BLUF: After a 10 odd year hiatus, and mostly thanks to COVID-19, I've gotten back into Freespace. Replaying BP, especially WiH, has been ****ing incredible; and the team who made it what it is deserve some words of praise and some additional publicity.
To be honest, I barely remembered WiH as it used to exist. My decade old memory is a blur of cool fighters, torpedoes, hectic capship battles and some very well written fiction. But with the new gauges, full voice-acting, and what I assume is probably a rebalancing of the missions(?), this mod is a straight-up standalone game that's well capable of fetching a price on the shelf of a digital store somewhere, and definitely a great goddamn way to embrace social-distancing. Playing it again was like playing WiH for the first time.
And the WiH I just finished plays like a gritty blend of DCS, Mass Effect, BSG, and Blackhawk Down. God-****ing-damn. I never realised what an impact (good) VA makes to a mod, but the paid casting of the lead roles sells the story extremely well, and hearing the raw emotion through actually realistic ACM calls over the radio in missions like Delenda Est and Post Meridian builds the atmosphere of a good gunfight like nothing else I've seen in the FS mod-verse. In addition to that, the EW and TACCOM displays capture the most disgustingly green/gunfight boner inducing military-nerdery that keeps most of the DCS community alive. That, and the rectification of a stoppage on the gun mid-gunfight and other little 1%ers like that really capture the idiosyncrasies of doing your job in a combat unit. And to be honest, it was done so well at times that I would honestly compare the experience to some of my own real life funtimes sweating through a helmet whilst screaming into a radio, un-****ing the gun, and working out what to do next. So good job guys, I mean it.
And that doesn't even scratch the surface of the story-telling depth the mod has now. With the Fiction Viewer pieces, a new soundtrack, and actually good voice-acting of the narrative, I would definitely rate it in the top five pieces of fiction I've experienced this year. I was 100% engrossed until the very end (currently playing through part 2, which is equally as amazing, even without VA). All the narrative ancillaries and e-mail excerpts, INTREPs and whatnot, do a great job of painting what life on the losing side of a war (and maybe being in contact with another race?) must feel like. The only part of the story I feel didn't age particularly well was the writing of the romance sub-plot, but I fully acknowledge that they're probably the hardest narrative component to pull off in an FS context, that most people seemed to have enjoyed it, and I probably have my enjoyment affected by the fact that some of the lines remind me of a very young Dilmah G's attempts at romance and the self cringe-factor really gets me good. That aside, I can concede that it was very well acted, and on the whole, our community is way too small to make a mountain out of a molehill in what is overall, a very, very good mod.
So what was the point of that? Well, to say thanks. Playing WiH was a real ****ing good time, and I'm thoroughly impressed just how far people will go to create good fiction on this platform. FSO is easily the most underutilised platform in the developed world and we should all refer five of our friends and have them refer five of their friends and swap bank details at some point...or...something. But really, this is excellent, and I absolutely will be attempting to broaden the coverage here in Oz. You guys as the team did really well, and even during rainy days such as these, you should feel good that you helped create a ****ing great work of art.
And finally, does the fact my forum handle somehow appears in the end credits make this post incredibly masturbatory, and indicative of narcissism gone wild on the BP team of 2009 with naked attempts at jerking each other off in public? Honestly - I did very little here apart from play test some of the very early versions of the mod and give some half-assed mil-nerd advice in between hardcore teenage ****posting on the forum. The WiH I played is nothing like the one I remember, and that's why I love it. Great job guys. I really hope this gets finished.