Review by z129000

Reviewed: 06/05/03 | Updated: 06/05/03

The add-on to an excellent game fails to impress

Jagged Alliance 2 is definitely one of my favorite PC games of all time. Challanging yet fun and addictive gameplay are what this game was built upon, how come that was all removed in the add-on pack??

Graphics: 8/10

Exactly the same as Jagged Alliance 2, only featuring a couple more character portraits and weapon photographs.

Sound: 8/10

Exactly the same as Jagged Alliance 2, only featuring a few extra voiceovers and script lines.

Gameplay: 4/10

Unfortunatly, Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business removes everything that made Jagged Alliance 2 fun. In JA2:UB, there is only one path in which you must follow, removing the nonlinear aspect of exploring the nation in JA2. Also, since you can use your JA2 character and upgraded mercenaries/items, the difficulty in UB is IMPOSSIBLE for a fresh character. Enemies, while not smarter, have much better stats and are equipped with much better quality items and weapons. In an outright attempt to sell the game to new users without JA2, UB was packaged with an upgraded character generation system, which allows more powerful characters to begin a new game as. Yet still the difficulty curve is icredibly tough. Those without a very powerful JA2 character should steer completely clear of this stand-alone add-on pack.

Replayability: 5/10

Again, dumbed down from JA2. What made JA2 so great was the ability to free-roam accross a large map and explore multiple cities and NPCs. Unifinished Business presents a linear path with few cities and a small number of NPCs to meet, thereby removing the nonlinear, fun, aspect of JA2. The incredible difficulty only further reduces this score, as you will not want to begin again with a fresh character without map-editing a whole lot of weapons and armor (explained later), in other words; cheating.

Map Editor: 10/10

The only feature saving this add-on pack deserves it's own section outright, as it would unfairly improve the Gameplay or Replay scores. The map editor is easy to use and offers many options to the user. You can edit in your own building designs, enemies, weapons, details, anything. Creating your own battles and maps is very fun, especially if you're like me and came up with a few ideas while exploring the world of Jagged Alliance 2. Unfortunatly this also encourages you to cheat, since your maps are installed onto the main campaign map and you can create an unfairly easy map that contains some of the most powerful weapons for you to pick up.

All in all, Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business ruins the gameplay legacy established by JA2. It removes all fun aspects of JA2 by increasing difficulty to an unfair level and creating a completely linear map. You are also denied the right to use your laptop in the early stages of the game, though that is for story-line reasons (though this means no new weapons, mercs, items, etc. for the first few hours of play, only what you find). The map editor, however, makes me recommend this game to hardcore Jagged Alliance 2 fans. Creating your own battles and backgrounds is too much fun to pass up for a true fan of the gameplay. If you have never played Jagged Alliance 2, go buy that, not the expansion pack. Save yourself a headache..

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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