Jagged Alliance 3 - Turn Based and Looking Good!

Even better than just new advanced settings, a mod that lets you fine tune the settings themselves.

I picked this game up during the Christmas/Winter sale and I installed the other day. And I keep playing it until 3 or 4 in the morning - generally when the land is less dark and the birds a little more active. I feel guilt for staying up so late, but wow has this game surprised me. There’s a few things that I’m maybe a little unsure on (eg: squad inventory for ammunition management) and I find navigating and managing more than one squad to be a bit of a bother. But combat feels good. Are sniper rifles and machine guns too strong. Heck yeah, but I don’t mind the feeling of just mowing down the opposition. The audio for the guns is wonderfully punchy. It gives me a vibe like the shootout scene from the movie Heat. I’m always a little bit leery with Haemimont games, but they’ve delivered a great and modern successor to JA2. It’s far from perfect, has some rough edges, but still a great inclusion in the series.

Also, not having Trevor in the A.I.M lineup saddens me greatly. He was my GoTo guy.

JA3 works so well when setting up all your mercs in the perfect positions and then letting the fireworks fly, (Predator guerilla camp vibes) but you can also stealth some parts too. It’s much harder to do though completely. I only achieved it on one map. (The island outpost on the river).

Yeah, having Ice set up with a LMG on a possible chokepoint brings a wonderful sort of glee. He has consistently been one of my favourite mercs from the first game. And JA3 is the first game where I’ve made good use of Fox. Never cared much for her in prior games, but this time giving her some knives and making good use of the stealth mechanics sees her getting some serious use. Used to be stealth in 2 was best done with Blood or Dmitri and using throwing knives. But having Fox in JA3 and setting up stealth melee kills works wonders.

I like that each merc does have a unique appearance on the map as well thanks to their outfit. Makes it easy to see at a glance who is who. And something that is missing in XCom I found. Much as I like the new XCom games, I do wish they had done something about creating preset soldiers with their own unique quirks and personality like in the JA games. I think Chimera squad achieved that, but I haven’t played it yet. Truth is, I don’t remember anything much about my soliders in XCom, despite taking some time occasionally to dress them up. But in JA games, I look forward to the banter that exists, repetitive as it might be.

I haven’t played in a few months, so things may have changed in the last couple patches, but Fox made a great sniper. Using her to start things off basically gives her a free shot, since her AP get refunded from her Striking Looks talent once you go turn-based. And even though Raven doesn’t have the Heavy Weapons trait, she turns a set up machine gun into a laser beam and, I believe, the machine gun’s field of fire cone counts as an overwatch zone. It is satisfyingly effective.

That’s a good point. I haven’t tried Fox in a Sniper role yet. She would be pretty decent too. I’ve focused so much on her hand to hand skills. In the arena, I had troubles with Grizzly fighting hand to hand, but put Fox in, and she was a beast. I did need Grizzly for the big fight though because of his grit development.

I’ll have to try that out too. One thing I’ve been struggling with a little bit is developing my squads. I keep trying to set everything in stone (eg: A Team, B Team) based on merc preferences working with each other. But I think I need to throw that out the window and be more fluid. And not try having two or more fronts.

That leads to a point of being focused. I completely forgot about one side quest until I went to a particular sector. There’s so much to do in this land, and I’m losing focus on what I should be doing. The map is huge and probably a bit of a conundrum when starting is where best to go after completing Ernie Island. Like getting the nearest mine makes sense, and then Fleatown. But after that - go North? go South? go East? I went North, but not sure if that was the better play than conquering South first. Maybe the point is to focus on the outposts first.

You can go where you want! Up to you and what you need to do to defend or get cash. Finding a way to keep it defended, whether it is militia, militia+merc(s) or mercs is up to you. The major events will tell you the area you want to go.

I’m in the mindset of JA2 where I could go where I wanted too, but the game was punishing if after Drassen you go to Alma I think it was rather than either Cambria or Chitzena. It’s definitely focus - oh look, let’s follow that quest and see what happens.

There is only one punishing bit and once you see it once you’ll know. The thing about it is that if you don’t go where you are told to, it doesn’t trigger so you can take your time. This is only really true with this one particular main objective. Other quests that it makes sense if you delay them will have consequences but I can only think of 2 of them.

The direction you take after Fleatown is mostly up to you. I went south first, then was pulled north…[redacted], then east. There is a “possibly” useful resource taking the southern city but going north first might be smarter.

Note that outposts have little mini-quests/actions that you can discover via intel to make them weaker. Usually something in adjacent sectors around the Outpost. Some of them are pretty cool.

There is a timer that kicks off one event but otherwise no time limit. Unless you consider the soft time limit of mines eventually running out, but I was able to explore every sector thoroughly, complete all quests, while fielding two squads (3 towards the end) and I think only two mines ran out.

Yeah I feel like going south first is the better option in hindsight. Less travel and there is a side quest. Probably clearing the fort in the river first to speed up travel for the event up north. I don’t really know how enemy scaling goes, whether it is based on time/events or sector specific. I’m well aware the archaeological dig site mine (Mfumu mine) will run out quickly so getting Red Diamond up and running is pivotal, but that just paves the way for team 2 which I don’t really need that early. By the time I got the third mine operational near the nightclub, the first had run dry, but I was floating a lot of cash reserves by that stage and had brought one of the legendary mercs (Scully) onto the team.

I think I went south because it was closer, and thus easier to reach + a quest near Fleatown sends you south IIRC. Path of least resistance with these types of games. Also my core strategy was beelining it to the next closest mine. I did hunker down and militia up every sector I took to max before moving on every single time. I think in a future playthrough I might just hire one extra merc to solely train militia. That’s all he does full time right from the start, just so my A-team can go fast.

One other thing is I would definitely not worry about money in this game after you get a few mines under your belt. You’ll eventually have more money than you’ll know what to do with. Ammo was the bigger limitation, so that meant diversifying guns a bit, but now it has Bobby Rays so maybe that is less of a deal.

I tried a new game last night to see how things go with going south first. Given the amount of dialogue in the game, I missed the fact that Emma says she is going to Port Cacao after Ernie Island. Given the limited time I’ve spent in the port so far (getting ready for N-Night) I think that is the right choice based on the weapons I’ve obtained from Ernie Island and Fleatown.

Kalyna the Ukranian sniper/mechanic is crazy good for Ernie island. Getting the Gewehr from the start trivalises the early fights and her special ability makes short work of the heavily armoured fortress bosses. I used her to good effect in the other playthrough at Red Diamond mine too. In fact, taking Ernie island was a breeze with her, IMP merc, Livewire and Ice. When the fortress tried to retake the village, I had Ice on the MG emplacement that was taken from Rust and he alone wiped out most of the attacking squad within a turn. Just crazy crazy good.

So far I’ve been using my IMP merc for that role. So I sort of keep my A team mobile (6 mercs now), and I’ve got my IMP merc and Livewire who only jump into fights when needed in a co-ordinated strike - I only ever want Livewire for the intel ability sometimes, and to run around the map hacking devices and disarming traps.

This new run through is feeling really good.

If anyone is starting to play 1.5 and looking for some mods to spice things up I have a collection here of working 1.5 mods. The real gameplay one is the Random Enemy, which requires Tons of Guns, a great mod and the others are mostly QoL though I very much recommend the Sound and UI mods (which works with Tons of Guns).

I’m pretty sure all of these can be added at any point in the playthrough but obviously with the Random Enemies and Tons of Guns you will be limited to what is available at Bobby Rays or that drops.

The Merc Editor can be enabled, edit your Mercs and IMP then disabled. You can’t make new IMPs with it enabled.

Why yes actually. I’m going to do a new run soon on my new PC. Thanks!

Thank you for making the collection. I’ll check it out once I finish my vanilla playthrough.

I added one more after I had a chance to test it a bit today to make sure it was doing what it was supposed to and after 8 or so encounters on a few saves in a different places it seems like it does.

The legion comes for you, it’s another gameplay mod, it spawns it’s own squads from outposts who are not attacking your captured locations but rather attack your squad(s) based on where they are located, how many, and where you are moving. There are certain sectors it won’t attack due to story concerns, but otherwise you can be attacked and fight in any sector. I found it immediately enjoyable.