I finally played this. Overall, its pretty good (because of fun missions), but not great in my opinion.
The campaign exists in this weird middle ground between being vanilla-like
in gameplay and story but then also taking cues from more character-driven mods. It felt pretty weird to me, with the two named 6th-Fleet-defending and 6th-Fleet-bashing pilot having a sort of plot arc in the middle of a very vanilla-like
overall campaign. Similar feelings about the writing of all the other dialog, a weird hybrid between the pseudo-military vanilla-like
style and a more outlandish AceCombat-like
nonesensical writing. And people doing lots of ooohs
and look at thats
and other nonsensical lines...
Speaking of which, while the FREDing is good for the most part, the writing is what drags it down for me: Much of a dialog is simply utterly unprofessional in nature, a sharp departure from all the dialog of FS2, which I find it immersion-breaking: People in this campaign are constantly pre-occupied with other things (like making sarcastic comments) during life-or-death situations. Their focus should be on something else, like their job or staying alive. No respectable organization would tolerate this kind of communication style in critical situations. Dialog from commanding officers or capital vessels is similar in quality, and most of the time, not very situation-appropriate (no matter what said situation is, the tone is usually all wrong). All of this reminds me a lot about the missions I wrote in my teens half-a-lifetime ago, when I was creating campaigns for TBP
This campaign is old too, so who knows, maybe this is actually a very similar situation?
A big failure for me is the whole tactical situation. I will still put it spoiler-tags, even if is no spoiler that Epsilon Pegasi falls, as that is in the title
So, the GTVA is supposed to be guarding the Node leading to an NTF-held system. Except, that it does not do so. There are just a handful of ships on station and any actual effort from the NTF on the other side could break the blockade. If the system is mostly secure, the majority of the GTVA's guns should be next to that node and for some reason, they are not. There is never a sensible reason given (no our line of defense has been reprioritized). The breakthrough of an enemy corvette (which is totally expected, given the way they are going about this blockading-thing) is a big deal for the plot, which means the system is safe enough prior to said breakthrough that my original argument holds.TLDR;
The campaign then goes on a hunt for that corvette, which to nobody's surprise turns out to be part of the NTF "plan", so that Koth can invade the system. Through the node that is now "no longer blocked", except that it never was. I think this whole corvette+signal thing is a very badly constructed macguffin to have the shocking twist of the NTF breakthrough. But it just falls flat.
This is a functional campaign, with above average mission design and below average writing. Obviously, this says pretty much nothing because nobody in this community can define a sensible average
. View this more as an emotional statement. Play it if you are in the mood for some vanilla-style missions and you have already played or replayed all the other classics
Weirdly enough, I found the first mission to be the most difficult. I did beat anything except that first mission on either the first or second try on medium, but required about ten attempts for the campaign's start. Going about that blockading thing less seriously was the trick, aka exploiting the fact that most fighters pretty much ignore the cruisers. I held back and took less damage, allowing me to complete the mission.