Go back to Jagged Alliance 2

Written by: Rik

Date posted: April 3, 2007

As we may have mentioned once or twice in the main review, most of the voice acting in Jagged Alliance 2 is pretty terrible. For a start, you’d be hard pressed to tell in exactly which part of the world Aruclo is meant to be located from talking to the locals, each of whom seems to have their own take on the native accent. I can’t imagine what brief the voice-actors must have been given – possibly something along the lines of ‘do what you like – as long as it sounds foreign.’ My personal favourite is Dimitri, a recruitable member of the rebel army, whose Borat-like ramblings rarely fail to raise a smile, even after you’ve heard him say ‘Eees good!’ for the umpteenth time during the course of moving from one end of a sector to another.

Before we go any further, I should probably re-iterate that the idea of giving all the mercenaries different personalities, scripts and voices is undoubtedly a good thing. It really adds to the game, and while it may be stretching it a bit to suggest that the wooden acting, silly accents and cheesy script are all part of a deliberate joke on the part of the developers, there are nevertheless quite a few laughs to be had.

Some mercenaries (like Dimitri) just have very funny accents and say quite silly things. For example, Bobby ‘Steroid’ Gontarski (a constant fixture in my squad) is clearly based on Arnold Schwarzenegger, and though such an obvious joke as a low-rent impression of the Terminator-turned-politician shouldn’t really be funny, I have to admit that I found his outbursts consistently entertaining.

At other times, a more complex set of circumstances can conspire to produce an almost never-ending stream of preposterous statements from your team. As mentioned in the main review, your mercenaries can have, or develop, friendships or rivalries with other mercs – which can bring some interesting results if they are combined in your team. If rival mercenaries don’t flat-out refuse to work with each other, they’ll certainly bicker and argue – and sometimes start fighting amongst themselves. The morale of your team can also be affected – which means the other mercs may start complaining about your leadership or the amateurish nature of your campaign.

At least that makes some sense. At one stage in my game, in the middle of receiving a bit of an ass-kicking from the computer, one of my female mercs had been shot and was in the process of kicking the bucket, when one the fellas in my team suddenly decided to declare his undying love for her. Meanwhile, the same event seemed to trigger a general downturn in my team’s morale, which meant the others all started complaining. The speech became more preposterous with each turn: with the dying female merc gasping and uttering hammy gung-ho nonsense, the others persisted with their general moaning, and all the while my lovestruck merc was uttering sweet nothings in a dodgy French accent.

Er – that’s because he’s supposed to be French, by the way, not just because he thought it might sound more romantic. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any specific details of the dialogue, but, in keeping with the general awfulness of the whole enterprise, I recall that most of it wouldn’t have been out of place coming from the mouth of amorous cartoon skunk PepĂ© Le Pew.