First and foremost, congratulations to the Blue Planet team for the successful release of War in Heaven, I'm sure you all will be seeing more posts like mine in the near future though maybe not as grand as this one which is why i'm making this new thread.
Next, I must say, and i believe i speak for everyone who's played the mod thus far.... You guys have taken Blue Planet, maybe even the entire Freespace series as a whole, to soaring new heights and have once again set the bar for future mods to try to match up to. There is no doubt in my mind, if interplay/volition were to pick up the Freespace series once more to make a true sequel to Freespace 2, there is no way they will be able to ignore the Blue Planet series.
It was mentioned a many times before by others (and myself), that Age of Aquarius was indeed such a great mod but could not be considered a actual continuation of the Retails storyline (although, it was indeed a great side story), War in Heaven quickly picked up ball, grabbing the AoA storyline and then thrusting itself into the Freespace universe louder than any battlecry ever uttered in or out of actual events. With the events that are now occurring in WiH, myself and i'm sure others can now view it, maybe not as a actual Freespace 3 (that will come as a 3rd shivan incursion in my eyes), but a SOLID Freespace 2.5, a prequel to 3.
With AoA, came a believable storyline with characters that you truly became attached to. This was expected in WiH and it envelops the player with emotions that are at least 10 fold more than the AoA characters. To the writers of WiH, we all tip off our hats to you, the scripts and events that take place in WiH are nothing short of an oscar nominating script. From making detailed descriptions for all the ships, weapons and even some backstories of some of the characters to even the descriptions of the Isolation of Sol to you guys taking our emotions through the rollercoaster of quick pick-me-ups and all then having the come crashing through deep sinking feelings like those of Titanic (and even the Galatea) going down and to leave us with a cliffhanger thats, dare i say it, on a greater tier but oddly similar to "The Empire Strikes Back" is nothing short of pure genius. Being a 27 year old man playing FS since its initial release, you guys have really tapped into an emotional well that can even bring a tough guy to at least choke up to the events that happen. War is not meant to be pretty and as such, you writers have captured that essence and have projected it well. You've made both the GTVA and UEF forces to be reckoned with and left us players to believe that you cannot predict what will happen next. Just when you think things are going well, there is a "24" style twist that leaves us reeling and looking for us to extract revenge in any way you can get it. Again, hats off to you guys as your work has once again lead me through this rollercoaster of feelings and will leave me to talking about WiH for months to come.
In conjunction to the writers, the FRED'ers of WiH, hats go off to you as well. Each mission is as believable as it can be and coding and setting out each event is undoubtedly hard work that has indeed payed off. (This point is especially amplified for the cutscenes which i will explain further down.) I was one of the few insane bastards that decided to play the campaign on Insane difficulty on my first playthrough. Each mission was beautifully mastered and brought out just about everything that the new mediavps brought to the table and then some. As frustrating as it would seem to have Tev's with Balors constantly tearing right through you whenever you let something get behind you, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and i'll say this, you have NOT played WiH until you've played it on Insane difficulty. If you were lucky to walk home with even just 1 of your non plot-armor wingmen alive, you were insanely lucky... With that it added to the believability of the war. Heavy losses on both sides each mission.
The music selection this time around was nothing short of masterful choices of some of the best tracks out there and the use of each one of them just helped amplified whatever emotion you were feeling at the time. Just as you suffer your first major defeat just to hear
the main theme from District 9
was just nothing but breath taking... and on the flipside, whatever that new battle track was that was used back in the old Solaris test vid, was a perfect battle track to keep you energized for the mayhem that you're involved in at that moment.
What really took me off my feet in regards to my last 2 paragraphs, the end of Delenda Est and Sunglare left me in tears and i'm sure it will do so again if and when WiH is fully voice-acted. Just watching how that cutscene and listening to the music was too much for my emotions to handle... The way it was rendered reminded me of how i felt when I watched the Descent 3 introduction movie. That sinking feeling in your heart you feel as you see the ship slowly drifting towards is destruction... but only amplified knowing that most of the crew on the Incus is dead or dying from the radiation. it left me believing that we were going to be left watching the Incus literally reduced to a burning slab of metal in space... only to be rescued by the Fedayeen... which were not even there to save them specifically... but to save Noemi herself. Truly magnificent...
As for the choice of characters... You guys have made them into real people that you can attach to, and made them filled with emotions that we can truly feel for them, much like back in AoA. The rollercoaster that is Noemi's persona takes you along with it that at one point i was laughing as maniacally as she would have been in battle. As for the relationship between her and Lorna, that too was almost perfectly scripted.... I can only even guess what Noemi will be like at the start of WiH:p2... Each characters personalities seemed very realistic and humorous at times. I just love one line Lorna says..."Ladies, Gentleman, may i present to you the proverbial barnyard door, try not to miss it." That left me cracking up. =D
There is so much more i want to say about War in Heaven but right now I am at a loss of words. You guys have made the wait for WiH well worth it and now we eagerly await for the conclusion and maybe even a directors cut if that somehow manages to be released before. As I've told Battuta on IRC, I feel like my words would carry over to you all over vent and I hope i will be able to do that soon. Again, congratulations on a truly masterful piece of work!