This game has to rank up there with the most addictive games of the year. I sat down to play, and five hours later I quit, just to start playing again ten minutes down the road. The game runs in real-time until combat starts. At that point, it becomes turn-based. Now, I'm not a fan of turn-based games, but it works for this title. Because it is turn-based, there is no multiplayer, but who wants to play a turn-based multi anyway?
The game starts off with you at your laptop. After reading your email (which you receive throughout the game), you are given an assignment. You have a starting bank roll (depending on the level of difficulty you pick) and have to log on to the Internet to hire mercenaries and buy weapons (ain't the future grand?). Each mercenary has his own special skills, price, and personality. Mix the wrong personalities, and you will have problems. Get the highest trained people, and you will be broke. Mercenaries can be hired and fired at will, giving you tons of party options.
The story is completely open ended; the no linearity allows you to go anywhere you want and do whatever you wish. Also, each individual mercenary shoots his gun in a different way, and the different types of weapons have different ranges, damage, and capacities. Localized hitting and dynamic physics make the game all the more life-like. This life-like, go anywhere approach is rarely used, and even less often done right. Jagged Alliance 2 does it right. Gone are the days of hack-and-slash. A strategic formation and a little finesse is the only way to make it through this one. What a welcome change of pace.