We've often said that we made Wing Commander Saga for you, wingnuts. Now we would like to hear from you, what did you think about Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn? What score would you give it? What did you like? What did you dislike? Please let us know in the comments below.
I'm not going to write a complete review, since I haven't been able to finish large parts of the game yet, but here is my current opinion of it:
When I first started the game I thought: my god, this is loud. It's either my new headset or the logo just comes up with a vengeance. Next thought: this looks 90's - which is what carried on through my platime with this game: nostalgia. Finally, the briefings, the look, the feel for it, the mapflights - it's all so perfectly in accordance with the game(s) I remember and love. Ships look good too, though Wing Commander had a few designs that could really use an upgrade.
The presentation of the briefings is excellent - even though often the same animations are played on different characters they still add life to the situation; so I'm not missing the live-action from previous games. I also like the attempts of showing the back of some pilots; almost feels like you are sitting there, which I'm sure is the point ^^
The ingame memos and chat are of varying quality. Most of it is excellent, but some pilots do have a bit more to say than others. I'd also like to know who my superior officer is. Maybe I missed it somehow, but if I'm supposed to be afraid of the guy (when I fail), I at least need to see him. I also hope the person who voiced the captain of the Kinney did outstanding work in another part of the game, because voice-overs isn't for him.
ACTING:7/10, STORY N/A (not finished yet, but great so far)
What can I say: THIS IS WING COMMANDER! The feeling for the craft and the behavior of enemy vessels is all how I remember it and even better. Love the user interface or HUD. Things are working 100% here. And that's something to say, since Wing Commander is/was always a riddle of shortcuts and almost every button on the keyboard does something wicked. The sense of speed could be better - but then again this game engine is a little older. I'm somewhat surprised I didn't see any lenseflares - pleasantly surprised, since I don't want to pretend to be a camera in games. Eyes don't produce lense flares.
Annoying to me - not to others - are the missiles, especially since they can terminate a round that went perfect up to then. I don't like that one missile can kill a big battleship in my current mission. I would much prefer if it survived on 1-2% and the skills of getting her home alive depend on your skills as an attack pilot and not as a nightwatch.
I also don't seem to be able to map all the important buttons onto my Logitech gamepad and flying with the keyboard used to be more fun.
GAMEPLAY 9/10 (my main reason to downrate this from 10 is the confusing nature of getting to skip a mission; I won't downrate for the missiles, since they are my problem)
The difficulty is high even on low settings. I didn't figure out yet, if there are more or harder enemies or if you are simply less powerful with the higher settings. I guess these differences really play out on the later levels, but even on easy the game is sometimes hard to beat for me. Usually it's all about adapting your strategy and trying a different approach, but sometimes I feel hindered by the controls, if not my keyboad. I have certain actions mapped out in my mind, but at times there seems to be too much to do (matching speed with a missile using glide while aiming and firing requires b/y + m + tab + alt g + aiming (numpad) + ctrl to be pressed. If something doesn't work as planned you are dead - or worse: you are forced to finish the mission without any objectives to complete.
I am split-minded about this. I believe there are a lot of different experiences in Darkest Dawn, which is great. Yet, some of them aren't my cup of tea and since missions are generally very long this drags on through repeats. Even five repeats are a lot, and I still haven't figured out how to safely skip missions.
At some point I just want to move on and it's not easy to do when you don't know how. I believe, instead of the phony tips at start (also a great hommage to the original games), there could be real tips at startup, such as to use glide to prevent excessive afterburner use; or there could be strategy tips about different types of enemy ships and how to aproach them; or how to skip a mission (chose replay mission 5 times, I guess).
Difficulty: hard; Variety 9/10
So my biggest complain lies with the saves and checkpoints, with skipping missions and info on all that. The documentation may be overwhelming, but what about putting the core functions and some strategy info on a couple of sheets, save as PDF and make accessible through the launcher? Or link the launcher to a webpage document, perhaps. I know Wing Commander, but for the ones who are new to the saga, some of the concepts of flight may be easier to grasp and less frustrating when they can read up on it fast.
Overall this is still a great game and I pity myself for being too stupid to shoot down a few cloaked rockets. I'd really like to see it all play out, since you can tell that a lot of love and work went into the game. This is not your standard game, not dumbed down to finish every mission in five minutes and it is unforgiving. It's not as hard as this may sound to get to play and have fun, but to really master the game and be good at every aspect it takes patience.
ok after finishing last mission right now with adding 144 blasts to my scoreboard of totally 1241 kills in darkest dawn my hand hurts from force feedback
i give saga a 9,5 out of 10!
the only thing(s) i disliked was :
- the partially randomness. there is a mission with 3 skipper missiles "close" to end of game and the missiles always came from minimum 2 different directions....i always failed one....i didnt give up and AHA on the 6th try those nasty skippers came all from ONE direction and i could have a full win.
- the escort mission, where the 2nd goal was to not loose any capital ship..i really missed a "closest bomber target" - key and again i think the bomber groups had random approach vectors..ughh
the stuff i most liked were the last missions...no sissy bomber and missile hunt like running around to catch 500 different mini stones, that are thrown on helpless, glassmade giants.
NO,it was just the way i liked best: taking out as many fighters as fast as possible...especially last mission was a real charm...boooom..aim... boomm..slide... boom ..aim..glide ...booom..evade ..booom aim...thats how it should be more often...pure positive stress ...protecting my bombers/transports in a cool way
the bomber killing during escort missions just was afterburner gliding and fast dartdumbfire usage and then running crazy to next group..always the fear of comin too late to protect ...nah not my stuff...never was in any wc game..
acting,humor,characters and storytelling made more impact on me than any mass_effect "the sims" clone.I was really remembering every charakter of saga within the ending trailer in difference to many other games.
BEST thing : you guys had no ultra cinematics...you just had voice and a small video window for characters...awesooome!
All in all an oldschool game, a linear game, that does not overflow you with garbage,with too much possibilities, that actually make it boring in the end,when you are mister super duper.
Wow - I am blown away by the quality of work. This truly feels like a wing commander game. The detail of the briefings was incredible and you do a great job of getting the feeling of this being a Military situation with Task force X moving to intercept Task Force Y etc.
Not sure if many people commented on this - but MAN - the voice acting is GREAT. People think that getting professional sounding voice acting is easy - its not. Some of the voice acting I have heard in fan mods, and even traditionally developed games is cringe worthy - but you guys have done a fantastic job.
Seriously - I would HAPPILY have paid money for this game. The missions are thrilling and my joystick hasn't seen that much sweat on it in YEARS.
The only downside I can see is that one mission with the Skippers. HATED it. Its not so much that the skippers themselves make victory nearly impossible and pseudo-random, its that when you fail - and you will - you have to sit through that LONG auto-glide segment ALL over again (time compression doesn't seem to do anything). Its like punishment. I tried three times and I just didn't have the energy to sit through that segment again so I just crashed myself into the Hermes two more times to mercifully end the torment.
[spoiler:1vwkq59b]PS - I tried the trick of hanging out by the Hermes and hitting the skippers with the IRs. Didn't work when I did it. The last skipper stayed out of missile range and then before it entered the envelope cloaked and then eventually plunged into the frigate. Grrrrr![/spoiler:1vwkq59b]. Maybe there is some way that can be patched or something, as its the only deep flaw I can see in a work of beauty. But then this is just my opinion. I remember plenty of impossible missions in the originals as well.
Other than that - I loved all the missions. And now I hear you guys have released a mission editor. You guys rock!
The kinney mission is not my favorite either. The entire flow is...suboptimal. It was one of those missions that are great when read on paper but very very hard to turn into a mission that is fun to PLAY.
Just finished the game today, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I would rate the game with 9/10.
Overall it was a great experience with few flaws and annoying things.
What I didnt like:
-Wingmen AI: Sometimes they would either chase or evade an enemy for a very long time, ending up very far away from the main battle. Being able to call them back would have helped alot. They also ruined some perfect going missions several times with their incompetence at capship missile interception. (One lone missile getting past me, wingmen literally flying in its flightpath and it still hits...)
-Capship strikes: I hated intercepting them with a passion after a while, having to wait until being able to shoot those missiles down was only half annoying as my wingmen failing completly at it as mentioned above.
-The *randomness* with capship missile and skipper strikes, depended mostly on luck if I managed to get all. (Although firing missiles at the skippers instead of trying to shoot them worked rather well)
-The Kinney mission: Failing it was annyoing.
-Not being able to give orders in the majority of the missions... there were so many situations where I would have loved to tell my wingmen to do something else. But then again, I wasn't the 'Wing Commander'.
-Sentry Guns: Sometimes my primaries would do almost no damage to their hull (despite their shields being down), seemed like I had to hit them within a certain angle to do any damage since making another pass would suddenly result in primaries doing damage. Secondaries didn't have that problem.
-Sometimes flying halfway through an enemy capship while trying to take out launchers and turrets, even got stuck once...
What I liked and loved:
-The gameplay: It was almost really like playing a Wing Commander game and not a FreeSpace mod. The ships, the weapons, the story, the canon events... nothing felt out of place.the only thing missing was the ability to engange in conversations with your fellow shipmates and pilots onboard the ship but I guess its not possible with the FreeSpace engine. It would have made the game *perfect*.
-The voice acting: Overall great, there where only a few bits which made me cringe.
-The characters were great, Avatarr trying to hit on everyone, Major Baws and his anger management problems ("RADIO SILENCE!")... just to name a few.
-All those cameos and easter eggs: Awesome!
-After having flown the Arrow and the Excalibur I never want to fly a craft without gliding again!
-Not winning everytime: The missions with a fighting withdrawl were hard but still great. Shows how easily the momentum of a battle or the war can shift.
-Loved the raiding missions with the Arrow, fast, swift and deadly.
-Also liked how enemy aces and capships were introduced and missions being built around them. Felt great taking revenge on a certain kilrathi carrier after such a long time.
-One of my personal favorite missions: The Hermes being chased by a particular kilrathi capship. The track (24 - In Pursuit) played during that encounter got me really pumped up, I was thinking "Get the hell away from my carrier!" and was gliding and flying pretty crazy trying to intercept and destroy everything flying towards the Hermes and in the same time dodging everything that was trying to kill me.
-And since I mentioned the music...just great, it fit very well. (Track 40 being another favorite)
-The last missions, the buildup, the fighting, the action and everything till the end... the kilrathi ace and said kilrathi capship...
I wanted to see the ace dead and that capship burn and blown to pieces and I was not disappointed when the time came!
-The last mission: I was so looking forward to the final showdown... In fact, I was so overconfident and impatient, I immediatly glided towards the kilrathi capships and fighters, leaving my wingmen behind... got blown to pieces by 8 or more missiles few seconds later .
The mission itself was great, listening to the reports, not knowing what to expect and then seeing all those red dots on the radar... 157 kills for the scoreboard. Thank god you didn't decide to throw in any bombers during the last part of the mission! With hull at 39%, 0 missiles, and almost no afterburner fuel left... that would have been cruel
This mission was gaming satisfaction at its finest: a final battle with a proper ending and closure.
All in All, I really enjoyed and liked it, my time was definitely not wasted and it was a welcome change compared to current games.
So, I finished my play through. I found the game thoroughly engaging. The storytelling was fantastic, the voice acting was top notch, and the gameplay was absolutely professional. The final mission conveyed the emotions of the end of the war far better than any other Wing Commander material to date Huge kudos for that moment alone.
The game looks incredible- easily the best WC game visually we've ever had put in front of us. This goes to both commercially released games and fan offerings. This, of course, can probably be said of most of the latest iteration of games, but top notch nonetheless.
My only suggestions for improvement are on two fronts. First, the long comm chatter runs, while engaging the first time through, are incredibly tedious when you're trying to replay a mission. The difficulty in some missions is quite high, and to sit through some of the exchanges a second time while already frustrated had me "shelve" the game a few times. There may be limitations within the engine itself that doesn't allow the comm to be skipped- I have no idea.
The only other issue I had, and it's not necessarily a suggestion for improvement as a head scratcher, is to see my kill score at the end of the mission. The scale of the engagements is obviously part of the grandness of the game, but to have triple digit kill scores at the end is just somewhat implausible within the established WC universe. I don't know if there's a way to ramp the difficulty in other ways, but it's difficult to feel any sense of accomplishment for an ace or ace of aces medal when it can be achieved at a single nav point.
I wanted to take a few minutes to give my review of WC:Saga. SPOILERS ABOUND, TREAD LIGHTLY!!!!!!!!
I have not finished the game yet (about 2/3rds complete so far) and I will admit that my perspective is a little different because I had a brief period of time to help with some FRED work on a few missions, so I got to see a little bit of the inner workings of Saga during my time there. I know (although can't truly comprehend) the amount of time and dedication the team had to have in order to bring this game to the masses. The behind the scenes work is truly incredible, the attention and the pages upon pages of discussion over minute details that ultimately make the game true to the world of WC3 is stunning and gives you a realization of just how much these guys love Wing Commander.
Graphically, Saga is probably a little bit dated when compared to newer games, but it is far and away the most visually stunning Wing Commander game the community has ever seen. The ships are rendered beautifully, the textures are very clean, and are a nice update to the 1994 era WC3 styles. I think that the melding of the older style with the newer technology worked very well, and the player is left with a familiar feeling when playing the game. I also think that the new ships (like the Hermes, Savannah-class Cruiser, the Jim Bowie, etc.) fit very well with the style and theme of WC3/4, to the point that you would wonder if maybe you missed them in those games. The introduction of the new ships (especially Kilrathi ships like the Dubav Carrier, for example) were great additions, with something new for the player to battle while still getting to see the classic Bhantkara and Ralarrad class ships from the original.
I also have to mention a few ships that make appearances from the early Wing Commander games. The Confederation Dreadnought is the most standout in my mind. When you see the Armageddon for the first time, you know what it is, yet the way that it is blended into the WC3 style is amazing to my mind. I will admit to being more of a fan of the WC3/4 style of ship design, so to see the Confed dreadnaught reimagined was pretty incredible.
Apart from the ship models, the gunfire also manages to capture Wing Commander really nicely. The first time you get to fire the full front salvo from the Thunderbolt is awe inspiring, and the Arrow's fast refire rate is just as I remember. The trails of fire from the ships look okay, but I will admit to sometimes feeling that they look almost out of place at times. I can't quite put my finger on it, and it is really nitpicky, but I never felt that it looked really right. The explosions, especially the capships, are very well done. I do miss the burnt hulk being left over after they explode, although I seem to recall that they tended to be a drain on framerate with blasted hulks all over the place. Still, I like wreckage I guess
The backrounds are truly amazing, certainly a head and shoulders above WC3 (blue space!) and WC4 (boring, black, lifeless space) and the changes as you go to each system gives the player a sense of traveling and actually being somewhere different, rather than just being told you are somewhere different.
My main graphical gripe with Saga is one simple thing... it is very dark! Yes, you can turn up the gamma, but it seems to wash things out a bit when that is done, and it is more a matter of shading, anyway. When the sun is bright on the ships hulls, they are fine, but underneath especially can be hard to see. It is a nitpick, because graphically Saga is visually a masterpiece. Ultimately, it was the 10 year development cycle that hurt the most, as time has marched on and we have been wowed by newer technology. Basing that the original code is quite old, I give Saga a 9.5/10 on graphics.
The story for Saga is ambitious, truly meant to make the player feel like they are part of a massive confederation fleet. I don't really think that Wing Commander every gave you this feeling in any other game, it usually felt like you and your carrier against the entire Kilrathi navy. Oh, you may encounter an friendly destroyer here or there, and scores of small transports, but seeing fleet carriers and Military bases and scores of supporting cruisers and destroyers really brings the big fleet operations to life.
The characters are pretty well done. I have heard some people give the voice actors a hard time, and they can be admittedly hit or miss. I thought that some did a really fantastic job, such as the voice of Avatarr, or the main character Sandman. Out of respect I won't mention the ones that I thought weren't that great, but I will also say that in every fan project I have ever seen the voice work (which should seemingly be so simple) is often one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. Part of this centers around the fact that you can't really lock them in quickly, have them deliver their lines, and move on, because certain small aspects of the story are constantly having minor revisions. When you are finally ready to record, 3/4 of them vanish off the face of the earth! I wasn't around to see the voice work process with Saga, but I can only imagine the heartache.
The most noticeable thing with regard to the voice actors is that there are times when they are having a conversation and the inflections of the responses don't quite sound right. They are asked a question, and they answer like they are talking to a table, not a person. Really, it is just a matter of spit and polish and direction that the actors required. It seemed to me that 30 percent of the actors were very good and natural, 50 percent needed some more direction and a few more takes and would have been good, and 10 percent were hopeless, which all things considered is still a very good ranking for a fan project with ZERO budget. Top voice actors like to get paid, after all, so you can't expect Mark Hamill to lend his voice for a fan project. In actuality, the voice acting deserves a 9.5/10 based on the fact that this is a fan project, it is really quite good.
Now, continuing with the story. The events that transpire are believable and not over the top. It is clear that Confed isn't flawless, which is good. I do tend to think that a few of the dramatic parts are a little over the top. Fort Crockett tries to make you feel bad, but the pleas for help go on a little too long and the drama goes to soap opera levels. At the same time, I thought that the mission in Caliban with the adrift cruiser (TCS Challenger) was one that really managed to tug at the players heart strings a little, and was potentially one of my favorites so far.
Although I know it is in the name of comic relief, some of the humor is a little coarse in moments that should be serious. I remember clearly at one point one of the wingmen gets blasted, and immediately another follows up with "guess he won't need to worry about that promotion" or something along those lines. I mean, the guy's cockpit is still burning when the line get's delivered, it is just out of place in what is a generally serious storyline. There are multiple instances where the pilot characters are just too detached from caring about human lives, and voicing their opinions heartily, that I think it hurts the integrity of the story.
The mission briefings are extremely well done. Taking the time to create a cutscene for each was a nice touch, and really helps to put a face to the Squadron commanders and give the player a sense of realism. Again, it is one of those attention to detail things that the Saga team really got right, and makes the game far more interesting.
Overall (and again, without having finished the game yet) I give the story a 7/10. It isn't a great story, but it isn't terrible. It is serviceable, and in my eyes generally on par with what we usually get in the gaming community. A little more seriousness, a comedic play that doesn't take shots at the integrity of the characters or undermine serious situations would help it. Also, even with all the in flight dialogue, we don't really get to know the characters that well. A lot of the communication is banter, but it doesn't really add to that character's story.
WC:Saga captures the game play of WC3 very well. In fact, in some ways I almost think that it is better than WC3 in terms of how the ships handle and dogfight. In WC3 I would always jump in a T-bolt and make hay. In this game, the Thunderbolt really feels more ponderous, and the speed difference between it and the Arrow really makes you appreciate the nimble maneuvering of a light fighter. You really do have to take different approaches depending on what you are fighting, you need to vary your speed, you really have to FLY your ship. It is quite entertaining!
I will throw a few downsides. The first, most frustrating thing, is the AI, and their absolute willingness to ram you. They never veer off course, they just continue straight in. It is pretty annoying, especially since collisions are guaranteed to harm your ship, sometimes severely. I wish that the code could be modified so that they would break off once they got close, which is what happened in WC3. I almost never collided back then, but in Saga you will find yourself bouncing off of vaktoth, Darket, Dralthi, etc. If flies, it will ram you.
Secondly, the missions are very heavily scripted. I understand the reasoning, and even worked with it myself in the few missions that I worked on. The basic problem is that your wingmen generally cannot die. They can't die because they are invincible. The basic issue comes down to the fact that in many cases the outcomes of battles are so erratic. When you have 20 ships engage in a dogfight, how can you ever predict which way the battle will go? If you lose all your wingmen by circumstance, what do you do when the next wave of 10 Dralthi start bearing down on you? You are dead, of course. At the same time, it creates an avenue where the player can avoid a lot of conflict, and let the AI do a lot of the grunt work. So, the scripting is a necessary evil.
The capital ships are a far more formidable foe than in WC3/4. Where in the past they were simply cannon fodder, they are now hulking behemoths that can rip you to shreds, so you have to be careful when attacking. Flying inside them is still viable, although I wish there were a way for the enemy fighters to figure out what you are doing and get inside to get you as well. Once you are there, switch all power to guns and fire away. Generally, though, the battles are entertaining and difficult.
The missions themselves have a lot of variety. Oh, you will run plenty of 3 and 4 point patrols, which are routinely 5 and 6 point patrols as you are vectored away to different tasks. Some of the missions are really interesting (Caliban with the Challenger, the atmosphere mission with the Valkyries, and Stalker in Torgo) and others are grind 'em out, go here, go here, blow this up, go home stuff. It is all enjoyable, though. I have to admit my bias for a couple of Loki missions
Overall, the gameplay is 9/10. It is fun and engaging, and if you don't allow the AI to do to much and focus on padding your kill score, you can get past the scripting. If they can fix the AI ramming, then I would revise it to a 10/10. It is everything that a Wing Commander fan wants.
Overall, Wing Commander Saga earns a 8.5/10. Realize that this number is in comparison with the games what we buy on the store shelf for 59.95 USD, and that Saga was made without compensation and solely on the blood, sweat, tears and dedication of it's team. The fact that we are comparing Saga to games with 1,000,000 dollar budgets speaks for itself.
To the Saga Team: Congratulations, and great job! This community is in your debt.
PS> Sorry for the book, but a two paragraph review just wouldn't do this game justice.
I am a long time Wing Commander fan, as I'm sure most of you here are. So, with that being said, I will review this game from the perspective of a true WC fan.
About a year ago, I went back and played WC III and IV again, and enjoyed every second of it. To be quite honest, I think the WC universe is more interesting and the storyline more engaging than that of Star Wars or Star Trek. Call me crazy, but WC is the best space sci-fi series ever.
I have been hoping the space flight sim genre would make a comeback. This game IS the comeback for me. I was disgusted at how poorly the space flight mission in Halo Reach was implemented. Not that I expected it to be good, but it was just terrible aside from the "coolness" factor.
Anyway, when I saw that WC Saga has actually been released, I couldn't believe it. I remember reading about it years ago, and thinking that it would never happen. Strangely enough, I downloaded it a month ago and had completely forgotten I had it on my hard drive until this week. Enough rambling, on with the review.
Simply put, this game is incredible. It has accomplished, in my eyes, everything a WC game could accomplish within the parameters of the game engine. I have played it every day, sometimes for 8+ hours a day, for the past week, skipping my regular games like BF3 (which I have over 400+ hours logged). That should tell you I really, REALLY enjoyed this game.
There might be newer space sim engines (Like X3), but what the team has accomplished with WC Saga is definitely more than adequate. This is the best looking WC game we've ever gotten, and while that shouldn't be much of a surprise, the graphics in their own right are still pretty good. Never did I feel taken out of the universe due to poor graphics. Firing all the weapons feels heavy enough, and the explosion effects are really quite nice. The only gripe I might have with the graphics is that the atmospheric backgrounds are a little dumpy looking compared to the space backdrops.
The core gameplay is perfect. No, I mean that. Remember, I'm reviewing this from a WC fan's viewpoint. The team has painstakingly recreated the gameplay of WC III/IV to an extent I didn't think would be possible on another engine. Every speed, every weapon damage calculation, every weapon recharge rate, and every enemy fighter tactic has been recreated perfectly. Taking out fighters feels identical to the older games, and that in itself is an achievement.
But it doesn't stop there. The scope and scale of the newer engine has achieved things the older WC games would never dream of. The only thing missing from the older games was huge battles with multiple cap ships on both sides fighting, and that's exactly what we got here in WC Saga. If I remember correctly, my first playthrough of WC III back in the day I totaled 240-something kills during the entire campaign. In Saga I got 117 kills in one mission. The large number of targets and capships you will come across is very satisfying, and really lets you experience the war visually in a way the previous games just couldn't accurately replicate from the books.
Once again, I have to say that the story is perfect. I might be a little biased, as WC III's story is my personal favorite, and experiencing that timeline all over again on a different carrier was such a treat. But aside from the nostalgia, the story in itself does an outstanding job with making you feel like you're evolving personally as a character, and that you're making a strong contribution to the total war effort. I would have liked to see storyline text between missions for the main campaign like it was in the prologue, but I understand something of that magnitude would have taken A LOT of time, and would have only been appreciated by a small percentage of fans (me).
The dialogue is strong throughout the game, and the characters are built nicely over time during the missions. For the most part, the voice acting is superb. I especially enjoyed Deathfang a lot, the actor did a great job really making you look forward to a proper fight with him. Even the banter between Avatarr and Honeybear was great stuff. I would have liked Honeybear to be featured a little more, but again only personal preferences.
The entire second half of the campaign did a great job mixing things up, taking you to different cap ships, introducing different characters, throwing in some old friends, and ultimately focusing on contributing to the Temblor Bomb strike and feeling like a part of a larger picture.
One aspect about the story is I feel it allows you to put yourself in the character's shoes more than the old games. I know Sandman himself has a character, but it feels more like you in the cockpit. The old WC games you KNEW you were Christopher Blair, and being the wing commander through the entire game didn't lend you much room to role play. The fact that you get to rank up through the campaign gives you a sense of personal advancement. When I was told to get some shore leave in Torgo, I was like, "Damn right I will, I just beastmoded 50 Kilrathi. I'm gonna plow many wimminz this weekend!"
The only thing that could make the story better would be interactive cutscenes with the ship's crew between missions, but the score does not deserve to be punished due to engine limitations and the sheer amount of dialogue during missions makes up for that.
Bottom line is: WC Saga SHOULD be considered as official canon in the WC universe. It already is in my eyes. Simple as that. It is outstanding.
This should probably be lumoed in with the story score, but I feel it deserves its own section. I was totally blown away by the cutscene work in WC Saga. The team could have easily thrown this part of the game away, replaced it all with mission debriefing text, and saved a lot of time in the process. I'm glad they didn't. The mission briefing cutscenes are wonderful. I don't know how the hell you guys got the map graphics and the style of the briefings so identical to the franchise, but it is great stuff. Without this feature in the game, I would have been disconnected with the missions. Instead, every cutscene got me pumped up for each mission, and even helped me anticipate what I would have to fight at each waypoint. The cutscenes are just another indicator of the immense care and devotion that was put into this game. My only grip would be some funky animations throughout. Other than that, it's perfect.
To conclude, Wing Commander Saga is, for all practical purposes, the best WC game ever released. That might be a bit unfair, considering the age of the old games and what they couldn't do compared to this newer game, but what WC Saga accomplishes on all fronts puts it ahead of the others. The number of missions, the scope of the missions, the variety and suspense of the missions, makes WC Saga overall more enjoyable than the older games. And though I greatly miss live action storytelling and carrier cutscenes, I felt ALMOST as engaged in the story as I was in WC III/IV. So, WC Saga isn't better than the older games in EVERY category, but the overall quality of the product is, I feel, better than the "real" WC games. and I italicize "real" because officially, they are the official games, but in my eyes, Wing Commander Saga IS one of the official games in the series, and I intend on including it in my next total Wing Commander series playthrough.
I'll try to keep it short and sweet. I !@#$ing loved it. 10/10. It's laughable that this free game has provided me with more entertainment than most AAA titles, but i'll chalk that up to my personal wing commander bias. It feels like 1990 to me on my old 386 blastin cats, raking in the medals which was one aspect i really missed about every subsequent wing commander in contrast to the first one, glad to see you incorporated this feature as it provides some initiative to go back and keep playing. I have been recommending Saga to all my friends. Well done and Congratulations. Off to start yet another playthrough, life is good.