played through this last weekend and thought I'd toss my review in:
The first ten-ish missions of this campaign are some of the best I've played so far in any FS2 campaign, maybe including retail itself. The new Terran ships, the burned up Earth, Sanctuary, and getting confused and slaughtered in a hostile universe were absolutely fabulous. Custom music, story, and gameplay comes together seamlessly in a couple of the early missions to provide some excellent fights that prove combat mission quality over quantity is the way to go. The initial storyline is well written too, with exposition done intelligently over the course of several missions and communication methods.
However, once the Vishnans show up, it's my opinion that this mod takes a straight nosedive on all fronts. Interpreting the Shivans as their literal namesake in the Hindu pantheon struck me as uncreative, and it does not mix well with the FreeSpace universe as a whole. Balancing out the Shivans with a heavenly antagonist makes the game much less compelling. For example, one of the reasons the Warhammer IP has been so successful is the designers never put in a dumb angelic Order army to stand toe to toe with Chaos. It's just a desperate and horrified humanity against an endless swarm of supreme bad guys, which brings out the best (and worst) in them every step of the way and is super fun to think about. Putting in angels or Vishnans regulates the humans into dumb little allies who are just riding around on the coattails of someone else's glories and tragedies. The uncommunicative, unpredictable, and unstoppable Shivans are one of FreeSpace's best qualities, and I feel like Age of Aquarius has stripped that away by the time we're reading philosophical forum posts between the Dante and the Preserver.
I also didn't like the dream mission where you witness your wife and mother die. Having your father being quietly ashamed of you for something you can't bring yourself to remember is way more horrifying that a goofy cutscene where the escort fighters ignore Shivan bombers to go chase interceptors. I know it had a point in making me come to terms with my shame, but the delivery seemed off. I felt like the mission where you escort the governor's shuttle and try to overcome past sins with present virtue to be much, much more powerful.
Lastly, the placement of the final mission in the campaign seemed rushed. I'd just spent five missions desperately avoiding a court martial only to immediately defect in the next? Seemed really bizarre- maybe the sudden shock was the storyteller's intent, but I think a slow unveiling of the GTVA's insidious intentions would have been better than the weird rushed fight that went down (which, by the way, is really historically implausible; human powers never declare war on each other immediately on contact- they at least scout each other out first)
Overall very good and recommended!