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Topic-icon my initial thoughts on the game/early review

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5 years 4 months ago #9300 by heater445
I have completed 17 or 18 out of the 55 mission I think, which puts me at about a quarter of the way through the game. this includes the prologue and the main campaign of the game. this review will obviously contain spoilers soy you all have been warned. for full disclosure I have just beaten wc4 from gog on hard the day before starting this game, so my skills are pretty sharp. I will break down this review from negatives, to positives, to general thoughts and curiosities. oh and I have played all missions on normal unless specified as otherwise. so lets get the bad out the way first with....

NEGATIVES

1. broken missions- we all knew this was coming mission 5 of the darkest dawn campaign. yes the dreaded protect the bombers mission DUM DUM DUM lol. I have read several threads related to this mission and after playing it ten times, with 5 of those times just trying to observe where the break downs happen, I have concluded this mission is broken. Now this is not an impossible mission to beat, just bc its broken does nt mean its un beatable and I want to make that clear from the start. First off this had the makings of a good mission. it was different than the destroy or protect missions. it had greywolf (one of my fav characters) and the ISS pilots were well voiced and acted with good dialogue that made me chuckle a little. the breakdowns happen only at the nav pt where the enemy cap ships are. now I was not an idiot I knew my goal was to protect the bombers from the fighters and I did (this is not where the mission breaks down) 3 outta 5 real attempts at this mission I managed to keep both bombers alive from the enemy fighters. where the break down happens is the wingmen AI, they are in an agile ship and fly in a straight line right at the carriers ( yes I know you are suppose to draw the cap ships fire) and I try but they both got shot down. what makes this infuriating is that usually I found the wingmens AI too not be bad like a 6 or 7 outta 10. but on this mission its like it was intentionally dropped. bc in previous missions my wingmen would defend ships and shoot cap missiles well. Its like these pilots didnt put any power towards their shields even though they are on a bombing run, (which I find funny bc in the run the blockade mission your wing commander tells you to put power to your shields.) now do you want to know how I know this mission is broken, well on attempt 10 I dropped it down to very easy, got to that way pt took out the cat fighters with ease and the first bomber took out the first cap ship no problem without me even helping. after that I flew over to the second cap ship and started blasting away, I took out all its turrets one by one and guess what no bomber ever dropped the torpedo to finish it. ( I had both sabres still alive) I then proceeded to fly around the cap ship for 15 mins just to see if the sabre ever would fire the torpedo, it did not so I finally finished it off. So like I said broken mission.

2. broken mission pt 2- this is not a broken mission as what I think is poor mission design. I am talking about the mission to destroy the cap missiles an drop ship on I believe vega(sp). From the start of the prologue it is hammered into your head to follow the orders of your superiors and the Col. of the elite strike group tells you to save your missiles, so I did. well after playing the mission and I could be wrong I think its impossible to destroy all cap missiles without using your own missiles and still having enough afterburn left to complete the other mission objective. Remember the hellcat has no glide mode. Also it seems that the devs epected you to fail this part and cover for it with the dialogue that follows after about the planet defenses will destroy them In fact the elite squad acts like its no big deal, and even your CO barely mentions it (well until the funny as hell de-brefing). I could be wrong here but I would love to see somebody on at least normal shoot down all the missiles while using no missiles and still have enough afterburn to complete the next two way pts.

3. dialogue and voice acting- some things on my list are positives and negatives, this is one. some of the VO and script writing is brilliant some is god awful, but one part is so bad that I had to dedicate a negative for it. Its the mission where your escorting the refugees out the system and the cats are throwing everything at you. eventually its reveled that you have the president of the vega colony on one of the transport ships.the resulting dialogue and voice work might be some of the worst/funny dialogue I ever heard. after the transport ship revels that the president is on one of the ships, one of the ISS pilots goes on one of the worst acted and horribly scripted rants ever. the final cherry on the top is the ISS pilot calling the girl transport pilot a TURD yes a TURD LOL. I laughed so hard then the major demands to know what ship he is on and the transport pilot explains to him like he is a child that the cats are prob listening and she wont revel what ship he is on. its so damn bad that its makes it hilarious like the movie the room lol.

4. Communication?- where I think the devs missed something important is communication, while I understand you are not the wing commander 9/10 times. you should still be allowed to ask for assistance (hell your wingmen ask for it all the time), it might have helped the two broken missions too if it was in there to ask for help. actually the two times I was the wing commander this game truly shined the brightest, it was awesome directing my wingman to attack my target or defend the base. I think the devs missed out on a golden ticket right there in my opinion.
now onto the..


POSITIVES

1. the prologue- I might be in the minority here but I love the prologue I think it set up the story great I loved the pace it went. from basic training to taking on pirates instead of the cats instantly, all of it was great to me. plus the final mission was just epic. thinking all is lost then seeing two confed ships enter and blast the cats to hell. to me its was just a perfect hit the right notes and know when to move on.

2. Voice acting. script- yes this was a negative but it can also be a positive. I really like greywolf as a character and the actor who portrayed him did awesome. I personally like the VA who does sandman, even though he talks he has a gordon freeman thing about him (gordon freeman is from half life) even though sandman talks he doesnt say a lot and I think that helps the player slip into his helmet so to speak. Now my biggest props to the devs and the actors go to the WOMEN. In most games the actors that portray women and children are down right horrible, (shenmue anyone lol). So far three of my fav Voice actors and characters have all been women. The first being sandman's girlfriend/fuckbuddy from the prologue lol. She didnt have much to do but I liked the actress and when the cats were closing in on her to make the kill you could hear the fear in her voice. In my opinion the writers and devs should have kept her alive a little longer it would have made her death have more impact. Second the girl com officer on your carrier the hermes is awesome I really like her too. finally the COl. from the the elite squad that helps you destroy the drop ship on vega. I loved the banter/flirting between her and the major aka your wing leader lol. I dont know if the devs used their Gfs/wives to voice act or what but sofar they all ben great.

3. graphics- Like I said I just came off of wc4 which still holds up well, but to m the ship designs and back ground blows that game out of the water. one of the things I love is watching cap ships go boom and having the blast radius. one of the things that bothered me about wc4 is the mission where you have to drop the bomb inside the cap ship vesuvius,and you take no damage. I love that this game has a blast radius. I also love that this game has a hull damage display so you actually know how close to death you are.

4. control- once again coming from wc4 where I had to fight tooth and nail to get my 360 controller to work, this game was great. easy to bind controls and set up deadzone and sensitivity. for a pt of reference I beat wc4 with a 100 kills with less than 15 percent coming from lasers. now in saga I have 63 kills so far and about 60 percent have been from lasers. just saying.

5. atmosphere- the atmosphere of this game is great so bleak and depression, even at wc3 darkest it was never this dark a publisher would never greenlight this depressing of a game. I love the atmosphere so much

6. devs knew thier strength- what I mean by this is they knew how logistically to tell a great story, they knew they didnt need to have you wondering around the ship talking to poorly animated pilots. I mean the briefings are bad enough having to look at the major give the mission, who im 95 percent sure is the great great great great great grandson of ken and barbie lol. they knew to keep that to a minimum and let the story fold out in battle.

7. SCOPE- this is my fav aspect of the game. this game captured the feeling of a war. in wc3 it never felt big it always felt small. In this game you as sandman feel just like a small peon in the great war effort of confed vs the cats. You dont have just one wingman you have wingmen. you dont just have one capship you have capships. I just love it most triple A games cant give you that feeling. in fact the last time I felt like just a peon was in medal of honor, when you are storming the beaches of Normandy.

GENERAL THOUGHTS AND CURIOSITIES

1. those fuckers came out of no where- (by the way that was a quote from 40 yr old virgin)lol. On the mission where your escorting the pres out of the vega system at one nav pt random cap missiles have already been fired at you, even though you see no bombers or cap ships. how did the cats know you were going to be right there do they have technology that knows where your going to be and if so why does confed not have these capabilities. do yo know how easy and great it would be if your cap ships could fire torpedos from two nav pts away at a target. I really wanna know about this.

2. kilrathi- this has nothing to do with the game itself just something im curious about. what type of race are these things. I mean from a character stand pt. On one hand they all about honor loyalty and never betraying their race and clan, basically the ultimate warrior, in fact they hate spies. on the other hand they use spies and often sneak and cowardly attack, its like they talk out both sides of the mouth. can any wing commander experts explain these things to me.


closing comment.

So far im 25 percent in and I freaking adore this game. you can tell its was made out of pure love. is there some problems sure, but it continues a beloved saga that we havent heard from in yrs and its FREE FREE FREE. I love this game and cant wait to give my full review but so far 9/10

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5 years 4 months ago #9301 by heater445
Replied by heater445 on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
I just had a FUCK YEAH MOMENT I just beat the mission where the unkown karathi fighters show up and I was at the last nav pt at 60 percent hull damage left, and I was fighting the fighters and one cap ship, and I was fighting hard then bam another enemy cap ship shows us and the wing leader told us to retreat "I thought to myself you aint gotta tell me twice at that point I was at 50 percent hull damage" so I started to auto glide away. next thing I know they say another massive ship jumped in and at first I was like damn Im going to have to start this mission over but wait................ It was the TCS Armageddon and actually out loud I said FUCK YEAH. put a stop on the auto glide and turned back to fight again. it took out the small cap ship with ease as we cleared up enemy fighters then our ship let that massive litter box have it BOOOOM. great mission devs.

the only small ripe I have is our cap ship wouldnt begin to take down their massive cap ship until fighters have been destroyed that would have made sense if the cats had bombers out there but all they has was 3 light fighters left.

still I give this mission a 10

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5 years 4 months ago #9302 by X3N0-Life-Form
Replied by X3N0-Life-Form on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
Yay, another review, gives me an excuse to talk about the game through the review. :)

heater445 wrote: 1. broken missions
4. Communication

I think we can sorta link these two. One thing, in my opinion, that really stands out about Darkest Dawn is its horrendous AI/Wingman management, which is exacerbated by the fact that you are unable, save for the longbow missions and couple other, to give orders to your wingmen. Basically, the AI tend to be given very simple orders, mainly "attack any ship" and "protect target", with the odd "attack this ship" to force bombers to engage capships.

Take the Saber Mission of Doom (mission 5): as you pointed out, the big issue is that the not-quite-bombers don't seem to react to external threats, be it Kilrathi fighters or the corvettes' point defences. As I've mentionned in some other thread, the Saber aren't exactly as durable as a true bomber or heavy fighter, meaning they can't just tank gun or missile hits while moving towards their targets. However, the Saber is a very capable dogfighter: fast, agile and packs a nice punch, making it all the more jarring that they would ignore hostile fighter while they are still waaay out of their target's range.

It really starts becoming a problem in the later missions, where the battlespace is much more complex, and yet the AI is still given generic ai-chase-any orders, which usually result in them mostly ignoring critical targets like bombers. It also leave the player with very little control in how the mission plays out. You can't form a plan beyond "let's try and shoot everything important myself as best I can".

That being said, one also has to keep several things in mind when criticizing Wing Commander Saga. One of them is the campaign's size; 50 missions is a lot, I'm not 100% sure how active FREDers (missions designers) they've had working on them, especially in the later years, but I'm betting it was a rather small number. Making, maintaining and debugging that many missions with such a small team is extremely time consumming, so I can understand why they would rather do things the easy way and reduce as much as possible the way things could get fucked up during testing. Ie. ai-chase-any may no be the optimal way to handle fighter wings, but it's good enough in most situations; wingmen are invincible so let's not allow the player to give them orders to make sure they can't use them to potentially try & break the mission.
So yeah, even though in terms of mission design it doesn't come close to what modern FSO mods are capable of, Wing Commander Saga makes up for it in terms of quantity and quality control (ie. few bugs, missions are difficult to break, ...).


Also of note regarding the AI: while the hostile AI gets all around more dangerous as the difficulty increases, the friendly AI doesn't or gets worst - on top of my head, I know that on very easy, kitty bombers have to wait close to 60 seconds to launch their torpedoes vs 15 for the confed, which is reversed when you set the difficulty on insane.
Another interesting bit is the AI horrible handling of the Excalibur, which I believe is partly intentional. For instance, Excalibur wingmen barely ever use that fighter's gliding capabilities, which combined with autoaim makes it a murder machine in the hands of the player.
Compare that to the higher AI levels in Diasopra (A Battlestar Galactica game made on an up-to-date version of the engine WCS is using) , which makes full use of its craft's gliding ability, and is extremely deadly because of it.

3. dialogue and voice acting

Yeah, it definitely has its ups and downs. Overall, I thought it captured quite well the cheesy feel of old WC games :P

I also love that this game has a hull damage display so you actually know how close to death you are.

Well, WC4 actually had that as well, as I found out recently: the gauges on the bottom left and bottom right parts of the screen respectively display you and your target's hull integrity.

In any case, enjoy the rest of the game. I'd interested if you wrote up more reviews like this as make your way through the mid & late sections of the game :)

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5 years 4 months ago #9303 by heater445
Replied by heater445 on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
agreed with all of what you are saying so far and im on mission 17 or 18 so far the friendly AI has been above my expectations except for mission 5, and like I said that mission is just broke. on very easy the other sabre never fired its torpedo at the other cap ship I flew around the cap ship for ten minutes I know this bc I disabled the guns and watched the clock and guess what the sabre never fired.

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5 years 4 months ago #9304 by heater445
Replied by heater445 on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
I think im going to start doing a game recap of the day when I play and place my thoughts into this thread. Kind of like a saga journal if you will. before I get started can anybody tell me exactly what mission number im on so I can keep better notes. I just completed the 2nd mission in the loki system,where you sweep nav pts and at the final nav pt two badly damaged enemy cap ships jump in and you destroy them.

I believe I played 3 missions today im getting older so its hard to remember so here is what I can recall.

1. transfer fighters from cap ship to hermes- This mission had you escort a TCS cap ship from a jump pt to the hermes to take their fighters bc the cap ship is going into dry dock for repair. after you link up and start the transfer the cats show up to attack the fighters in transport. wave after wave after wave of enemy fighters. this was easily the worst mission I played today no real witty banter and only one real nav pt to fight in. the big saving grace of this mission was when the last karathi cap ship in the system finally appears and tries to ram the damaged TCS ship as a last desperate attempt. that was tension filled and fun I did save our cap ship and got 90 percent of the ships transferred. overall I give this mission a 7.5/10

2. jump into the loki system- This was so much fun I love after the jump your still in the hermes and all hell is broken lose. This mission was great, finally invading enemy territory, and taking it to them. the task in this mission is to secure the jump pt. then sweep the area of enemies before escorting the hermes to a hiding spot in the asteroids deep behind enemy lines. in your cap ship party you have a jamming ship that prevents the cats from calling back up. this mission was so much fun from start to finish. I even like at the end of the mission you have to blast asteroids out the way of the hermes. its a great cool down to the mission. 9.5/10

3. Go on the offensive- this mission had us take the fight directly to the fur balls. our goal was to sweep the nav pts and make sure not one ship escaped alive. wow so many cats and so many enemy cap ships and so little time. the thing that made this mission so great is the variety at each nav pt. at the first nav put you had to quickly take out the cap ship sub systems so it couldnt destroy the confed jamming ship. the next nav pt you had to destroy the engines of two escaping transport ships before they could jump out and notify for back up. at the last nav pt. you had two additional enemy cap ships come thru the jump at you fleeing from another battle. they were already extremely damaged and ripe for the destroying. what made this mission even better is I completed all objectives and for the last two nav pts I had only 8 percent hull left. can you say sweaty palms. I was so careful landing on the hermes it was crazy. 11/10 yep this mission was that good to me.

final thoughts are I love flying the arrows, I do feel it is slightly harder firing the lasers tha the hellcats though. Even though I like most of my wingmen I miss the blood hound pack. Its great to take it to the cats finally. And I love the script writing for these missions. it seems like the missions were really well thought out, and im not just talking about the missions themselves but the script of it. What I mean is I feel like this is a strategy that could be used in real life to slip behind enemy lines without being detected.

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5 years 4 months ago #9305 by X3N0-Life-Form
Replied by X3N0-Life-Form on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review

heater445 wrote: I think im going to start doing a game recap of the day when I play and place my thoughts into this thread. Kind of like a saga journal if you will. before I get started can anybody tell me exactly what mission number im on so I can keep better notes.

According to my spreadsheet, Loki 1 is mission 14.

final thoughts are I love flying the arrows

By the way, the Arrow has glide capability (alt-G to toggle glide by default, though I recommend changing it to just G).

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5 years 4 months ago #9306 by heater445
Replied by heater445 on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
are you sure its only mission 14 it seems like to me its at least mission 17 or 18

and I got glide mapped to my 360 controller as the start button :arrow:

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5 years 4 months ago #9307 by X3N0-Life-Form
Replied by X3N0-Life-Form on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
Well, I'm not counting the prologue missions, so it seems like you've got the right number ;) .

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5 years 4 months ago #9308 by heater445
Replied by heater445 on topic my initial thoughts on the game/early review
yeah im counting it as one complete campaign so im 19/55 missions then. the one thing I find that a lot of people are complaining about is mission length. I have no problem with dying and starting over, my problem is im a husband and father and dont have the time to play a lot of 30 min to 45 min missions. I feel like some of these mission lengths were designed for a kid who is 15 and has no responsibilities lol.

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5 years 4 months ago #9309 by Luke
Welcome on board heater445 :)

Just moderator related thing: i deleted your double post (thread).

Tools: Setup ZIP Check & UnZip ...and more
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Projects: WCS+ ...and more

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