Author Topic: What are you playing right now?  (Read 416894 times)

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Re: What are you playing right now?
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Did EVE Valkyrie do well after they dropped VR requirement and cut the price in half? I'd check Steam spy but the owner decided to ruin it by begging on patreon.

Wut? Steam deciding that every profile should be private by default is something that would ruin steam spy, what has Patreon got to do with this?

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
Quote
Did EVE Valkyrie do well after they dropped VR requirement and cut the price in half? I'd check Steam spy but the owner decided to ruin it by begging on patreon.

Wut? Steam deciding that every profile should be private by default is something that would ruin steam spy, what has Patreon got to do with this?

http://steamspy.com/app/538870

The guy who develops Steamspy has locked some basic functionality, like "owners", behind a patreon paywall.  You need to pay 3 USD a month for information that used to be freely available.

https://www.patreon.com/steamspy

The only thing you can see now is CCU and Twitch stats.   10K a month for a "hobby project"? GTFO **** that and **** patreon.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 03:05:30 pm by Akalabeth Angel »

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
I disagree fundamentally with the "**** patreon" stance, simply because it's enabled a lot of content creators to get compensation for their work, rather then being beholden to the whims of advertisers. There's a lot of issues with it, but it's better then being reliant on Google ads for your paycheck. It has allowed a lot of niches to thrive. Can totally see why you don't like steam spy anymore though!

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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Re: What are you playing right now?
It's also the reason we don't have a Star Wars spacesim, it would have to be midbudget and EA doesn't do midbudget.

You do realize that you're a diehard fan of a dead, niche genre right? 

That was what my consideration about budget came from.
There are plenty of software houses that do niche genres, hell, if some stupidly convoluted **** like X can sell enough to keep Egosoft afloat as long as they don't make another blunder like Rebirth you can bet a tighter single player spacesim with the Star Wars license on the same budget with good gamepad and m+k support can undoubtedly do well.
I'd probably concur if we were talking about Freespace 3 or Wing Commander VI, but it's Star Wars: the promise alone of the "blowing up Tie Fighters in an X-wing cockpit" experience will be appealing to people, trouble is that you can't make it a triple A title that needs to sell 7.000.000 copies just to get even and EA is one of those big name publishers won't publish a middle or low budget title anymore.

I mean, we have game like Legend of Grimrock, that is a grid-based real time dungeon crawler RPG, that stuff was niche even when it was cool for crying out loud! Nothing forbids EA to try a similar low or middle budget project with a Star Wars spacesim.

I disagree fundamentally with the "**** patreon" stance, simply because it's enabled a lot of content creators to get compensation for their work, rather then being beholden to the whims of advertisers. There's a lot of issues with it, but it's better then being reliant on Google ads for your paycheck. It has allowed a lot of niches to thrive. Can totally see why you don't like steam spy anymore though!
Besides, you'd be surprised how many artists survived basically by donations or hospitality from fans even in very recent times, Patreon is just a new form of it. And I'm talking big shots like Schiller for example, his "Ode to Joy" was written to thank a fan of his work that gave him hospitality during hard times.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 10:55:25 pm by Det. Bullock »
"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
I disagree fundamentally with the "**** patreon" stance, simply because it's enabled a lot of content creators to get compensation for their work, rather then being beholden to the whims of advertisers. There's a lot of issues with it, but it's better then being reliant on Google ads for your paycheck. It has allowed a lot of niches to thrive. Can totally see why you don't like steam spy anymore though!

I don't believe in subscription models with no term expiry, that's the most insidious form of payment - with sustained revenue relying on customer apathy and inaction, rather than conscious decision making.  You can rest assured that for nearly any patreon, that while 100% of patrons are paying for content- much less than 100% of patrons are actually experiencing it with any regularity and some patrons probably pay for content months after they've stopped viewing it.

Patreons with locked content also promote sunk-cost fallacy with patrons staying subscribed to continue to have access to content they've already enjoyed but cannot experience anywhere else. 

That's one reason it will be sad to see Total Biscuit go, as he's someone who has never gone into the patreon model but has instead relied on sponsors, merchandise sales, cross-promotions with websites etcetera.   He does of course have Twitch subscribers but Twitch allows purchase of subscriptions in 3 and 6 month allotments.

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
That was what my consideration about budget came from.
There are plenty of software houses that do niche genres, hell, if some stupidly convoluted **** like X can sell enough to keep Egosoft afloat as long as they don't make another blunder like Rebirth you can bet a tighter single player spacesim with the Star Wars license on the same budget with good gamepad and m+k support can undoubtedly do well.
I'd probably concur if we were talking about Freespace 3 or Wing Commander VI, but it's Star Wars: the promise alone of the "blowing up Tie Fighters in an X-wing cockpit" experience will be appealing to people, trouble is that you can't make it a triple A title that needs to sell 7.000.000 copies just to get even and EA is one of those big name publishers won't publish a middle or low budget title anymore.

I mean, we have game like Legend of Grimrock, that is a grid-based real time dungeon crawler RPG, that stuff was niche even when it was cool for crying out loud! Nothing forbids EA to try a similar low or middle budget project with a Star Wars spacesim.

I don't think the market is there for the type of game we played decades ago.  From my understanding flight sims have gone one of two ways, they've either gotten arcadey or they've got super realistic.  Way back in the day when  I was a little kid I had a blast shooting down guys in Aces over Europe and Aces of the Pacific, fast-forward to a few years ago and I couldn't even get off the ground in IL-2 Sturmovik.  And when I was off the ground, I chased a guy for half an hour and didn't down him.  You know when the game suggests you learn by attacking friendly bombers that it's not for casuals.  So is there a market for light sims? From what I heard, X-Wing Alliance sold like 143K copies in the US over the course of a year which is absolutely pitiful numbers.

The other thing about modern sci-fi flight games is that most of them are open world faff-abouts.  Driving a ship from one dock to the next, changing credit numbers into cargo numbers so you can go somewhere else and change those cargo numbers into a bigger number of credit numbers until the number in your bank account matches the number of the new gizmo/ship you want.  Rinse repeat.

So that said, any starfighter game would probably either be arcade-y, or, you flying a YT-1300 from place to place.  Not really X-Wing material.

EVE Valkyrie has bad reviews. Starlight Inception I backed and quit after 3 minutes.  Strike Suit Zero is a fun romp but arcade-y.  Maybe there are more games out there but I daresay your only hope for a single player game might be Squadron 42.  And given that their hour of gameplay looked like a walking simulator, I wouldn't cross your fingers.


But as for EA could they make an X-Wing simulator? Sure. But would they? Nope. Best you could hope for is arcade-style like what's already in Battlefront II. In fact you'd probably have the exact same mechanics, just with a star-fighter only campaign. And whether that's down to EA, or it's down to EA's contract with Disney, who knows.

 In other news though, GOG just released Star Wars pod-racer few weeks back. Let's see if it's as fun as I remember the demo being.

« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 11:54:35 pm by Akalabeth Angel »

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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Re: What are you playing right now?
That was what my consideration about budget came from.
There are plenty of software houses that do niche genres, hell, if some stupidly convoluted **** like X can sell enough to keep Egosoft afloat as long as they don't make another blunder like Rebirth you can bet a tighter single player spacesim with the Star Wars license on the same budget with good gamepad and m+k support can undoubtedly do well.
I'd probably concur if we were talking about Freespace 3 or Wing Commander VI, but it's Star Wars: the promise alone of the "blowing up Tie Fighters in an X-wing cockpit" experience will be appealing to people, trouble is that you can't make it a triple A title that needs to sell 7.000.000 copies just to get even and EA is one of those big name publishers won't publish a middle or low budget title anymore.

I mean, we have game like Legend of Grimrock, that is a grid-based real time dungeon crawler RPG, that stuff was niche even when it was cool for crying out loud! Nothing forbids EA to try a similar low or middle budget project with a Star Wars spacesim.

I don't think the market is there for the type of game we played decades ago.  From my understanding flight sims have gone one of two ways, they've either gotten arcadey or they've got super realistic.  Way back in the day when  I was a little kid I had a blast shooting down guys in Aces over Europe and Aces of the Pacific, fast-forward to a few years ago and I couldn't even get off the ground in IL-2 Sturmovik.  And when I was off the ground, I chased a guy for half an hour and didn't down him.  You know when the game suggests you learn by attacking friendly bombers that it's not for casuals.  So is there a market for light sims? From what I heard, X-Wing Alliance sold like 143K copies in the US over the course of a year which is absolutely pitiful numbers.

The other thing about modern sci-fi flight games is that most of them are open world faff-abouts.  Driving a ship from one dock to the next, changing credit numbers into cargo numbers so you can go somewhere else and change those cargo numbers into a bigger number of credit numbers until the number in your bank account matches the number of the new gizmo/ship you want.  Rinse repeat.

So that said, any starfighter game would probably either be arcade-y, or, you flying a YT-1300 from place to place.  Not really X-Wing material.

EVE Valkyrie has bad reviews. Starlight Inception I backed and quit after 3 minutes.  Strike Suit Zero is a fun romp but arcade-y.  Maybe there are more games out there but I daresay your only hope for a single player game might be Squadron 42.  And given that their hour of gameplay looked like a walking simulator, I wouldn't cross your fingers.


But as for EA could they make an X-Wing simulator? Sure. But would they? Nope. Best you could hope for is arcade-style like what's already in Battlefront II. In fact you'd probably have the exact same mechanics, just with a star-fighter only campaign. And whether that's down to EA, or it's down to EA's contract with Disney, who knows.

 In other news though, GOG just released Star Wars pod-racer few weeks back. Let's see if it's as fun as I remember the demo being.


Alliance had a big issue however: it required a joystick, in the sense that the game would outright refuse to load if you didn't have one and that's quite a barrier for many people (hence why I specified M+K and gamepad controls).
IL-2 Sturmovik is a much more complex and less intuitive game (I bounced off it pretty hard both time I've tried it) than any spacesim I've played.
Also, have you looked closely at the control scheme of X-wing and Tie Fighter?
5 keys alone are for speed presets, put in the two analog sticks and 12 buttons of an average modern gamepad and with a couple of radial menus you can fit the controls easily, Elite: Dangerous can do it and that's a much more complex game in many regards.
And I stress: Battlefront II had to be arcade because is a high budget title, there is enough audience to sustain a low to middle budget Star Wars spacesim out there like there are enough people to sustain a first person grid-based dungeon crawler or a ****ty uselessly complex 4x masking as a spacesim. The only reason EA won't do it is that the suits (paraphrasing Jim Sterling) don't want to just make a good amount of money but ALL of the money.

I'm pretty sure Squadron 42 is going to be ****, Roberts isn't a good game designer, while his old Wing Commander games were good they had a lot of questionable stuff in them.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 07:24:27 pm by Det. Bullock »
"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
Wasn't there actually a Star Wars starfighter combat game in the works called Attack Squadrons which got cancelled by disney?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_Attack_Squadrons

Anyone know why it was cancelled? Other than the fact it was browser-based and probably garbage. It apparently hit Beta though

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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  • Madman in a box.
Re: What are you playing right now?
Wasn't there actually a Star Wars starfighter combat game in the works called Attack Squadrons which got cancelled by disney?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_Attack_Squadrons

Anyone know why it was cancelled? Other than the fact it was browser-based and probably garbage. It apparently hit Beta though
Wasn't there actually a Star Wars starfighter combat game in the works called Attack Squadrons which got cancelled by disney?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_Attack_Squadrons

Anyone know why it was cancelled? Other than the fact it was browser-based and probably garbage. It apparently hit Beta though

I remember this, I even tried to subscribe to the beta, unfortunately they never said why they cancelled it though things were still very much in flux regarding how Disney wanted to handle the videogame branch of Star Wars so who knows?
"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
So, I've made some progress in my StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty Brutal playthrough, and in the end, I sort of broke. After spending about an hour and a half trying different strategies on the train robbery mission, coming up with one that worked + saving every single time I left my base (& reloading 2 out of 3 times), I found myself in a situation where it was impossible for me to intercept the second-to-last train, due to a kill team's patrol path intersecting twice with the train's. So at this point I said "**** it, the point is to go through all 3 SC 2 chapters, not to get all the achievements ever", dialed down the difficulty to hard, which felt like easy mode in comparison.

I'll give props to Blizzard for this one, overall they really did an great job with the difficulty, there's very few missions that felt wholly unfair on brutal, including the base-less missions. Most of the time you can get all the mission objectives with careful planning & generous use of the save function.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: What are you playing right now?
I don't think the market is there for the type of game we played decades ago.

It might not just be the market ... I looked into it a while back for a potential essay and culturally there seems to have been a shift in perspective when it comes to the archetype of the military pilot ...

The summary is that during the 80's there was a certain shift in displaying military in atlantic pop-culture away from infantry based stories (esspecially in movies) to more technical military professions, pilots chief among them ... I never quite got the "Why"s straight, because cultural and personal bias (including selection bias in regards to data), but the working theory, that seemed to work with a lot of what I was looking at, was two-fold:
a) a shift away from referencing the Vietnam-war to allow military-positiv messaging and b) with a foucs on more technical professions, media could be injected with a narrative about "the West" being more advanced without raising a morality issue (i.e. more advanced technology being a signifier for advancement, "if your tech is refined everything else must be refined too" etc etc)

Post-9/11 you then a shift in the archetypes of adversaries and adversarial forces that are being employed in narrative (again, film and TV make most drastic shifts) away from military forces as an opposition to "the West" and hence things go a bit more personal and return to an infantry-centric setting as baseline for military-centric fiction...

Now, this is just me doing a thing on whim and again, everytime I ran a bias-check things didn't come up alright - selection bias being the most glaring problem (and you know its bad when you fail a bias check you administer yourself)
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
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Post-9/11 you then a shift in the archetypes of adversaries and adversarial forces that are being employed in narrative (again, film and TV make most drastic shifts) away from military forces as an opposition to "the West" and hence things go a bit more personal and return to an infantry-centric setting as baseline for military-centric fiction...

Incidently the technology the infantry uses has gotten more advanced too. Call of Duty doesn't need to entice you with jets if they can give you javelin missile launchers, ghillie suits, and all that jazz.

 

Offline Torchwood

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Re: What are you playing right now?
I'm pretty sure Squadron 42 is going to be ****, Roberts isn't a good game designer, while his old Wing Commander games were good they had a lot of questionable stuff in them.

Back in those days, he had a whole crew working with him who would occasionally countermand his more questionable decisions and ideas. Now that he's in charge, only his brother is in any position to do so.

On topic, I've gotten onto the Grim Dawn bandwagon and don't regret it for a moment

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
Now, this is just me doing a thing on whim and again, everytime I ran a bias-check things didn't come up alright - selection bias being the most glaring problem (and you know its bad when you fail a bias check you administer yourself)

Pretty interesting, but maybe the answer is actually more simple than that - modern air combat is boring.  So is naval combat  Many modern air combat simulators would start off in something looking like Stanley Parable and your character sitting down and booting up Drone 1.0.  Naval combat, watching the "red thingie moving towards the green thingie".  Not dodging and weaving and getting on the tail of a Messerschmit or racing in to launch some torpedoes under the fire of a line of 10,000 ton battleships.

And this is relevant because this is what people have grown up with.  The most that people have seen of modern combat has probably been a thermal image from Iraq of a gunship lighting up a pick-up truck or a bomb hitting a building while an aircraft does a slow circle.  Entirely one-sided affairs, meant only to showcase the destruction and power of those on the firing end.  WW2 for many people is just so far away.  I grew up with planes and ww2 because my father grew up during the Blitz in Liverpool.  Kids today? They only see what video games and movies are portraying.

The original Star Wars was heavily inspired by WW2. Get to the prequels and its a cartoon with kids saving the day and idiotic buzz droids.  Modern Star Wars drop references to the original but then have Poe downing 10 planes in as many seconds and flying around inside a building.  It's actually MORE cartoony than young anakin's "now THIS, is podracing".  And if you look at a lot of recent movies with pilots in them, those pilots tend to spend more time on the ground than in their actual plane.  Maybe Stealth was the last pilot-centric movie focused on flying and that was years ago.

Also one interesting thing about the original Tie Fighter/Xwing games.  I used to give a lot of props to Lucasarts for making such great games, but turns out they didn't even make them!  It was Totally Games, the same guys who did Secret weapons of the Luftwaft. Lucasarts was just making Point & Clicks.  And the point and clicks are supposed to be good but, it ain't no X-wing.

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
Been playing Borderlands 2 solo and a bit of Mechwarrior Online.  Borderlands is fairly fun though the inventory and loot management is a colossal pain in the arse. It's okay if you're replacing a gun you've got selected but if not, seriously annoying.

Mechwarrior Online I hadn't played in a long while, had 41 updates coming back and a ton of new mechs are suddenly in the game along with civil war tech.  It's fun- though much the same as its always been.  Was disappointing that some of my mech designs got seriously nerfed by whatever changes happened between then and now.  That and MRMs seem like a colossal joke. Put two MRM 30s on a Catapult and basically did dick-all before getting taken out.  Will work up to replace the engine with an XL, throw more guns on it, and see if that helps.

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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  • Madman in a box.
Re: What are you playing right now?
I'm pretty sure Squadron 42 is going to be ****, Roberts isn't a good game designer, while his old Wing Commander games were good they had a lot of questionable stuff in them.

Back in those days, he had a whole crew working with him who would occasionally countermand his more questionable decisions and ideas. Now that he's in charge, only his brother is in any position to do so.

And his brother gave us that "masterpiece" that was Privateer 2: The Darkening.

"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
I'm pretty sure Squadron 42 is going to be ****, Roberts isn't a good game designer, while his old Wing Commander games were good they had a lot of questionable stuff in them.

Back in those days, he had a whole crew working with him who would occasionally countermand his more questionable decisions and ideas. Now that he's in charge, only his brother is in any position to do so.

And his brother gave us that "masterpiece" that was Privateer 2: The Darkening.


Was it a masterpiece of ****? Only played the first Privateer - I don't know if Privateer is indicative of Wing Commander's gameplay, but I found every battle the enemy would pass by me, go super far away and then come back and pass me again, rinse repeat over and over.  That combined with the sprite graphics made me feel like it wasn't even a 3d-space I was fighting in, but a game more like- Sink the Bismark or some other game with turret play

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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  • Madman in a box.
Re: What are you playing right now?
I'm pretty sure Squadron 42 is going to be ****, Roberts isn't a good game designer, while his old Wing Commander games were good they had a lot of questionable stuff in them.

Back in those days, he had a whole crew working with him who would occasionally countermand his more questionable decisions and ideas. Now that he's in charge, only his brother is in any position to do so.

And his brother gave us that "masterpiece" that was Privateer 2: The Darkening.


Was it a masterpiece of ****? Only played the first Privateer - I don't know if Privateer is indicative of Wing Commander's gameplay, but I found every battle the enemy would pass by me, go super far away and then come back and pass me again, rinse repeat over and over.  That combined with the sprite graphics made me feel like it wasn't even a 3d-space I was fighting in, but a game more like- Sink the Bismark or some other game with turret play
Abuse the afterburner, it's the only way.

The first Privateer was good, believe it or not dogfighting feels better than in Wing Commander.

Privateer 2 was full 3D but it was very much ****, for details I'm copy-pasting the review I posted on GOG.com:
Quote
Let me get this straight: this got two stars from me only because with darkfix (see the GOG forums for more info) is more or less functional and the FMVs are full of great actors (the plot is also nice overall), the problems come when it comes to the basic game design of the thing. Even the FMVs though full of people like John Hurt, Christopher Walken, Cliwe Owen and BRIAN BLESSED have a weird audio mixing that makes dialogues often really difficult to understand if you aren't a native english speaker (no subtitles of course). With Darkfix I was also able to use the throttle axis of the stick which is always good for the hotas crowd out there (though you'll need to recalibrate it in the options every time you launch the game). But the worst part is the game design of the thing, where to start? From the fact that to move from a waypoint to another you have to kill every hostile ship but often said hostiles keep spawning? From the obnoxious sound effects and animations in the trade interface (fortunately they can be partly disabled) and how simplistic trade is compared to the first Privateer? Trading also requires to hire a ship, because you are confined to fighters as your personal ship goes. You will need to grind money through trading because the missions are often very inbalanced pitting you against insurmountable odds. There are a bunch of randomly triggered sidequests that can be rather amusing at times (they all have their FMVs) but some of them can be rather esoteric (I failed one without noticing). There is also the tendency of the game to send you mission updates during combat halting the game whether you want it or not which is quite disorienting (and also preceded by a grating beep sound). This is probably the first really bad spacesim I ever tried, not just a case of "not my cup of tea" but a really, really mediocre game, even with the crashes and a bunch of glitches fixed it's not really worth it unless you are fixated on spacesims like I am.
"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
The first Privateer was good, believe it or not dogfighting feels better than in Wing Commander.

So are the first three Wing Commander games worth playing? I have them on GOG but I didn't get past the lounge on WC1 before I booted up another game.

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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  • Madman in a box.
Re: What are you playing right now?
The first Privateer was good, believe it or not dogfighting feels better than in Wing Commander.

So are the first three Wing Commander games worth playing? I have them on GOG but I didn't get past the lounge on WC1 before I booted up another game.
To me they are, note that I and III are much more repetitive than Tie Fighter or Freespace (II a bit less so).
Keep in mind that III has a full 3D engine so a lot of the more irritating stuff from the sprite-based engine of the first two games is gone.
I and II and expansions might require a save editor because sometimes the game glitches out and decides pilots that are still alive are dead which can rob you of some dialogues in the lounge.
Also the expansions are often stupidly difficult compared to the respective main games, I never got the good ending to the espansion of Wing Commander II.

For an extended rant about the engine quirks of the first two, another copy-pasted gog.com review (yikes, GOG really needs an editing function for the reviews, there are more typos, bad punctuation, half-formed sentences and missing words that I remember):
Quote
I played "SpaceSim" since I was eleven and had a 386DX, but I never ad the chance of playing Wing Commander till a week or so ago when I bought this package on GOG.com. The graphics for the time it came out were outstanding (much better than the monochromatic 3D models used in other similar games at the time) but unfortunately have a very bad influence on gameplay. The sprites used to render the ships work well enough for fighters and smaller crafts but are really impractical when it comes to asteroids and capital ships: The asteroids because they tend to pop up at a very short distance even while you can see supposedly smaller fighters much farther thus making dodging them a mattermore of luck than ability simetimes; For the capital ships the problem is that you don't get a real sense of the distance you are from them when you are flying against them, making mission where you have to defend or (in Wing Commander II) bombard them often you find yourself dead because you flew too close to them without noticing! A peculiarity of Wing Commander I & II compared to the more-or-less contemporary X-wing is the more arcade approach to combat: You don't get to manage your systems energy to compensate your fighter's faults so if you find yourself on a strike mission with a light fighter (it happens a couple of times) you cannot for instance trasfer your engine power to the shield when hammered down by an entire squadron of enemy interceptors. While the gameplay remains essentially the same in both games although the second game shows a series of improvements in pacing (main guns are a bit more powerful so you can destroy less powerful enemy fighters more rapidly) and balance, in particular capital ships in the first game were ludicrously easy to kill once you eliminated their fighter escort, while in the second game you had to use torpedoes (which need a lock and take a veeery long time to get it) which can be carried only by certain fighters and need to be launched really close to the capital ship without evasive manouver lest you lose the lock. There are also some problems with keyboard and mouse controls in with the savegame menu in the second game which made me lose savegames several frustrating times, essentially when you clicked on save/load game with a mouse ort by pressing enter the game instead of just loading the save/load menu loaded a game randomly, fortunately while using the Joystick to access the save/load menu I didn't have any particular issue. Another problem are the game crashes that happen in the second game sometimes during missions. The good is essentially in how the story is told, your wingmen have a personality (even though in the first game they are often too much stereotyped, even for an old school game) and you can have a chat with them between missions and in the non-linear campaign (there are two endings depending on how well you played) of the first game they can even die in combat and have a funeral cutscene with personalized dialogue from the CAG and the protagonist. The second game instead has a more cinematic approach with longer and more elaborate in-game cutscenes and although the campaign is a bit more linear the story is much better told and overall enjoyable even though it is not much more elaborate than the first. My advice is: if you aren't scared from the graphics (and the bugs of the second game) and you like spacesims this game is worth a try, prepare to die a lot (often in really frustrating ways, sometimes the only way to remain sane is using cheats) and at the same time enjoy one of the first experiments of implementing cinematic storytelling in an action game. The only thing that keeps me from giving four or five stars are the gameplay issues, otherwise I would have rated it a must buy.

I did also review III but at the time I was more generous with the game than I would be now (mostly because of the story, certain elements didn't quite strike me as bad at the time), but it's still an improvement.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2018, 07:28:08 pm by Det. Bullock »
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