Finished WiH today. Took me 3 days. So here's my honest review (Spoilers may be included, read at your own risk)
My pc didn't had too much trouble with the visual goodies so yeah, WiH is a sight to behold. You wouldn't guess the game is 10+ years old if you play WiH.
The writing was really well done, Battuta showed his skills there. At times though, a bit too much.
long logs and briefings makes WiH feel more like a novel then a game at times. I mean, the log entry inbetween the mission
where you lure the Carthage and then scramble to follow it
was a bit of a flowbreaker.
The characters are realistically written, felt kinda Battlestar galactica like in atmosphere. Though I personally couldn't really care too much about them, they are realistic but not really 'likeable'. But hey, perhaps thats just me. I just personally start to lose interest rather fast when a lot of time is devoted to how persons feel and the state of their emotional health etc. (And really, I just hope
simms dies for good so the lesbian subtones will stop...
Best character of the game is Seele. Kicking ass in the name of the GTVA, I salute you dear sir o7
In terms of Fredding the missions are all solid and well done ('cept for the last mission, which was impossible to complete without cheating. Even when I turned invincible and fully focused on taking out beam cannons, the Katana nearly died), the checkpoint system works beautifully. The skip dialouge parts didn't seemed to do much for me though.
When I think back, a few missions really spring to mind:
the one with the dialouge tree (I felt kinda quilty going through that one only once, knowing how much effort it takes to fred that one) the one with the ejected gaian dude/chick/hostage situation, the missions where you face several pilots with nicknames and the cease fire over the vasudan ship (Which was quite a masterpiece of writing I might add, I too didn't liked shooting anyone in that mission.)
The only rotten apple was the last mission.
Gameplay wise though, I was less enthusiastic about WiH. I really felt that so much time was spend on military tactics, military language and 'realistic' combat that the WiH team forgot that this is... a game? Several times in Act 1 I felt like I was just a useless presence on a field of cool looking battleships doing their thing without me being able to influence anything. "Why bother going after that fighter? It won't be a threat to that capship with its endless flak doom cannons anyway. Oh hey, bombers! Something relevant to kill!". I felt I was just there to witness a story being told. The GTVA is kicking ass (Hell yeah!) and the buntu's are a bunch of stumbling fools in comparison. And you are just there... looking at it happen. The first few missions felt kinda disjointed too (little relevance to each other) Act 2 was better in this regard, on occasion I actually had to do things (though it was often fine to let your team mates do the killing too) and it finally felt like I had to 'play' the game when the Uriel gunship became available. The missions started becoming 'chained together' too, instead of the "Escort this, Go here, Do this" of act 1.
Perhaps I was expecting too much Vassago Dirge level of 'holy **** wow' moments. I feel like I fell victim to 'overhype' for this campaign
I was honestly disappointed with the player selectable weapons (and how little info was being provided about what they do in the weapon loadout). A high RoF dakka gun, a slow RoF energy gun, an anti subsystem primary for the first part of the game. Along with the default dumbfire, aspect and swarm missiles. To be honest, I expected some more creativity there. I hardly felt it mattered what weapons I brought with me. (An other case of too much focus on awesome capship weaponry?) I actually felt a feeling of joy when I got to fly the GTVA stuff in that one mission.
The music was a bit of a hit or miss at times. Like, I was completely getting pumped up when the track in the first mission started playing... but then after those first few fighters it just promptly ceased... That was such a turn off
An other case was the music used when you fly
over the moonbase.
It felt like victory music but... all you did was fly and talk. Yet in several cutscenes and other cases the usage of music was spot on and plain epic.
In conclusion: WiH is a really good, polished campaign, that put its focus a tad too much on military tactics and capital ships (and imho, a bit too much on the emotions of the characters) and seems to forget at times at it is a game instead of a semi-interactive novel.
Here's hoping that for Act 3 and 4 the WiH team will focus some more on the gameplay and less on trival things like the distance of the earth from the moon and the position of the sun
Also, as im typing this, I see Droid803 posted a review too and I'm glad to see he agrees with me on what a badass Seele is and how satisfying it was to see him kick UEF ass