Jagged Alliance 2: down on the farm

, | Game diaries

When we last left our heroes, the Dispensables were on their way to liberate the town of Drassen. It’s not far, but getting there turns out to be a bit more difficult than I expected. I very quickly spot one of Queen Deidranna’s patrols in the woods. Shouldn’t have stuck to the road, I guess.

The woods encounter has the potential to be a slaughter. My mercs don’t have nearly the weapons range to confidently take on a patrol in a relatively wide-open zone like these woods. Fortunately, the Dispensables sneak along the edge of the woods and make it to the next zone, a small farm on the road. No, it’s not particularly heroic, but don’t worry. We’ll be seeing this patrol again.

After the jump, a bloody harvest

Of course, the farm isn’t empty. It’s been taken over as an outpost for Deidranna’s troops. I have my team sneak through the limited cover of a field of grain, hoping for a repeat of my performance in the woods.

No such luck. Hostiles are spotted, and the fact that it’s high-freaking-noon means it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get by them without being seen. The team takes up positions around the stables and prepare for combat. Mantis and Ira move along the east wall, while Meltdown takes the west. Buzz climbs up to the roof, and Chopshop acts as lookout to the rear. He won’t be able to handle any serious threat, but all Buzz has to do is turn around in case he does spot someone.

The Dispensables see action almost immediately. Mantis takes out a couple of hostiles. She doesn’t have enough action points to kill both in one turn; she’s able to kill one, and has enough action points left for one more shot. She could try for a headshot, which has a good chance of missing, or a torso shot, which will likely hit, but leave the soldier still standing and able to spray lead back at her the next turn.

These are the kind of decisions that can turn even a small battle in Jagged Alliance 2 into a nail-biting 30 minutes or more, as every contingency plays out in your head. However, from the point of view of your mercs, they’re split-second decisions, and fortunately, Mantis has a third option.

She goes for the kneecaps, and the soldier faceplants into the dirt. He’s not dead, but he has to get back up next turn, which uses up enough action points that he can’t shoot back. Mantis takes him out on the next turn.

Meanwhile, Meltdown has spotted a crowd running towards the action from the south, so she books it inside the stables and takes cover next to a pile of tires. It’s limited cover, but Buzz takes out any soldiers that get close enough to seriously threaten Meltdown’s well-being. Even so, Meltdown gets a bit frustrated.

Suddenly a new challenger appears. Chopshop spots a soldier coming in from the west. Wait, the west? I just came from there! Remember the patrol I snuck by? Well, they’ve come to join the party. The 1.13 patch allows enemies to call in reinforcements from other sectors, which can quickly turn the tide of a fight if you’re not careful.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this new feature, to be honest. It’s pretty ridiculous when you’re fighting at the edge of the zone and the reinforcements spawn right on top of you. Fortunately, in this case, it works in my favor. Though I had hoped to avoid the patrol altogether, now I’m able to engage them on terrain that is more to my advantage.

Chopshop fires a few rounds at the new arrivals, but of course he couldn’t hit a barn at this range, so he turns around and runs for cover on the east side of the stables. Should an enemy follow him, Chopshop will be waiting around the corner, at a close enough range that he’ll at least be able to hit something.

Except the enemy doesn’t follow him. Thankfully, Buzz hears a noise behind her, and she’s able to turn around and plug the guy who just climbed up onto the roof before he unloads his clip into her back.

With two soldiers remaining, Ira makes a dash for the farmhouse. One of the soldiers has run around to the other side, so if she surprises him around the corner, she’ll be able to nail him at close range. Unfortunately, he surprises her instead, and she’s forced to take a tough shot.

She nails it, and gains a marksmanship skill point in the process. Told you she learns quickly. From there, mopping up the few remaining soldiers is easy. Again, though, I don’t get much in the way of spoils from the fight. I’m starting to get worried about my remaining ammunition.

Fortunately, all my fears will be alleviated once I take Drassen.

Next time: Drassen Airport has really lax security
Click here for the previous Jagged Alliance 2 entry.

Dufresne, known to his friends as Sam, lives and works in the Boston area as a game designer. His hobbies besides gaming include the guitar, LEGO, and the occasional regime change.