Hail Brethren et Womanfolk.
So about a Month Ago, I started getting a Hankering to Explore the Current State of Space Combat Sims, I didn't really know if it was Viable given my Current Set Up at my Live/Work Space here in LA, when I ordered this Tap 21 Sony VAIO All in One I ne'er dreamed that a Couple Years Later I might be pairing it with a HOTAS Controller and trying to Itch my Wing Commander Nostalgia.
However One Night while I was Drinking Pinot Noir and Cooking Up Black Squid Ink Spaghetti, I decided to YouTube the Wing Commander 2 Intro Cinematics. It was All Over After I took that Video In while my Pasta Water waited to Boil. I knew I had to Somehow Return to the Cockpit that I once Enjoyed some 20 Years Ago when Life was less Complex.
I spent much of the Holidays researching my Options, looking over these here Forums along with the CIC et Hard Light counterparts. I did extensive Research for about Two Weeks before I decided to order my First HOTAS setup in the Form of a x52 Pro.
I am pushing 40, so my Wing Commander experience dates back to the Original which my Uncle got me into, the Sequel actually caused me to upgrade my computer to an i386 IBM Compatible and purchase a Sound Blaster Pro. I was so enthusiastic about Wing Commander 2 that I used to Wear my Father's Motorcycle Helmet during missions actually putting down the Visor when I broke to Attack. Back then one had to Purchase additional software just to get Voices in the Game, O Ye Speech Packs, tut. I played them All, 3, 4 and Prophecy.. in fact I recently had a Total Fanboy Geeked Out Moment at a Christmas Party where Mark Hamill's Daughter was in Attendance telling her my Love for Wing Commander more so than Star Wars, she offered that they needed her for a Role in Squadron 42, as she is kind of her Dad's Manager to a Degree.
Anyhow, from Everything I read, I kind of figured that Saga would not Run on my Intel HD 4400 Integrated Graphics situation so my plan was to opt for Standoff first and then eventually upgrade my GPU and pleasure delay Saga for a Spell.
Well, I downloaded and installed Secret Ops and Standoff, I figured it was a safer bet than Saga due to my pseudo laptop situation. Long Story Short (Yeah, tsk) Standoff did not Immediately Launch, I became active on the Standoff Forums to remedy my Situation however in the Meantime, I thought I would give Saga a try just for Kicks thinking it would not work. Lo and Behold, Saga worked on my VAIO Setup in the Highest Resolution with all the Graphics Optioned Maxed Out, also to my Surprise, what I thought was going to be a Pain in the Arse (the x52 Setup) turned out to be Cake.
Kudos to the Developers of Saga, but Honestly, I was almost disappointed that it Launched with Such Ease without me having to perform Workaround and Tweaks, also I was slightly dumbfounded that it ran at 60fps with my Non-Gaming Machine, not to Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth, Hark!
Now this was my First HOTAS Experience and I remember my Wing Commander Days Fondly, but this Experience was Actually Smoother and Cleaner than any of the Actual Retail Released Games. I was Blown Away, it was Almost Too Good. And really, I thought I was going to have to Jump through Hoops to get my Multi-Deviced new Controller to Work, but aside from Binding a Couple Keys and Axis, it was a without Pain. The First Night Playing It I reached the Surface Valkyrie Missions and I felt that I had to Stop cos it was Just Too Much, it was Sensory Overload and I wanted to Save some of this Goodness for Later. But I'm and Addict, and while I should have been Wrapping Christmas Gifts and Preparing for the Season, instead I was Consumed by the Story and my Desire for Nostalgia. This Game was almost like an Anti-Depressant to Me. I remember being at Holiday Parties smoking around a Fire Pit not Being Able to Shut Up about Wing Commander in the Midst of a Bunch of Hollywood Hipsters. My Inner Geek was Totally Outer and it Felt So Good.
That Said, I have done some reading and research since... and my Concern is... Did Wing Commander Saga Ruin Me?!
From what I read, it's the Best Looking and Best Playing of the Bunch, the Diasporas, the Standoffs, the FreeSpace Ilk (a series I am into Exploring but have not yet.)
I have tried some of the Others, but honestly, they all kind of Pale in Comparison. I am a Pleasure Delayer and I kind Feel like I Blew my Load Too Soon, tut. That Said, I suppose I can replay Sage Over and Over Again on a Higher Difficulty Level. Also, to Weight in Right Quick on the Difficulty, I enjoy how hard it is - - it brings me back to having to Play Over Long Missions and that Anxiety, that Feeling of Being Alive by Fearing that You May Die. This Game was Just what the Doctor Ordered.
I know there is a Thread for This Elsewhere, but it seems to be a Couple Years Old and Inactive, are there Other Campaigns (however Brief) or even some Single Missions that Work with Sage, i.e: You Actually Launch them from the Saga Launcher in the Mod Field? I followed a couple threads about a Kilrathi One some Years Back, but that Bloke seemed to be Working on Like a Dozen Projects at Once, tut - - I know the Feeling. And One set in the WCIV Timeline? Anyhow - - Regardless of the Additional Material, this Lengthy and Generous Campaign really Hit the Spot.
So Thank Ye all that Made this Experience Possible for a Jaded Flyboy whose been outta Space for Two Decades or So.
Gratias Ago Tibi ~