New DLC merc, Echo
I'm such a JA2 addict I keep trying to force myself to try to like this game, even though some very poor decisions by the developers, like maps that are exactly the same every blessed time you play through them, have left me feeling pretty down on it. I keep saying it's got potential, and all it takes is the devs to do some pretty simple development on the game, and it'll be golden.
So I downloaded Echo. $ buck. What could go wrong? Well, for starters she comes with nothing but a level 3 Enfield and a box of 9mm ammo. Not even any unique armor or headgear. No big deal, I have plenty of spare crap. Right? So what else could go wrong? Well, she's a dead mute apparrently. She has no voice acting, at all. She's silent even when she gets shot. I thought she'd spice up my roster since I'm pretty tired of the voices of mercs I have access to at this stage of the game. Turns out I find the silence off putting enough I doubt I'll even be using her.
So what did I pay for? And what did the devs do for their money? As far as I can tell, all they had to do was come up with a new skin for the default female model and a new portrait (which doesn't match the rest by the way), and make an entry into their merc database table. A couple hours of an artists time and maybe a couple more hours for a "dev" to work out the database entry for her.
I don't get it. She's supposedly the niece of Flo... Flo is not in this game, is she? Since they literally copy-pasted the voice acting from JA2 into JAO, why didn't they use Flo's voice acting? What am I missing? And speaking of that, I think greed is going to kill this game. I'm not a game developer, but I am a developer and it doesn't seem to me that the people who made JAO invested very much effort into it. They used a third party game engine, they copy-pasted all the voice acting from Jagged Alliance 2, the only music they provide is one crappy stock track that loops endlessly, the maps are crudely done with static spawns that know how to do nothing but advance and attack on detection (AI? What AI?), they skipped loads of stuff that the almost 15 year old Jagged Alliance had, and so on.
And yet they want to charge $30 for it. And $4 for "DLC" that took a couple people a couple hours to make. I can't help but think if they'd provided a complete game for free, instead of a demo that tries to extort people into buying the campaign, and then sold extras (like Echo, but with audio and unique equipment, and like extra bonus maps), that they wouldn't be alienating so many potential customers. Oh, and one other thing: it'd be super cool if they actually implemented some of the things people have been clamoring for in this forum. Things like the ability to start from scratch if you feel like you hosed up your campaign, or just want to go a different route. I've been playing computer games for 30 years now and I've never even heard of a game, online or off, that won't let you create a new character or start a new game. Which is a good thing because I can't even remember the last time I played the first character/game I started all the way to the end. There's always been something I wanted to do different, once I figured stuff out.
And for the love of God, give the mobs some rudimentary patrolling behavior, if nothing else. This "stand there until activated" is so 1980s, and it just doesn't work at all on tactical combat maps that require being replayed dozens or hundreds of times.
End rant. Please add audio to Echo. She is currently unusable in my roster.