AV8R says - "Hello there ladies and gentlemen!"
As a new poster here, hello to all! And as far as this whole Freespace project is concerned, all I can say is... wow.
I've been such a fan of the original Freespace for so many years that I literally can't remember exactly when it was I bought the original retail CD (I'm thinking it was likely back in '98 when I got so tired of playing Descent 1 & 2 over and over again that I simply had to find another Descent fix before Descent 3 came out or I went crazy - which ever came first). So I took my much-lighter-self-at-the-time-than-now and headed to my local video game store and stumbled upon Descent:Freespace there on the shelf. Its stark-white, minimalist box and imposing-looking capital ship partly emblazoned on the box caught my eye and at first I thought, "How is a Pyro-GX gonna take on that
thing?".... I obviously didn't have a clue how Freespace differed from the Descent universe - and I was about to get schooled.
When I finally got it home, installed it and played it for the first time, then I knew. This was nothing like Descent. There were no robots, no power-ups, no keys to find, no reactors to blow up (save the Lucifer's); this wasn't Descent at all - it was Freespace. This was freedom - freedom from the oppressive, claustrophic mines on the planets below and their destructive denizen. This was drifting, no, dancing
through the stars. You weren't trapped in the lava-filled mines of Descent, you were soaring through the heavens in a somewhat fragile, yet powerful ship (well, depending on the ship you chose and the weapons it would carry for that mission). And beyond Descent's plot of cleaning out mines for an unappreciative and ego-centric leader of a faceless corporation, in Freespace you are a faceless, yet pivotal cog in a wheel of a galactic struggle for the very survival of mankind - a story told in such an epic Hollywood-prodcution-type-struggle-for-the-fate-of-humanity way that I literally stayed up all night, thoroughly engrossed in the plot, to finish the game (fortunately it was a Friday night - unfortuantely it shows what kind of social life I had back in '98). In fact, to this day it's still as exhilirating to destroy the Lucifer as it was back in the day - even while my patient wife and my honey-do list continue to languish as long as this game exists.... (hey, she knew I was addicted before the "I do's" so don't feel sorry).
I know this is going to seem strange, but it took over 12 years of playing Freespace before I finally wanted to experience what Freespace 2 was all about (OK, so maybe I'm a late bloomer). So, after buying FS2 from GOG (I'm so happy they're around) and spending a weekend being a part of the final chapter of the epic struggle for the fate of humanity done to near-perfection once again, I said to myself, "Self, why in the world did you wait so long to be a part of this incredible piece of (imagined) history?" Never again will I turn my nose up to the possibility that a sequel can be a good thing (but, honestly, it's so hard after seeing so many bad sequels at the movies - but hey, this isn't Hollywood.... maybe that's a good thing?).
"So, what's next?" I thought. At the end of this epic story, how could it get any better from here? Silly me - the answer is simple: better graphics! It always makes the story more compelling! It worked for me with Avatar. Great visuals will suck you into the story even deeper - even if you've already seen the original numerous times. Heck, ask anyone who saw Star Wars Special Edition - it's all about better storytelling through better graphics! (George Lucas really is an evil genius).
So after downloading, installing, configuring and playing these epic stories once again with these incredible graphics improvements (or "ports" as they're called - and not in the ship dock or sweet wine sense; this "port" is a reimagining through painstaking code enhancement and image refinement) I have to say that this, by far, is the most special edition I have ever had the priviledge of experiencing.... Descent:Freespace and Freespace 2 - Special Edition. Or, better known simply as: FS2 Port.
So a hearty and sincere thank you to each and every person involved in this project - those who made spanking Shivans, blowing up pretty capital ships and saving the universe an even more fulfilling experience for the common man than it used to be (if that's even possible....).