It can be endlessly frustrating, but it also has most of the elements that make the Jagged Alliance series so outstanding.
Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business is neither a sequel nor an expansion, but a budget-priced stand-alone product that continues the story of the excellent 1999 strategic role-playing game. The core turn-based tactical combat between squads of mercenaries is still intact, though many of the noncombat elements have been stripped away and a few new gameplay features have been added. Otherwise, the game retains many of the same great qualities of its predecessor - but it also inherits some of its problems and introduces some new ones.
The original Jagged Alliance and its sequel had one major fault in common: They both had endgame sequences that were far more difficult than anything leading up to them. Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business avoids this problem - by making the entire game incredibly difficult. The game plays like a protracted finale. From the moment it begins, you are outgunned, outnumbered, and overwhelmed - and it only gets tougher as it goes on. The result is a game that is as entertaining as it is frustrating.
In Unfinished Business, you are once again called upon to help the struggling island nation of Arulco. When Jagged Alliance 2 ended, Arulco was free from its tyrannical leader. Now, the original owners of Arulco's lucrative mines have returned and have established a missile base on the nearby island of Tracona. You must get a team of mercenaries together, infiltrate Tracona, and disable the missile base.
Unlike in Jagged Alliance 2, in Unfinished Business there's no need to manage money and militia in a strategic overview between all the mercenary gunfights. You are given a lump sum at the beginning of the game, you hire a bunch of mercenaries, and you head out to Tracona. A helicopter crash in the game's opening sequence disables your laptop, initially removing your ability to communicate with your employers and mercenary agencies. For the first half of Unfinished Business, you're stuck with your initial team and equipment. You'll find people willing to help, and you'll find equipment left behind by fallen opponents. But for the most part, you'll hobble through the first few sectors with increasingly wounded and tired mercs under your command.
You'll also find money, but it won't matter at first. When you first hire mercenaries in Unfinished Business, you pay their whole fee up front. It's billed as a promotional deal from the mercenary agencies, but it's really just a gameplay device to make money management a nonissue - at least at first. Otherwise, in Jagged Alliance and Jagged Alliance 2, you needed to train militia to protect key sectors that provided a source of income to fund your invasion. In Unfinished Business, you just invade. In this way, the designers have opted to focus on the combat, admittedly the best part of the game. But the ultralinear structure of Unfinished Business may seem less appealing to fans of Jagged Alliance 2's more open-ended gameplay. In Unfinished Business, you'll rarely even have a choice of which sector to attack next.