This might be kind of disjointed and rambling, bear with me...
I was asked by a team member to post a review. Since they create such awesome work for free, words of praise are their only 'payment' really, so I think they've earned that much at least.
First, a confession: I wasn't a huge fan of AoA at first. It was great fun, don't get me wrong, but I found the parallel universe plot amusingly cheesy.
it was still very enjoyable because the campaign took itself seriously, the missions were fun to play, and the music was excellent. Since then, it's become one of my favorite campaigns, but I digress... this isn't about AoA.
First off, this is probably the most well written and well thought out campaign I've ever played. The prose added to the experience tremendously and was a joy to read. The fiction viewer pieces combined with the somber music really made me feel a sense of camaraderie with the Wargods (or foreboding in the case of red ants vs black ants). A million kudos for using actually using debriefing recommendations, btw.
I was assured that WiH would be a gritty, gruesome war story and wondered how that could be accomplished with FS's rather detached combat. Well now I know. I mean holy ****, radiation-poisoned evacuees drowning in their own vomit during EVA?
I've seen a few people comparing WiH to BSG, and I can kind of see that, but as I'm writing this I realize that what it really reminds me of is the X-Wing novels. (That's a really good thing, in case you don't know.) Laporte is one cool cat, and it was great fun to watch her struggle with reconciling Ubuntu philosophy and the reality of warfare. Of course it was also great fun to BE her and feel the highs and lows of every victory and defeat.
I know a lot of HLPers have sided with either the UEF or GTVA, but I honestly feel conflicted even after finishing the campaign. I hate Steele's underhanded plots and douchebaggery. I hate to see Laporte and Co. crushed again and again. On the other hand... I don't want to see Xinny and Zero die, they're good
guys, they went into the Lion's Den for God's sake. (Also, I'm old-school. I loved Derelict, so it was kind of bittersweet to see the 212th in one mission.) That zod rescue mission was nuts. I thought it might actually be a turning point in the war. Instead I ended up blowing away Scorpio 1 moments after chatting with him because I didn't want to die.
Okay so now let's talk gameplay. You devs are absolute maniacs. Whether you actually have or not, it certainly looks
like you've thought out every possible detail of the war. Both fluff-wise and mechanics-wise you've set a new precedent in campaign-making. I mean seriously, the other day I was idling in #bp and Battuta's casually talking about "So yeah, the Aurora sets up a strike link, then passes it on the the other fighters in the area, and THEN they call in the SSM strike," and my mind was blown. Treb strikes, maxim strikes, SSM strikes, gunship strikes, torpedo strikes, strike strikes, WTFPWN Aeolus flak... son I am impress. Oh and all the unconventional stuff was cool too. Dating Simm, frakking QTE, hostage takan, all nice changes of pace.
Running out of steam here, going to wrap up. Playing as a woman was cool; strong female characters FTW. That massive explosion sound effect is god-tier. Difficulty was just right, I usually managed to barely squeak by on my first try on Medium (except on Delenda Est >_<). One Perfect Moment was nice, especially with the sucker punch that follows. The music was spot-on. It was cool to hear some of the same tracks from BP1, helped give it a sense of continuity. Steele is a magnificent bastard. Pegasi are terrifying. I totally caught the Red Faction: Guerrilla reference.
I now can't wait to do some balls-out crazy **** with the Fedayeen. (But I don't want to destroy the GTVA ;_;)
WiH was hyped up to be something amazing and you all delivered. Keep it up!