Jagged Alliance 3

Posted:  Jul 17, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Cloud Saves

Review

Jagged Alliance 3 was provided by THQ Nordic for review. Thank you!

Grand Chien is on the brink of despair after the country's elected president goes missing and a force known as "The Legion" is taking over. Now, the president's family has hired you to bring together a group of skilled mercenaries and bring order back to the nation. Jagged Alliance 3 is a turn-based tactic RPG where you will put together a team, outfit them, and send them along to liberate the land. Choose the path you go on and loot, salvage, and customize your weaponry, perks, and more as you move along the map, taking over territory back from The Legion. The choices you make will determine the fate of this land and the people in it.

I am extremely excited to say this is finally a worthy successor to this awesome franchise. The combat is deep and exciting, the variety of weapons, loot, and armor you can find and use is great, and it is challenging. Each battle feels heavy, making sure every decision made is a smart one to keep your mercs alive. I went guns-blazing into one mission, which worked for 2 others, and was completely demolished thanks to how unprepared I was. Taking your time and careful planning are rewarded here and really makes each victory feel so sweet.

The sat map is how you will move around the large islands and utilize operations, which can repair your weapons, allow your mercs to rest, scout areas ahead, or even train militia to defend liberated villages and outposts. Scouting, especially when coming up on big fights, will be essential in planning out your strategy, showing approximate info where enemies are and other tactical viewpoints. From here you can also access the Browser, where you will hire mercs, email, notes (missions), and check out your team's info and inventories. All of which are extremely important and provide necessary care and information for your team.

There are some nice little features that would have been nice to have like better descriptions/tutorials for some of the gameplay systems, but these didn't kill the enjoyment as I quickly learned exactly what to do. Jagged Alliance 3 has become one of my favorite tactical RPGs to play this year and is well-deserving of your time if you enjoy these kinds of games. The challenge is real, which I love, but the amount of flexibility and content to configure your team the way you want and approach each battle differently is fantastic. Although, to play this on the Steam Deck, there will be a couple concessions to make.

Jagged Alliance 3 - Steam Deck Performance

So when the game was released, a Steam Deck graphical preset was added in with the devs announcing the game is Steam Deck playable. Honestly, the settings are actually quite good when it comes to providing a base to play for the device. The quality settings are mostly on high, except shadows, while it utilizes FSR 2.0 quality mode. With a TDP limit of 9, I was quite excited by how well it worked, but I started to see a couple cracks as I got to more complex maps.

If you are playing without a limit, you will be fine, but if you change Object Detail to "Low" and View Distance to "Medium", you will be able to keep the TDP limit at 9 and get around 3 hours of battery. This became my favorite way to play personally as it kept the game looking gorgeous while balancing battery life and stability.

Next we have the framerate build and this one was a bit harder to nail down. Some maps and areas can easily hit the 50 FPS mark, but there are the few that are extremely challenging. 60 FPS isn't possible though, even when the maps are simple. Luckily, there is one setting that you can turn off to make this not only possible, but also save on battery life a solid amount: Shadows. By turning shadows off, hitting a solid 40 FPS on the complex maps is achievable, though it does heavily change how the game looks.

Compare
Shadows On
Shadows Off
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Shadows Off
Shadows On

Otherwise, I am able to use almost same exact settings as the modified Steam Deck preset to make it work well. I found putting FSR 2 to Ultra Quality was within the possibility as well. This means you will still have a beautiful image, it will just be shadow-less. It also allowed a TDP limit of 11 to make sure things stuck to the stable side.

Finally, we have the quality build. My main goal here was a native resolution with shadows on and this is achievable on medium settings with a TDP limit of 11! I kept antialiasing on FXAA, but the resolution scale was native. This means we have a crisp image that looks fantastic, but ends up draining a lot on more complicated maps. I didn't find the game could handle anything above 30 FPS like this, so we had to use a cap.

Jagged Alliance 3 does have 16:10 resolution support, which is fantastic, and it sports full controller support and cloud saves. The controller took a little to get used to, but overall, it worked well. I have to commend developer Haemont Games on this as making a game like this work on a controller.

Small Text and Icons

Unfortunately, one aspect of the game that can't be changed is the text and icon size. There is a lot of text and icons that show you how to take certain actions, like ending your turn, and they are extremely small on the Steam Deck's screen. This can be quite jarring in a game with so many different ways to control different actions.

The biggest thing to remember is that in battles, holding down the left trigger and pressing a button will have a different action. For example, using the left trigger and left D-pad will tell the selected character to reload and the trigger with B will end your turn. Both of these are the more important commands I used, but there are others to give easy access to different actions your mercs can take.

Conclusion

Jagged Alliance 3 is the series return to form and I couldn't be happier to see it. The turn-based strategy gameplay is deep and challenging with a chunk of customizability to make each of your mercs, battles, and choices feel much more impactful. If you were waiting for a true successor in the Jagged Alliance series, the wait is now over! Even with some of the compromises on the Steam Deck, this is still a fantastic game and one definitely worth your invested time.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Jagged Alliance 3 is an incredible turn-based tactical game that brings glory back to the franchise. And with some tweaks, it runs well on the Steam Deck!

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Current Price: 
$29.69
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Other Builds
Framerate Build
SteamOS

Limit

40

Refresh Rate

40

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

10

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Antialiasing: FSR 2

Resolution Percent: Ultra Quality

Shadows: Off

Textures: High

Anisotropy: 2x

Terrain: High

Effects: Medium

Lights: Medium

Postprocessing: High

Bloom: On

Eye Adaptation: On

Vignette: On

Chromatic Abberation: On

SSAO: On

Reflections: Medium

View Distance: Medium

Object Detail: Low

Sharpness: High

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

13W - 18W

70c - 76c

2 - 2.5 hours

Quality Build
SteamOS

Limit

30

Refresh Rate

60

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

11

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Antialiasing: FXAA

Resolution Percent: Native

Shadows: Medium

Textures: Medium

Anisotropy: 2x

Terrain: Medium

Effects: Medium

Lights: Medium

Postprocessing: Medium

Bloom: On

Eye Adaptation: On

Vignette: On

Chromatic Abberation: On

SSAO: On

Reflections: Medium

View Distance: Medium

Object Detail: Medium

Sharpness: High

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

13W - 19W

70c - 79c

~2 hours

related Settings

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