points for successful actions performed in the field, such as killing an enemy, picking a lock, defusing a mine, and more. Each time a merc levels up, the player may freely distribute 7 additional points among the merc's attributes and skills. Each attribute or skill can range from 0 to 100. Each merc also has 2 or 3 intrinsic traits that further personalize them.
Agility - Determines a merc's maximum stamina as well as how quickly the merc can act (e.g. aim, turn, stand up).
Dexterity - Contributes to a merc's success with the explosives, marksmanship, and mechanical skills.
Strength - Determines a merc's maximum health and melee damage, as well as contributing to a merc's ability to force open a lock.
Intelligence - Determines how much XP a merc gains from successful actions, as well as contributes to the medical skill.
Perception - Determines the range of the merc's sight (mine detection) and hearing (enemy detection), as well as the effective range of Guard Mode.
Medical - Contributes to success rate when using medical items (e.g. bandages, first aid kits) to heal injuries. Some medical items require a minimum medical skill to be used at all.
Explosives - Contributes to success rate when using explosives (e.g. planting/defusing mines). Some explosive items require a minimum explosives skill to be used at all.
Marksmanship - Contributes to a merc's chance to hit a target with a firearm.
Stealth - Contributes to lowering a merc's visibility and sound meters, reducing the chance of detection by nearby enemies.
Mechanical - Contributes to a merc's success rate when using mechanical items (e.g. lockpicks, weapon cleaning kits). Some mechanical items require a minimum mechanical skill to be used at all.
There are many different traits, some clearly beneficial, others less so. A few examples include:
Macho - Merc gets a morale bonus while in a squad with at least one woman and a morale penalty in an all-male squad
Shotguns - Merc is extra effective wielding a shotgun.
Shortsighted - Merc gets a morale bonus while wearing glasses and a morale penalty while not.
Unfit - Merc's stamina decreases faster while running.
Nudist - Merc gets a morale bonus while not wearing any clothes.
and many others.
- OS: Windows XP (SP2), Vista or Windows 7
- Processor: Core 2 Duo Processor (1.8 GHz or better) or similar AMD
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Hard Disk Space: 3GB HDD Space
- Video Card: Shader 3.0 compatible graphics card (Ati 2600, Geforce 8800 or similar) with 512 MB RAM
- Sound: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- Processor: i5 Processor (2.4 GHz or better) or similar AMD
- Memory: 4 GB RAM or more
- Video Card: Shader 3.0 compatible graphics card (Ati 5850 and Geforce 460 or better) with 768 MB RAM