Okay, I made it past mission 18, so I feel qualified to review this campaign - I am going to finish it later but going from Mission 17 into the Mission 18 kinda exhausted me...
First, I would like to commend you - for your first campaign this is solid writing, even thought there are a few cringe elements there; and I am saying this after having stared down my own first campaign recently, which were of much lesser quality and need(ed) a lot of polish before I could be satisfied with them.
The scenario, while wholly original (it reminds me a bit of the Auriga-subplot in Derelict), is well executed and with much more attention to making it credible than previous versions I've played.
The bad mostly comes from stuff that I can understand as being the result of a lack of experience but should nonetheless be mentioned here:
- The balance of many missions can swing wildly; sometimes its is an overreliance on the "Near Ship"-arrival anchor which introduces "wild" variation through the sheer distance a player has to travel, where it is not needed (e.g. Missions 5 and 11), other times it appears to be that the balance was done using subtraction method of balancing (i.e. start with a high volume of the enemy fighters and reduce their numbers to balance), which can compound with the existing familiarity of the mission to declare the balancing okay prematurely (I know, I am guitly of that many times over).
- Towards the end the scenario trips over itself and goes against it previously established creditibility - Mission 17 and Mission 18 reduce the countering the supposed enemy brain power into exercises in tedium. If you are enemies are supposed to be that smart as suggested before those mission, these kind of attrition based scenarios should allow them to do more - A steady drip may errode a mountain, but the moutain doesn't have the ability and smarts to make an umbrella. /tortured metaphore
- Another thing - which ususally is not something you hold against a first time-campaign maker, but Mission 5 made it painfully obvious - is that the campaign could benefit from allowing more "partial success" states for its missions - these add some replayability to the campaign but also function as an acknowledgement of player skill, which create a sense of ackomplishment not just completion.
- And some newer techniques to improve battlefield awareness could provide a significant improvement on occassion - e.g. to use a consistent lingustic framing for the directives which makes a difference between fighter wings ("Destroy") and bomber wings ("Intercept").
In a nutshell, a first outing with some familiar issues for first time campaign makers but still wroth the time investment to check it out - not only to enjoy the novelty of the FMV cutscenes.