GODSPEED Posted October 4, 2021 Share Posted October 4, 2021 Going through the gameplay part of the trailer that was revealed on September 17th, there is one thing that was really bothering me and for some reason, I couldn't put my finger on it until today. I was overwhelmed with mixed feelings of excitement, surprise but also wariness and disappointment. Pretty sure most understand that. One of the "features" that reminded me why I really dislike the modern twist on turn-based mechanics, is the predictability of everything. I'll TRY to be brief (that never works for me) and I will only try and point to a few glaring issues I have when comparing what I see in the gameplay from the perspective of new vs old ja/xcom. PREDICTABILITY was the word of choice; what made this come to mind, is the dual-grenade throw of Fidel, the movement and (yet to be really proven, the overwatch features) featured in the trailer. FIDELS DUAL-GRENADE THROW Old X-Coms & JA2 had a way of hidding gameplay mechanics to make the game feel organic and "natural". Almost ANY action you take could be met with a wide range of unpredictable elements. Take for example, the grenade throwing. In Jagged Alliance 2, handling grenades was not something you'd necessarily trust Biff with. Why? Because many elements come in the way of how accurate the placement of that grenade would be. That UNPREDICTABILITY leads to you THINKING and having to MAKE A CHOICE. Is it worth it to hand over a grenade to a merc with poor strength, dexterity and agility to maybe see him fumble that grenade into a friendly merc, or completely miss his mark, maybe leaving him standing in the middle of the laughing redshirts? You NEED to pop a smoke grenade so you can go stick a regen into Raven, who's down to 1 HP. But the smoke ends up not hiding her from the laughing redshirts. Raider hates his job and you! Why did you give the task of throwing that grenade to Flo? She nearly took her eye out in the process! You took a chance. You made a willing decision and took a chance and regretted it.UNPREDICTABILITY goes WAY beyond the percentage on that chance to hit when you fire a gun. It's from taking any action, like moving, detecting a mine (or not), throwing a grenade, kicking in a door, punching a redshirt...Situations and choices that can turn to your advantage or disadvantage in a single mistake, from either side. Now, let's take the modern method of throwing a grenade; you see EXACTLY what squares will be affected, you know EXACTLY where it will land. You take away all REASONING, THINKING, GUESSING, LEARNING and CHANCE out of the equation. You already KNOW how much damage it will make, you already know everything. You lose that organic feel and "natural" feeling that comes with different people taking the same action. Fidel throws 2 grenades that show two circles that overlap in the middle.. all assumptions are that whatever enemy that overlap lands on, takes double damage. There is no skill, no learning, no experience (from your own mistakes) to corect future choices you make. Everything is calculated and handed over to you with the precision of a board game. MOVEMENT AND OVERWATCH In Jagged Alliance 2, to move, you try and calculate to the best of your abilities, the effects of moving from A to B. How is that "UNPREDICTABLE"? Because, you can be interrupted, you can spot an enemy, or you can notice something that will make you change your "plan". In modern mechanics, you KNOW where such and such enemy is, you KNOW who has an overwatch active. There is no guessing, taking a chance, no "judging" the situation. In the modern system, you know exactly up to where you can move, and you already are aware of everything around you. Nothing feels natural or organic; it's like a board game. Another feature in modern turn-based games I really dislike is the overwatch feature. This mechanic relies almost exclusively on the chance-to-hit, marksmanship or accuracy stat. You KNOW that the first enemy to step into that cone of vision will be shot at. Regardless how good that enemy is. The amount of times this feature can be abused because you can let the enemy come pile up to your overwatch cones when you feel like playing defensively. It requires no deep thought, or management. In Jagged Alliance 2, you do not know what enemy you will face, you do not always know if that enemy will avoid an interrupt or not. Higly experienced mercs have a great chance to interrupt redshirts and cheap enemies.. but less experienced mercs can and will get in precarious situations if you do not manage them properly. This UNKNOWN creates such great battles, firefights, drama and situations that in turn can come and change your plan or your strategy. Maybe you thought these last few nemeies were going to be dead easy, in turn you end up with 2 mercs on the brink of death. Now, you can either decide if you leave them behind to rest up, or take a few days break to treat them... or do you chance them on your next assault? All this UNPREDICTABILITY, all these unknown factors are part of what makes Jagged Alliance such a great game.. also why the old X-Coms need a REAL remake/remaster... wanting to shoot that enemy, but missing and taking down a support structure, watching floors crumble down. Damaging property you were supposed to NOT damage. There is nothing wrong with the predictable nature of turn-based mechanics... But Jagged Alliance is great because it contains so much unpredictability (among many of its unique features) that make this kind of game shine as a video game. What makes me a little sad from the gameplay trailer is a feeeling that instead of building on what made Jagged Alliance 2 such a unique game, they are working out how to dress up modern xcom mechanics into Jagged Alliance clothing.. ...and, no! Knowing the difference between an AK-47 and an AKM is not what makes a real fan of Jagged Alliance... that's the superficial part of the game. The core, the mechanics and the personality is what makes Jagged alliance. 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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