Author Topic: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)  (Read 8726 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Welcome to InsaneBaron review number 2/Two/II/T'ad/Dos/Ni! Sorry for the delay- combination of RL busyness and computer trouble. 

Today, we're looking at two campaigns at once: Silent Threat: Reborn, and Operation Templar. They have a lot in common. Both are remakes of canonical campaigns by  :v:. Both were remade by the same people. And both fit into the same continuity. Besides, Operation Templar was too short for its own review :p

First, a little about me and my reviews. I'm a decently experienced pilot, but I haven’t been on HLP for very long. Hence,  these reviews are gonna be tailored for two groups of people. First, other new-ish people who, to quote General Battuta, are looking for their “...First (or Next!) Campaign.” Not that I'm making n00b reviews, I'm just not making 1337 reviews. Second, hopefully my reviews will be helpful to the campaign makers themselves, by way of feedback, encouragement, and a bit of constructive criticism. If you're a new recruit trying to decide if a campaign is for you, or a designer wondering how new recruits will react to your campaign, then these reviews are for you.

I'm going to organize these reviews into four categories. First, PLOT. Characters, story, scary or funny moments, et cetera. Second, GAMEPLAY. Balance, fun-factor. Quality of any new ships and weapons. Clarity of mission goals. Challenge. Third, AESTHETICS. This will barely apply to some simpler campaigns, but this includes cutscene quality, the artistic appearance of new ships/weapons, voice acting, music... the “look and sound” of the campaign. Finally, TECHNICAL STUFF. Was it easy to set up? Did I run into bugs? That sort of thing. This last section will naturally be incomplete, because I'm no beta tester. I didn't try to break any missions (“really, I wasn't TRYING to break it! It just happened!”). So the only bugs I'll catch are ones that will come up in a casual playthrough- but those are probably the most dangerous type.

Anyway, without further ado, my thoughts and opinions on.............................

SILENT THREAT: REBORN

SILENT THREAT, for those who haven't played it before, was originally a rather poorly received expansion pack for the original FreeSpace. The pack came with a number of popular user-made missions, and some new ships and weapons. However, it's main feature was supposed to be a whole new  :v:-made campaign of twelve missions. While some of the “bonus features” were popular (Destiny of Peace, for example), the Silent Threat campaign was a major letdown. The team at  :v: had very little time to work on it, and basically no time to test.  :rolleyes: The mission quality ranged from “has potential, but poorly executed” to “AAAaaaAAAaaaAAAGH! Tell me when it's over!”. :eek: The plot didn't make much sense. It was too bad, too, because the plot was pretty important from a FreeSpace historical perspective.

Silent Threat, or ST, cast the player as a member of Galactic Terran Intelligence, or GTI. You got the chance to fly a couple mop-up missions against the Shivans. Somehow, the GTI rebelled against the GTA for unknown reasons, but somehow, you and your commander weren't part of the rebellion, so for some reason the GTI rebels blew their cover by trying to frag you, then for unknown reasons GTA command sent you to fly a few missions against the Shivans again, then they announced the Shivans had somehow been vanquished and sent you back to finish off the GTI rebels, whose Superdestroyer, the Hades, somehow contracted Tactical Stupidity Syndrome during the final battle. (pant, pant, pant).  Important stuff, but poorly carried out.
That's where the FreeSpace Port team came in. Led by Goober5000 and Galemp, this team's goal seems to be making sure that all of [V]'s FreeSpace work could be played on FS2 Open. Having made FreeSpace 1 into a mod for FreeSpace 2 Open (FreeSpace Port), they then proceeded to clean up these two secondary campaigns.

SILENT THREAT: REBORN was the result of a massive project by Goober5000 and Galemp to remake Silent Threat into a campaign on the same level of quality as the main FreeSpace campaigns. Each and every mission was remade for balance and gameplay. The order of the missions was changed to make more sense plot-wise. One or two completely hopeless missions were scrapped, and several new ones were added. The plot itself, while it followed the general outline of the original Silent Threat, was rewritten to make more sense, clear up inconsistencies, and provide some valuable insights into the events. The resulting campaign was also longer, at 18 missions.

Now, let's get this review going! Silent Threat: Reborn

A note on spoilers: When I played ST:R, I had already beaten the original ST. Thankfully, playing the original doesn't spoil the remake, thanks to the plot revisions- even the ending is a bit different. Therefore, if something happened in the original campaign, I'll consider it a non-spoiler. Stuff that's unique to the REBORN version, however, will be spoiler-tagged.

A note on acronyms: ST refers to the original campaign by  :v: (the let-down), ST:R refers to the remake by FSPort (the subject of this review).

PLOT: Credit goes to Goober5000 and Galemp, and to  :v: for the original idea.

Starting off with PROS!

CANON BASIS: The basic plot of the original Silent Threat is maintained, but modified. In effect, think of this as a drop-in replacement for the low-quality original. ST and ST:R do conflict with eachother (pretty heavily at points), but ST:R meshes perfectly with the main campaigns themselves- better than ST does, to the extent that it clears up a few inconsistencies
Spoiler:
like the Hades debris on Deneb

IMPROVEMENTIZATION: Improvement + Improvisation.  :P The FSP team makes the story more logical and takes the opportunity to speculatively explain a lot of the questions that arose. See the next few notes...

STRUCTURE: In ST, the missions were in a rather odd order. You were switched, seemingly at random, between fighting Shivans, Rebels, and people who your bosses just wanted disposed of. :confused: As mentioned in a developer commentary by Goober5000 and Galemp (I'm gonna call them G&G from now on ;) ), the team decided to organize the missions into three categories, and make each into a story arc. Therefore, you START by doing covert ops for six missions, THEN you join the operations to end the Shivan incursion until mission 10, and FINALLY you have it out with the GTI rebellion for the last 8 missions. It makes a lot more sense that way. In fact, this might be a good place to look at the mission list. I'll indicate where each of the missions fit in (or didn't) in the original ST.

1. Silence All Voices (remake of original)
2. More Than Meets The Eye (replaces mission 2: The Pursuit)
3. Ghosts (remake of original)
4. Field of Destruction (remake of m8)
5. Cloak and Dagger (remake of m7)
6. He Who Rides the Tiger (replaces original mission 4: On The Run)
7. The Wait (originally m11)
8. Hellfire (originally m5)
9. The Return to Ross 128 (originally m10)
10. The Last Hurrah (NEW)
11. Betrayed (replaces original m9: Exodus)
12. Exodus (NEW, borrows name from original m9)
13. Forced Hand (NEW)
14. Chasing Shadows (NEW)
15. Secrets Reborn (partial remake of original m12: Secrets Revealed)
16. Blood of the Innocents (NEW)
17. Abandon Hope (NEW)
18. Last Stand (another partial remake of m12)

In addition to generally making the events of the missions more logical, G&G cleared up some major plot holes, gaps, and inconsistencies that had plagued the original campaign.

IT'S A PARTY IN THE GTI: One thing that ST:R does very well is explain the internal structure of Galactic Terran Intelligence.  G&G went into detail to explain how the GTI was organized into three branches: Special Operations (the branch you join), Intelligence, and Research and Development (the branch that goes rouge). Each branch has its own Admiral and its own Flagship.

CHARACTERS: While it's not a character-driven campaign, ST:R does have some memorable people, including your boss, the loyal Admiral Jason Scott, the ingenious leader of the GTI's intelligence branch, Admiral Samantha Tess, the intimidating leader of R&D, Admiral Marcus Glaive (Awesome McCoolname  :D ), and the sinister, devious Andreas Rybak.  :shaking:

LESS BAD GUY STUFF: The original campaign had you spend the first three missions “killing everyone who knows” about a fight the broke out between Terran and Vasudan forces at an outpost. It was probably supposed to have a “Men in Black” feel, but in actuality it felt stupid, especially when I had to blow up FOUR ATENS  :wtf: in one mission (that's, what, 4,000 innocent Vasudans who happened to pick up a stray comm message?  :hopping: ). Thankfully, in the remake you're able to contain the incident on the first mission, so you only have to blow the guys who were involved in the fight. After that, no more witness elimination. Thank you, G&G, for not making me feel stupid this time :P

HE WHO RIDES THE TIGER: Scariest mission I've ever played. Just play it and find out  :mad2::shaking::mad2:

THIS IS THE WAY SHIVA ENDS: Not with a whimper, but with a bang. :yes: In the original, your last encounter with the Shivans was on the second-to-last mission, THE WAIT. A basic convoy mission; the Shivans had a Cain, but that was it. You had to capture the cargo intact. Hardly a worthy end for the Great War. However, G&G gave us a good “Finish the Shivans” mission in the form of THE LAST HURRAH, an intense, climaxing assault mission against the last Shivan destroyer, the Archon, and its considerable cruiser escort. The Lucifer fleet got to go out with a bang, for sure.  :nod:

SPECIESISM: ST:R also deals with Terran-Vasudan relations after the war. You get some good insights into the reasons behind the formation of the GTVA, and the difficulties involved.  :headz:

THE MOTIVE: ST:R actually goes in depth to explain why the GTI's top brass are rebelling, and why they are able to motivate hundred of pilots and thousands of ship crew to join them. And the motive makes sense, too. HUGE thumbs up here!  :yes:

H4D35 15 N00B N0 M0R3: Remember what a waste the Hades was originally? It warps in after the Jotunheim blows up. There's nothing for it to shoot with its beamz, so it sits there for an hour or so, launching replacements for its CAP on occasion. The GTI command on board just patiently waits while their ship is slowly pounded to death by a lone bomber. Well, problem solved. By the end of ST:R, you'll be almost a scared of the Hades as you were of the Lucifer.  :jaw:

OK, now I need to give a few of the plot's cons. Sorry, G&G:

O HAI, U C: On the briefing for FIELD OF DESTRUCTION- Ok, we're sending you to escort these ships to a rendezvous point. We put the rendezvous point in an asteroid field so the Shivans wouldn't find it. By the way, the Shivans are using this asteroid field as a staging point, so watch out. :banghead: If there's something I missed in that briefing, someone tell me; otherwise, I'm gonna try and find a teetotal commander.
Actually, I misunderstood this briefing. Problem between keyboard and chair, folks!

GTI: As opposed to the massive anti-Shivan conflicts of the main campaigns, Silent Threat: Reborn is more of a CIA story. As a result, it doesn't have the same epic Shivan-Smashing save-mankind feel of other campaigns... it's less about stopping the terrifying, unstoppable Shivan armada  :sigh: and more about unraveling a conspiracy. Although you do get to have some good fights with the genocidal aliens, and there's no shortage of epic FreeSpace battles.

DEJA VU: Also, the plot is reused from the original ST, which can trigger some spoilers if you've already beaten ST. Don't let this ruin it though, as there are plenty of original moments, including the ending.



GAMEPLAY: Credit here goes to G&G, again.

PROS of the gameplay!

IMPROVEMENTIZATION:  :P Again, taking the original and making it better. I'll give you a taste of a couple missions here.

SILENCE ALL VOICES: As I took off from the Krios, I knew this was gonna be good. A much bigger battle than the original mission, big enough to seem serious, with very clear directives that allow you to eliminate ALL the witnesses the first time, ruling out the need for a massacre on the next mission. Also, the pesky bug in the original where you had to sit around for several minutes after the fight, and then jump out in a 15-second window? Fixed. :sigh: You can leave as soon as the battle's over.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: A convoy mission... where the convoy can actually protect itself! What is HLP coming to?  :wakka:

GHOSTS: Awesome. VERY challenging early on, as this time around the Basilisks can and will shred the escape pods you're trying to escort. Also, the tension at the end was perfection!

CLOAK AND DAGGER: The original was a good idea that was poorly put together. This version is quite impressive, with multiple objectives to rush between- protecting the escape pods from the station, protecting the GTC Leto, and keeping the pirates away from the cargo. The "which frieghters are pirates" part makes a lot more sense this time around, and it doesn't pull you out of the fighter for nearly as long. Oh, and 3573R 5GG!  :lol:

HE WHO RIDES THE TIGER: Without giving too much away about this bloodcurdling mission; not only is it innovative, it escalates rapidly from a simple escort job to a full-blown destroyer duel. Easily up there with Forced Entry and Bearbaiting as my favorite non-climax missions. One of those “I can't do everything at once!” missions.

THE WAIT: An impressive endurance run, with a big payoff at the end. Due the the length, you want a ship with a tough hull. Surprisingly hard. And the waiting actually gives the mission some atmosphere!  :nervous:

HELLFIRE: Once the icon of lazy FREDing, this mission has been remade into a quite challenging multi-cruiser assault. One of the few missions where the Zeus can be put to good use.  :nod:

THE LAST HURRAH: Very creative use of EMP :P Epic assault mission against multiple cruisers and the Shivan's backup flagship, the SD Archon. Requires rapid changes of strategy as the situation develops- you have to combat reinforcements, prioritize targets (what does the EMP wear off next?) and be a good shot without aim assist (or just shoot at the cruisers like I did) Incidentally, Archon was my callsign even before I played this campaign :P

FORCED HAND: Awesome capture mission. You have to capture a...
Spoiler:
ORION?!?! :eek2:
I recommend using the Athena.

SECRETS REBORN: Good Title. Really explains a lot of plot details that got left out in ST. An intense assault mission on the GTI Jotunheim, especially if you're like me and you wanna smash all the freighters and science cruisers to get bonus objectives. And...
Spoiler:
THE HADES IS SCARY THIS TIME! IT ACTUALLY SMASHES STUFF! :shaking:

BLOOD OF THE INNOCENTS: Wow. Just... Wow. What a defense mission. Really had me trying to be everywhere at once. Creative use of a user-made ship, the PVI Karnak (so the Vasudans DO have installations!) And...
Spoiler:
the sneak attack by the one Zeus triggered one of my biggest shock moments in game history. “Take THAT, Medusa bomber! Say what, comma- wha-WHAT! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!! WHAT IS THIS, ACE COMBAT!!!” 
:jaw:
VERY impressive, G&G.

ABANDON HOPE: Fiendishly intense Redux of “A MONSTER IN THE MIST.” Adds a lot to “H4D35 15 N00B N0 M0R3”. Getting all the objectives is not easy, neither is watching the ingenious FREDing at the end as the
Spoiler:
Hope rams the Hades :(

LAST STAND: What Secrets Revealed should have been. Fixes the single most massive, disastrous, ruining failure of the original Silent Threat... the last mission. For those who haven't played it, in the original final mission, you went up against the Hades with a limited amount of wingmen and no capships to speak off. The Hades sits in one place spitting infinite Lokis at you. Your wingmen all die long before the Hades takes heavy damage, forcing you to hide in one of the superdestroyer's many nooks and crannies and slowly pound it to death with your primaries. In my case it took an hour and a half.
 The Reborn version is much more reasonable-lengthed (still a long mission, but not stupid long); and it requires a lot of strategy to win- basically, you have enough reinforcements to win the mission reasonably, but you gotta deploy em right- and you gotta protect that backup.
Spoiler:
also answers a question everyone asked about the original: if this battle with the Hades is so critical, WHY NO WARSHIPS? Answer: WARSHIPS. WHY HADES NO JUMP OUT? Answer: HADES IS TRYING.
. You need to be good to win this one, but there are a couple different strategies, including flying a heavy assault fighter, an interceptor, or a bomber. I recommend flying bomber, since you gotta
Spoiler:
disarm some beamz
, and because otherwise the mission takes a little too long if the AI does the bombing. A high-skill battle requiring rapid warships disarming, interception, dogfighting, bombing, escort... everything. You need to use your wingmen well. Epic mission overall.   :yes2::yes:

NEW STUFF: ST:R give the player access to the new tech developed in ST- The Loki fighter and Zeus bomber, the Leech Cannon and S-Breaker, the Cluster Bomb and EMP Missile. There's also a new enemy: the infamous SB Seraphim bomber (which ST:R makes a decent plot point out of). It also introduces a few non-playable user-made ships and weapons not found in the retail ST: The Syrkr Bomb, which is basically the Cyclops; the Imhotep, a Vasudan counterpart to the Faustus; The Polaris, a system of dockable struts to make drydocks and such out of; the Karnak, a huge, well-defended Vasudan installation, and an alternate Hades model with five beam cannons, multiple engines, and better point-defense.

OK, I have a few minor CONS to point out.

WAIT! WAIT!: Waiting can be a boring. :sigh: This is one of the few missions where I ended up using Time Compression, especially since I had play it three times. Somewhat irritating, but the end of the mission payed off.

OLD, NO(T MANY) BEAMZ: Since this is an FS1- style campaign, beam lunatics will be a little disappointed.  :beamz: Thankfully the Hades has a few of em to keep you happy.

NEW GEAR LETDOWNS: This is something that G&G were more or less stuck with, not so much their fault as that of the original designers. Much of the Silent Threat gear is somewhat disappointing. The leech cannon, with no effect on the target other than energy drain, is pretty much pointless. The Cluster Bomb, like all cluster weapons, is hard to use, and this one in particular is generally ineffective. The EMP Missile actually didn't work in the original ST; thanks to FSPort it does now, but it's still a rarely-useful. The Loki is fun while it has stealth, but once sensors are developed that defeat the stealth feature it's a pretty lame fighter. The Zeus is a little controversial: it can dogfight AND bomb, but it's not great at either. And the Serkr is not available to the player. The one bit of tech I did find useful was the S-Breaker, which combined with the Prometheus makes for a pretty good dogfighting combo. Even the S-Breaker is pretty specialized. Generally speaking, the Silent Threat gear was either very special-use (fitting the Secret Agent mood of the story), ineffective (fitting the general sloppiness of the original expansion pack), or both, and unfortunately the FSPort team couldn't do much to fix that. At least they let you have stealth Loki's for a few more missions, and they FREDed some tolerably good missions for the Zeus (which can also be done in a Hercules or Athena if you really hate that bomber).

WEIRD LOUDOUTS: Just pointing out that the default loadouts tend to be a little weird. EMP missiles for Exodus? Lokis for The Return to Ross 128? A ZEUS of all things for Last Stand? :confused: Anyway, odd, but easily remedied.

OK, that brings us to...

AESTHETICS

PROS of the Aesthetics:

90% RETAIL: Mostly uses standard ships, backgrounds, et cetera. Retail Quality ain't bad (if you discount the original ST, of course).

NEW SHIPS: As far as appearance, nothing radically new, but that's probably what the dev team wanted. Can't complain about the look of the ships. Oh, and I did think the Karnak was pretty kool.  :cool:

VOICE ACTING: Fully voice acted- personas and everything. Not bad acting, either- quite professional, especially the gruff “Veteran” wingman (The one that plays Zeta 1 on Mission 15). :yes: Admiral Marcus Glaive is also well-acted, with a dark voice and a perfect calm. The InsaneBaron Awesome VA award for ST:R goes to the silvery-tongued Andreas Rybak, as heard on mission 15 (I think the VA was Peter Sandon, somebody beam me if I'm wrong). :beamz:

COOL MUSIC: In keeping with FSPort's motto (We don't make things, we make them Better!) and ST:R's “improvement-on-retail” nature, G&G used Daniel Wentz's remixes of the FreeSpace 1 soundtrack as music for ST:R. The remixes are great, especially the ones of “Spook” and “March”, the later of which started me off perfectly on mission one and had me pumped and ready for the whole campaign  :yes:

CONS of the Aesthetics:

VA SLIP-UPS: Just a few persona lines came out wrong, like the death line for the young female pilot. Only a few though.



That's about the only CON I can think of! :eek: Unless you count the fact that it uses mostly retail stuff, which is, of course, necessary. Basically, Aesthetics were retail-quality, with some Improvementization in a few areas like music (I'm gonna patent that word, unless Goober thought of it before me).  :P

Which brings us to...
TECHNICAL STUFF

Rather than looking at Pros-Cons, I'll just say that ST:R is technically solid, well-tested, has no major bugs, and only one part that lagged my machine
Spoiler:
the collision between the Hope and the Hades on Abandon Hope

AND NOW...

Silent Threat: Reborn is definitely an important campaign that everyone should play at some time or another, especially new members. It takes a very important bit of FreeSpace History, essential for anyone who wants to make a user-made campaign, and puts it in a form that's worth playing for its own sake. No one is forced to slog through 11 :blah: missions and then rubber-band their trigger to kill the Hades. Goober5000, Galemp, and the FSPort team certainly lived up to their motto.

Admittedly, ST:R is not the most original plot-wise, as it follows the retail methods of telling an existing story. If you want someone with a completely new story, look for Samuel Bei in my last review, or Aubrey Mackie in my next. But even if you've already played Silent Threat, the Reborn version is definitely worth a try- both to enjoy new material and to marvel at the improvement.

All in all, ST:R isn't anything radical, but it is an enjoyable campaign that succeeds admirably at its stated objective: bring Silent Threat to the same level of quality as the main FreeSpace campaigns.

FINAL SCORE!!!

PLOT: 82% :yes:
Smaller-scale than the main campaigns, but enjoyable in its own right.

GAMEPLAY: 88% :yes:
Pushes the envelope of FS1 mission design.

AESTHETICS: 88% :yes:
Essentially retail-quality, with bonus points for the music.

TECHNICAL STUFF: 100% :yes:
Solid.

OVERALL: 89%
An excellent campaign! Highly recommended :yes2::yes:

(A little context: 85% is “retail quality”. That means that the main FS1 and FS2 campaigns, with MediaVPs, would get 85s in everything but Technical Stuff, where they get 100s. In Plot, Gameplay, Aesthetics, and Overall, anything above 85% means an improvement on retail.)

Hope this helped! I believe that reviews need to be reviewed, so I'd love to see some player's comments on whether or not this was helpful, any developer replies to my comments, or general questions. :cool:

The second part of this review, covering OPERATION TEMPLAR, is under construction and will be completed shortly. I'll post it here as soon as it's ready.

Coming soon: I'll be reviewing Derelict next. After that, POSSIBLY Vassago's Dirge, although it's a hard campaign to cover with my reviewing style. I'm currently working on Warzone, so that's next in line. After that, probably either Windmills of Blue Planet: War in Heaven!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:26:44 am by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Goober5000

  • HLP Loremaster
  • Administrator
  • 214
    • Goober5000 Productions
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Second, hopefully my reviews will be helpful to the campaign makers themselves, by way of feedback, encouragement, and a bit of constructive criticism.

Most definitely. :)  Thanks for the awesome, and detailed, review!  I'll add a few comments.

1) It's really interesting to read a review from someone who played ST before ST:R.  That's where Galemp and I started from, obviously, and while we designed the campaign to be playable without knowing anything about the original, we added some interesting bits to either exceed or subvert expectations from anyone who may have expected a straight-up polishing rather than a remake.  (Given your comments about how the plot, characters, story, and scary moments are improved, I'm surprised you gave the PLOT category the lowest score at 82%, which by your standards is worse than retail's 85%. :p)

2) A lot of credit goes to the voice acting team for some stand-out voice acting, particularly the end of mission 3 (where, as you noticed, I wanted to provide a lot of tension) and the three places Andres Rybak makes an appearance (Peter Sandon, as you noticed... did you just check the voice acting credits, or did you recognize him from somewhere?).  I spent a lot of time and did a lot of legwork trying to find suitable voices for the characters.

3) You're right that ST:R emphasizes the intelligence story more than the Shivan story.  While I think that's okay -- particularly because FS1 and FS2 were already outstanding stories about the Shivans, and ST:R is really about the GTI -- part of me wishes we could have done more in the anti-Shivan arc.  The invasion of Ross 128 takes very little time in the campaign, even though it's a major milestone in FS history.  We don't use the Seraphim to its full potential (though we provide an explanation for this).  And nowhere in the campaign do we have a pure heavy assault bombing mission, whereas the Shivan arc would have been a good place to put one.  (Originally, The Last Hurrah was pure heavy-assault, and it still kind of is, but after we added the EMP thing it prevented you from using bombs for a substantial part of the mission.  Similarly, Last Stand includes a lot of dogfighting and defending your own ships.)  On the other hand, we had to stop somewhere, or else the campaign would never have been released. :p

4) Field of Destruction is probably the weakest of the ST:R missions.  We kept it in because it was mildly different and interesting, it wasn't that hard to polish up, and we didn't feel like jettisoning a perfectly playable mission that, while it had no major advantages, had no major disadvantages either.  A couple of minor advantages were that it provided an opportunity to introduce the Seraphim, it gave you a very GTI-like task to do at a time in the campaign when you were still part of the GTI proper, and it had just a little bit of tie-in with the FS2 backstory.  As for going into the Shivan staging area to avoid the Shivans, note that the briefing says "to avoid detection", not "to avoid the Shivans". ;)

5) Some of the weird loadouts were to get people to consider using ships or weapons they may not have considered.  The Loki in Return to Ross 128 is because that's your one opportunity to fly it in a true stealth role.  As for the Zeus in Last Stand, I knew that people would try both a fighter and bomber approach to the mission, so I balanced it for the Zeus, flying some of both.

6) As a small nitpick, ST:R was designed for retail FS2, but optimized for FSO.  You can play ST:R on a bog-standard retail installation if you really want.  And you have three choices of music: FS2 soundtracks, original FS1 soundtracks, and remixed FS1 soundtracks.

Looking forward to your next review!

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Thanks for replying! :cool:

1) It's really interesting to read a review from someone who played ST before ST:R.  That's where Galemp and I started from, obviously, and while we designed the campaign to be playable without knowing anything about the original, we added some interesting bits to either exceed or subvert expectations from anyone who may have expected a straight-up polishing rather than a remake.  (Given your comments about how the plot, characters, story, and scary moments are improved, I'm surprised you gave the PLOT category the lowest score at 82%, which by your standards is worse than retail's 85%. :p)

I played all three canon campaigns (FS1, ST, and FS2) on absolute retail setting before I had joined HLP. I knew about the community, and I made use of the wiki, but I didn't want to get involved in the fan-made projects until I had done everything the "Official" way. I wouldn't recommend that approach to everyone, but it worked for me. :) And I agree- for the most part, having played ST didn't really ruin ST:R, since there was so much new material. Re-arranging the missions helped, since I couldn't be sure what to expect.

Oh, and don't take the 82% too hard  :p My final scores are a little harsh, partially to counteract my bias towards positive reviews (since I mainly play campaigns that I've heard are good, naturally I write more positive reviews than negative ones). I agonized for a while about scoring ST:R's plot, but there were two reasons for rating it lower than retail, one of which was the fact that the story was based on an existing campaign. Anyway, that 82 is probably best interpreted as "almost retail-quality" or "quite good". Nothing to sneeze at, certainly.

Quote
2) A lot of credit goes to the voice acting team for some stand-out voice acting, particularly the end of mission 3 (where, as you noticed, I wanted to provide a lot of tension) and the three places Andres Rybak makes an appearance (Peter Sandon, as you noticed... did you just check the voice acting credits, or did you recognize him from somewhere?).  I spent a lot of time and did a lot of legwork trying to find suitable voices for the characters.

I was certainly impressed with the Voice Acting- very professional, like Age of Aquarius (much better than Derelict). For Peter Sandon, I checked the credits on the Wiki article, which listed Sandon as "Jotunheim Commander". Having read through Phoenix, I had (correctly, I assume) identified the Jotunheim guy as Rybak during my playthrough.

Quote
3) You're right that ST:R emphasizes the intelligence story more than the Shivan story.  While I think that's okay -- particularly because FS1 and FS2 were already outstanding stories about the Shivans, and ST:R is really about the GTI -- part of me wishes we could have done more in the anti-Shivan arc.  The invasion of Ross 128 takes very little time in the campaign, even though it's a major milestone in FS history.  We don't use the Seraphim to its full potential (though we provide an explanation for this).  And nowhere in the campaign do we have a pure heavy assault bombing mission, whereas the Shivan arc would have been a good place to put one.  (Originally, The Last Hurrah was pure heavy-assault, and it still kind of is, but after we added the EMP thing it prevented you from using bombs for a substantial part of the mission.  Similarly, Last Stand includes a lot of dogfighting and defending your own ships.)  On the other hand, we had to stop somewhere, or else the campaign would never have been released. :p

That was the other reason for the 82%. To be fair, ST:R made the Shivans more significant than ST did, and it made the GTI rebels a much more credible threat, but not even the GTI rebellion could match the terror of the Shivans at their height of power. At the end of the day, I realize this wasn't so much a flaw in the campaign as a necessary result of the premise.

Quote
4) Field of Destruction is probably the weakest of the ST:R missions.  We kept it in because it was mildly different and interesting, it wasn't that hard to polish up, and we didn't feel like jettisoning a perfectly playable mission that, while it had no major advantages, had no major disadvantages either.  A couple of minor advantages were that it provided an opportunity to introduce the Seraphim, it gave you a very GTI-like task to do at a time in the campaign when you were still part of the GTI proper, and it had just a little bit of tie-in with the FS2 backstory.  As for going into the Shivan staging area to avoid the Shivans, note that the briefing says "to avoid detection", not "to avoid the Shivans". ;)
Wait... :wtf:
Wait...
oh...
OH... :eek2:
HEADDESK

Quote
5) Some of the weird loadouts were to get people to consider using ships or weapons they may not have considered.  The Loki in Return to Ross 128 is because that's your one opportunity to fly it in a true stealth role.  As for the Zeus in Last Stand, I knew that people would try both a fighter and bomber approach to the mission, so I balanced it for the Zeus, flying some of both.
That makes sense. I actually did end up flying the Loki on RtR128, but it took me a couple tries, and I thought afterwards that, given how much time I spent sitting too close to a Leviathan, I would have been better off in a Herc. NOW what I realize is that I kinda ruined the stealth thing by shooting at the Leviathans I was trying to scan.  :lol:

Quote
6) As a small nitpick, ST:R was designed for retail FS2, but optimized for FSO.  You can play ST:R on a bog-standard retail installation if you really want.  And you have three choices of music: FS2 soundtracks, original FS1 soundtracks, and remixed FS1 soundtracks.
I knew ST:R worked on retail, but I wasn't thinking about that while writing the review. Anyway, I'm glad I had the Remixes- they fit the campaign perfectly.

Anyway, Goober, I'm glad you liked this, and I'll have the second part (Operation Templar) ready soon!
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

  • 211
  • The Cthulhu programmer himself!
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
rouge
*wince*

Other than that, this review is making me want to finally try ST:R after having installed it no fewer than... four times. Yeah, I really need to actually play it this time...
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline Goober5000

  • HLP Loremaster
  • Administrator
  • 214
    • Goober5000 Productions
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Thanks for replying! :cool:
You're welcome! :cool:

Quote
I was certainly impressed with the Voice Acting- very professional, like Age of Aquarius (much better than Derelict). For Peter Sandon, I checked the credits on the Wiki article, which listed Sandon as "Jotunheim Commander". Having read through Phoenix, I had (correctly, I assume) identified the Jotunheim guy as Rybak during my playthrough.
Indeed.  Age of Aquarius actually obtained some of their voice acting contacts through me.  In fact, I think Admiral Bei (the father) is voiced by the same actor that voiced Admiral Glaive.

And yes, good deduction that Jotunheim Commander = Andres Rybak. :D

Quote
That was the other reason for the 82%. To be fair, ST:R made the Shivans more significant than ST did, and it made the GTI rebels a much more credible threat, but not even the GTI rebellion could match the terror of the Shivans at their height of power. At the end of the day, I realize this wasn't so much a flaw in the campaign as a necessary result of the premise.
Meh.  I think the constraints on the premise actually helped fuel our creativity.  I know the restriction to work in retail fueled mine.  (And I had to use some clever sexping to get the "He Who Rides the Tiger" sexp count to fit within the retail limit.)  But truthfully, the numbers don't mean much... the content and thoroughness of your review are by far the more valuable. :yes:

 

Offline Arpit

  • 27
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Nice review.  :yes:
But you forgot about Betrayed.  :(

I was awestruck by voice acting in ST:R, especially on hearing these lines in Betrayed,

"Fight for your lives pilot, save those pods. Somebody find an open channel."

Good campagin, overall.  :yes:

But it's one of the hardest too on Insane. (Betrayed was very hard. In fact I was able to protect all 8 escape pods on Insane only because my pilot got file corrupt and I had to reset red alert data according to niffiwan's reply to Deepstar on some thread.)
Also Lokis with Prometheus A (renamed Prometheus S) were the biggest threat for me and my wingmen in any mission.

It's the third hardest campaign I have ever played on Insane right behind both the acts of Ancient-Shivan War(ASW).
(Perhaps I don't play alot of campaigns)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 04:24:25 pm by Arpit »

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Indeed.  Age of Aquarius actually obtained some of their voice acting contacts through me.  In fact, I think Admiral Bei (the father) is voiced by the same actor that voiced Admiral Glaive.

And yes, good deduction that Jotunheim Commander = Andres Rybak. :D
Whoa... you're right, Admiral Bei DOES sound like Admiral Glaive!

Quote
Meh.  I think the constraints on the premise actually helped fuel our creativity.  I know the restriction to work in retail fueled mine.  (And I had to use some clever sexping to get the "He Who Rides the Tiger" sexp count to fit within the retail limit.)  But truthfully, the numbers don't mean much... the content and thoroughness of your review are by far the more valuable. :yes:
To tell the truth, the percentage scores aren't really that relevant unless your trying to say "did InsaneBaron like my campaign better than so-and-so's campaign?" Like I said, the percentages I give are a little harsh. If you just want to know if I liked a campaign or not, forget the percents and check the pros/cons + general assessment ("AND NOW..."). And I definitely did like ST:R :)
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Nice review.  :yes:
But you forgot about Betrayed.  :(

I was awestruck by voice acting in ST:R, especially on hearing these lines in Betrayed,

"Fight for your lives pilot, save those pods. Somebody find an open channel."

Good campagin, overall.  :yes:

But it's one of the hardest too on Insane. (Betrayed was very hard. In fact I was able to protect all 8 escape pods on Insane only because my pilot got file corrupt and I had to reset red alert data according to niffiwan's reply to Deepstar on some thread.)
Also Lokis with Prometheus A (renamed Prometheus S) were the biggest for me and my wingmen in any mission.

It's the third hardest campaign I have ever played on Insane right behind both the acts of Ancient-Shivan War(ASW).
(Perhaps I don't play alot of campaigns)

That WAS a good line!
Betrayed drove me crazy (in a good way) because I'm a hardcore maximalist and I kept trying to save all the pods. Eventually I gave up, saved five of them, and hit accept. How did you save all eight??
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
rouge
*wince*

Other than that, this review is making me want to finally try ST:R after having installed it no fewer than... four times. Yeah, I really need to actually play it this time...
Spelling error fixed.

You should definitely try it!
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Lorric

  • 212
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
At some point I intend to read this review properly. But for now...

"Fight for your lives pilot, save those pods. Somebody find an open channel."

That's for sure my favourite line, it sent a thrill through me the first time I heard it.

 

Offline Arpit

  • 27
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
That WAS a good line!
Betrayed drove me crazy (in a good way) because I'm a hardcore maximalist and I kept trying to save all the pods. Eventually I gave up, saved five of them, and hit accept. How did you save all eight??

Believe me, it's impossible. I had reset my pilot data(I told you my pilot file became corrupt.), so dead wingmen became alive and all ship types were reset(i.e. I had some wingmen flying Ulysses which wasn't available in previous mission)

I was playing with 3.7.0 RC1 which hadn't fixed the red-alert bug.(it was fixed in RC2) In order to avoid that bug one must play the whole campaign in one stretch. Since I failed 15 times(15 times in Insane? Can you believe it?  :D) I quit.  Thus my pilot file got corrupt.

BTW on which level were you playing?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 10:25:00 am by Arpit »

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
That WAS a good line!
Betrayed drove me crazy (in a good way) because I'm a hardcore maximalist and I kept trying to save all the pods. Eventually I gave up, saved five of them, and hit accept. How did you save all eight??

Believe me, it's impossible. I had reset my pilot data(I told you my pilot file became corrupt.), so dead wingmen became alive and all ship types were reset(i.e. I had some wingmen flying Ulysses which wasn't available in previous mission)

I was playing with 3.7.0 RC1 which hadn't fixed the red-alert bug.(it was fixed in RC2) In order to avoid that bug one must play the whole campaign in one stretch. Since I failed 15 times(15 times in Insane? Can you believe it?  :D) I quit.  Thus my pilot file got corrupt.

BTW on which level were you playing?

I played on easy. That's normally what I do if I'm new to the campaign.
And now I don't feel so bad about only saving five.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Arpit

  • 27
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Yes you are playing quite good.  :nod:

Normally I can save 5 escape pods on Medium and 6 on Very Easy-Easy.

EDIT: Restarted ST:R today. Was able to save 6 escape pods on Insane in 5 tries. Sureshot increase in my skills since last gameplay.
         Sorry, InsaneBaron :p
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 01:19:13 pm by Arpit »

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Yes you are playing quite good.  :nod:

Normally I can save 5 escape pods on Medium and 6 on Very Easy-Easy.

EDIT: Restarted ST:R today. Was able to save 6 escape pods on Insane in 5 tries. Sureshot increase in my skills since last gameplay.
         Sorry, InsaneBaron :p

Wild Idea, but I wonder if shooting EMP at the cruisers would help? Disrupt their fire for a bit, distract them from the pods?
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Arpit

  • 27
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Yes you are playing quite good.  :nod:

Normally I can save 5 escape pods on Medium and 6 on Very Easy-Easy.

EDIT: Restarted ST:R today. Was able to save 6 escape pods on Insane in 5 tries. Sureshot increase in my skills since last gameplay.
         Sorry, InsaneBaron :p

Wild Idea, but I wonder if shooting EMP at the cruisers would help? Disrupt their fire for a bit, distract them from the pods?

The two cruisers are a threat but the 4 herc's (Scald wing) that come are the BIGGEST threat. Also they carry MX-50's. So that won't make a difference.

BTW I wanted to ask the ST:R team that in the mission Ghosts, Iota 1 says:

Iota and Kappa wings returning to base. The operation was a complete sucess.

What was the 'operation'? :confused:
Please spoiler and give the answer. :)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 11:51:24 am by Arpit »

 

Offline Goober5000

  • HLP Loremaster
  • Administrator
  • 214
    • Goober5000 Productions
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
BTW I wanted to ask the ST:R that in the mission Ghosts, Iota 1 says:

Iota and Kappa wings returning to base. The operation was a complete sucess.

What was the 'operation'? :confused:
Please spoiler and give the answer. :)

Ah, now that's a pretty interesting message, isn't it? ;)  I don't think very many people, if any, have figured that out.

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

  • Captain Obvious
  • 212
  • Frenchie McFrenchface
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Spoiler:
In the briefing you learn the Vasudan convoy you were escorting in the previous mission got destroyed. They were so sure Shivans wouldn't get through. Who else could have been interested in their top-secret research stuff ? And already had a science cruiser spying on them ?
People are stupid, therefore anything popular is at best suspicious.

Homeworld: Blue Planet     -     Help us help you     -     FSO Installer     -     BP extras portal     -     My legacy

666maslo666: Releasing a finished product is not a good thing! It is a modern fad.

SpardaSon21: it seems like you exist in a permanent state of half-joking misanthropy

Axem: when you put it like that, i sound like an insane person

bigchunk1: it's not retarded it's american!
bigchunk1: ...

batwota: steele's maneuvering for the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: you mispelled grâce
Awaesaar: grace
batwota: oh right :P
Darius: ah!
Darius: yes, i like that
MatthTheGeek: the way you just spelled it it means fat
Awaesaar: +accent I forgot how to keyboard
MatthTheGeek: or grease
Darius: the killing fat!
Axem: jabba does the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: XD
Axem: bring me solo and a cookie

 

Offline Arpit

  • 27
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Spoiler:
Wait. What?  :wtf:

The debriefing said that the shivans launched a savage attack. However, YOU ARE RIGHT MATTH, it could have been the GTI. They wanted to defeat the Vasudans. But still I would like to ask what happened to the vasudan asteroid base there. Was that destroyed too ? And, oh, thanks for answering the question. :)

 

 

Offline Goober5000

  • HLP Loremaster
  • Administrator
  • 214
    • Goober5000 Productions
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
The debriefing is given from the POV of the squadron leader, not the POV of an omniscient narrator.

Spoiler:
What asteroid base where?  There's no asteroid base in the convoy mission.

 

Offline Arpit

  • 27
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: Silent Threat: Reborn (for new guys and dev team)
Spoiler:
What asteroid base where?  There's no asteroid base in the convoy mission.
Spoiler:
I already agreed on the GTI attack for some reason.  ;)
And as for the asteroid base, THERE IS AN ASTEROID BASE CALLED PVI Cheops. It's location in FRED seems to be 0,0,-10000.
OMG, don't say that it had no involvement in story.  :confused: