i finally finished it, i wont go too indepth, but it gets a solid 9/10.
the story and controls and visuals are all excellent. the game is exciting and the nostalgia factor is through the roof.
my only complaint is that some of the later missions are real marathons, so i guess chalk that up to overall pacing issues. but that is a very minor complaint. and the last missions, i was literally out of breath, what a way to finish!
First off, I want to say THANK YOU for such an enjoyable game. Wing Commander was the first game I ever played on an IBM-clone (to use the terminology of the time) and this helped me relive part of my youth! (All prior computer games were on a C64.)
Never in the past have I created a forum acct just to thank someone for their time. Yet I had to do it for this game and then saw this thread, so I figured I'd do a full review.
To review the game, I'll use a similar layout to the first reply.
Obviously the engine is slightly out of date for modern PCs. But with that limitation in mind, the ship and even character models were very well done. I wanted to give it a 9, but objectively it was an 8, so I split the difference.
Overall it was well done. But it was obvious at some points that some of the voice actors were reading from a script and hadn't practiced much (if at all) because there were pauses that did not feel natural.
Your team was obviously limited in what it could do, script-wise, since it had to follow the story of the WC universe. But the overall method of story-telling was good. The dialogue during missions was superb! I'd rate the dialogue mid-mission better than the original games, and that portion of those games is a big part of what made me a wingnut!
Overall the UI was well done, keeping inline w/ the original WC games. The missions were varied and mostly enjoyable. I really liked the atmospheric and nebula missions. They added some variety, but it's good that each was only done once.
I would have ranked this a 10 but I had a serious issue w/ the mouse controls. I felt the x- and y-axis when using a mouse to control is awkward. Since it's based on resolution I had a serious issue w/ controls at first. If I pushed my mouse up-right at a 45-degree angle, my ship would act more like I had pushed the mouse at a 20-degree angle (more up than right). By the end of the game I had learned to adjust, but it would have felt more natural if the ship followed your cursor.
When I first started, I didn't realize the default for this game was Easy. I looked on the first missile mission because I was having a hard time shooting them all down and my fellow pilots seemed worse than I was. For Easy level, it's too darn hard! I like challenging games. So once I got the feel for the awkward mouse control, I cranked it up. But I do feel that the Easy mode is too difficult for Easy.
Overall: 9/10 on an absolute scale, 11/10 for a fan-made game!
I really enjoyed this game. The WCS team did an excellent job. Many professional devs couldn't have done this well.
Suggestions and opinions:
As we all know, opinions are like belly buttons and Ford Mustangs, everyone has one. But I thought I'd offer a few:
a) As stated in the Difficulty rating section, I feel this game is 'too difficult' by rating. Yes, it's meant to be 'old-school', and thus it should be difficult. However, there should be some semblance of realism as well. If you can't be expected to beat a mission the first time through on Easy, then it's difficult to believe that the Confederation should have won. Using your rating system, I'd have gone with:
Very Easy - AI can almost win every mission by itself (some wignuts are OLD now, and don't have the reflexes they once did).
Easy - An average player has a good shot of completing each mission the first time through, and with multiple playthroughs will get the 'good results'.
Medium - An average player will need to replay some missions multiple times to succeed and almost every mission multiple times to get the 'best result'.
Hard - Average players should accept that they will barely succeed most missions after multiple playthroughs and should forget about rewards.
Insane - Kill average players. Make them cry since you feed off their tears. Maybe if they play each mission 10 times they can succeed, but all their post-flight reviews will be terrible.
The push for 'easier difficulty ratings' is especially important since failure is a serious punishment since you cannot save mid-mission or skip dialogue or auto-pilot sequences. (Note: I have no problem at all w/ the 'punishment' of failing. I just feel that for those that actually DO want it easy, they should get it that way.)
The AI would crash far too often. I know of at least a half-dozen times that coming out of auto-pilot a confed pilot would crash into me while they banked to intercept fighters when I hadn't even moved yet. And it was pretty humorous to watch how often a confed and kilrathi ship would collide. Heck the confed pilots even like to smack into capital ships!
This is probably an engine issue and not the WCS development team issue, but I did find it funny or annoying at times.
Kilrathi Cap ships:
They need turrets in their launch bays. A friend of mine likes to fly inside and kill cap ships from the inside out. And this only emphasized the AI deficiency more because enemy ships would crash into the outside of the cap ship while trying to attack the player (and confed pilots will fly into the cap ship as well while they try to gun down the fighters). I understand that there wouldn't really be turrets in the launch bay. But if you tried to land in there, you'd have hundreds of kilrathi swarming the ship, which the game engine doesn't support. (Perhaps only on Medium mode and higher.)
Once again, thank you for a great game. I've never replayed a game in my life, but this has me thinking about replaying the original WC games!
PS I apologize if some of my comments have been covered before. I haven't read the forums. I just wanted to thank the WCS team give them a Bravo Zulu!
As a disclaimer I am only about 20 missions in (I'm busy in the Loki system.) and my impression of the game is "Close but no cigar."
The technology and tine of the game is great. Clearly a lot of love and effort has gine into the game. I also started off loving it but the honeymoon is over and our relationship is showing signs of strain.
My main gripe is that every mission is starting to feel like a marathon now. Every mission throws a few too many waypoints or waves at me. It really doesn't help that most of the missions involve defence of an asset or escort missions. Unfortunately on Easy difficulty this means that the dogfighting is too easy but the attrition you and the ships you need to guard suffer from means that the missions are still too easy to lose. It isn't really playing to what the strength of the game should be. I'd rather have less fights that are more fun.
In the original games I never enjoyed the excourt/defence missions much but Chris Roberts at least knew to use them sparingly for a little variety and not in practically every single mission. And for all the things that Wing Commander Saga throws at me it's getting awfully repetetive. Destroy the bombers while avoiding the fighters trying to kill me can sum up most of the missions so far. Occasionally (But too often.) the game throws anti-capship missiles at me. I enjoy the challenge but something like this goes from being an enjoyable challenge to being frustratinging when it is over-used. (Using them five or more times in the same mission is just verging on the ridiculous.)
I wouldn't mind so much if it was to serve the story but I keep being told about the Capital ships that other squadrons are shooting down. I don't want to hear about the fun other NPC's are having while I play endless nursemaid. I want to be a part of the fun stuff.
The game also makes a large misstep by not mixing up the craft you fly enough. I'm a little tired of flying fighters now and I really want to get my hands on a bomber or torpedo bomber now. I want to be the strike in the strike mission. Flying the heavy metal and going toe-to-toe with capships was always a highpoint in the original games. It also freed me up from having to worry about defending someone else for a change.
The pacing of the missions also lack variety. It would be nice to mix a few shorter missions in there now and again to give the player a bit of breathing room now and again. In terms of structure there is no build-up. It's just intense climax all the time.
Apologies if this sounds a bit critical. Once again, I'm really impressed by the tone, style, story and atmosphere of the game. The missions flow and design are just a bit off.
It is still worth playing and I'm going to stick with it a bit longer to see if I get the chance to fly something besides a Hellcat or Arrow in a defence mission but I'm not enjoying it as much as I did during the first five or ten missions.
Well, here is my review. I'll try to be spoiler free...
Wing Commander Saga – The Darkest Dawn, Day 6 and final day. This was a hell of a ride, a very enjoyable adventure. Excellent storyline, memorable characters, great dialogues and voice overs, beautiful music, diverse and flawless mission design, very hard, complex and sometimes very long missions, 20-45 minutes per mission without any checkpoint and failure is guaranteed sometimes for the first try as they were hard, even for a space sim veteran, like humble me. Well, it took six days to complete, so it's also a very-very long one, especially if I compare it to present commercial games which has the length of 4-5 hours on very hard difficulty. And unlike in those games, here I’ve never encountered with a boring moment as the cast, the smart mission design or the events were able to keep me entertained. It also had funny moments where I laughed loud, which has never happened before when I played with a game. The cameos from other Wing Commander games were great, the Easter Eggs were also very memorable (The Valkyries, Callsign M.D., Starship Troopers and ID4 references and cameos. ), but they wasn't forced, childish idiotism like in present commercial games where the designers believe they're funny, while they're definitely not, just a bunch of tasteless spoiled brat (I was a game developer, so I know how they used to add Easter Eggs. In WCS they were great.). WCS, a free fan game is the proof that these days how many useless people, without any talent, are in the leading companies of the gaming industry, while the real pros are doing great indie or fan games like this one.
The only so-so elements are the CGI animations as WCS is a free game without any real budget (And I mean the "so-so" as comparing it to other games.). Its clear that the animations definitely wasn't made by industry pros with great render farm and support background, BUT actually it's not a problem at all. Actually even with these low budget cutscenes, animated, yet still lip-synced briefings for 55 missions, I enjoyed these cutscenes, briefings much better than any AAA cutscenes and briefings what we get these days. WCS was also capable to give THE atmosphere of a true, well-polished product, and the most important, the feeling of a true game; something what I haven't felt in the last 12-14 years when I played with conveyor belt AAA junks. The manual is also an enjoyable, 60+ pages long well detailed read, just like those great storyteller manuals back in the 90s. Oh, and this game had a proper, great ending which closed the whole storyline and told what has happened with each surviving character (And there are plenty great characters that you can like, love or sometimes even hate. But one thing is common, you care with them and won’t forget them. While you play, you become one with them and one of them, thanks to the excellent narration.). Bioware, EA and every other damned, supposed-to-be AAA conveyor belt junk company should learn from you guys in almost everything.
Wing Commander Saga - The Darkest Dawn was created by Wing Commander fans with endless passion and you can see and feel this all over the game. WCS is available for free, yet it's better than almost every single $60 commercial games out there (And unlike in those games’ cases, if this game would be $60 or even more, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it as it worth every single moment.). It is definitely a Game of the Year 2012 material and to me it’s a Game of the Decade material with few additional rounds in the future. WCS is definitely a must for every space sim fan.
Final Grade: 100% (Something what I never gave to any other games before. But this is how a true commercial game should look like in 2012. It is ironic that a free fan game shows how the great zillion dollar budget games should look like.)
P.S.: Many have said the acting and voice overs had some problems here and there. As an award winning screenwriter / director I have to say that these tiny mistakes made the whole product much-much better, and what is more important, made the whole storyline much more life like and realistic. Sometimes imperfection is THE perfection.
So I'd like to say great thanks to the developers for this excellent, perfect game. Thank you. In my eyes Wing Commander Saga - The Darkest Dawn is officially part of the Wing Commander series. Oh, and thanks for the soundtrack too. I love it!
Hello to all of France! what a joy to discover your game, personally I found this game in 1997 with the PS1 and WC4, and your game is really really well done, pretty, and very like a super coat patiserie French! and it's free! For this reason I give 10/10 congratulations to your team cheers cheers
only the Screen Actors lack of WC4 is all
the game runs super well for me but I have a good I72600k with a GTX580 and 16GB of Ram
and 0 bug with this game perfect
Sorry for my strange english
Much has already been said. Everything considered, incredible effort.
I remember in Wing Commander the original, being able to walk around and speak to other pilots and people within the Tigers Claw and view kill scores. WC3 had the same sort of thing. Having played the Darkest Dawn I find that from debriefing at the end of each mission it goes straight into the next briefing. I used to enjoy the time it took to look around the Tigers Claw, albeit just Pilot Country, but it allowed me to calm down and prepare for the next mission when I was ready. Perhaps its just me.
I think some sort of walk around the ship looking at different activities is a nice way to settle down and prepare for the next mission.
I just finished the game, and I have to say it was very good! But still I will list some negative points, just because I think it is more constructive than giving compliments( although they are deserved!)
In the atmosphere missions, the HUD is basically invisible. Maybe you could make it change colour to something that doesn't blend with the sky?
The closest target option seems to have some problems sometimes (very minor issue).
You can't change your primary weapons loadout ( I can understand why this makes sense, it just bothers me personally)
I think you have some optimization issues- the game slows down for me when a lot of enemies are around. I have an average computer, true, but still FS2 never did this to me.
I think the Excalibur is introduced too soon. At the end, I was already a bit bored with fighting- the auto aim takes away a lot out of the fight. In my opinion, it would be better to maybe fly first half of Excalibur missions with the under-used Sabre?
You should introduce some kind of field blocking the flight deck of carriers to unauthorised ships- It doesnt't make sense to allow me to fly inside enemy carrier and safely kill it from the inside...
Although I get the old-shoolness of the game, the Kilrathi ships look rather archaic with a lot of box-like sharp edge structures etc.- it looks like they were designed this way because of technical limitations. I know that you are trying to emulate the original WC game, but I think the ships design could use some refreshment.
I would prefer to be able to give commands to my wing more that I am allowe in the game (minor issue).
In general, it is a very good production, the above points are just to help improve any future releases. Cheers!
Very good Game that I would have bought and been happy with, which is more than I can say about a lot of the stuff that is sold today.
On a professional notion:
the gameplay and the story bog down after the Admiral takes over and the big fleet actions begin.
This may be due to fact that there is to little explanation of what is going on and the strange feeling that, despite of a united confederated taskforce the freshly jumping in cats are overhelming in numbers.
another negative is the excalibur sure it wasn't your idea but flying and killing with it is so easy that I usually die because I almost fall asleep during the mission.
The Valkyries: Very well done and than wasted you should have let the valkyries apear again at a very desperate and crucial time to safe the Hermes for example when the hermes retreats after the destruction of the behemoth.
Imagine them rideing in with the player sitting in shaky sabre dogfighting desperatly around a almost destroyed Hermes and/or bluepoint station, that would have built op a strong feeling of debt and gratitude towards them which you could have then turned on the Kilrathi when you let them be destroyed.
So far for the criticism you have done very well with very little thank you again