Author Topic: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Finished!)  (Read 8068 times)

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Offline InsaneBaron

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InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Finished!)
:mad2: GENERATION: "Hello, Omicron!"

:jaw: GHAAAAAAAA! :jaw:
:shaking::shaking::shaking::shaking::shaking:

Oh, hello readers. That's me having nightmares about Transcend again. Man, that was a scary experience. What did I do to deserve that? How could my computer do this to me?!?  :mad:

That reminds me... I never got around to reviewing Transcend, did I? For that matter, I don't think I ever reviewed any of Ransom Arceihn's campaigns. Considering I played all three of them, that seems like a problem I should fix.

That's right, InsaneBaron's reviews are back! After a several-month hiatus due to starting college, I'm ready to get back to my review business. To make up for lost time, I'm creating a mega-review dedicated to Ransom Arceihn and his three signature campaigns: Windmills, Sync, and Transcend. For those who followed my rather in-depth  reviews before, the idea of what kind of monster InsaneBaron could call a mega-review might be a little scary. Yeah, the thought kinda scares me too. But hey, it's not like I'm getting much sleep anyways!

Anyway, here's my standard disclaimer:

First, a little about me and my reviews. I'm a decently experienced pilot, but I haven’t been on HLP for very long- six months or so. Hence, these reviews are gonna be tailored for two groups of people. First, other new-ish people who, to quote General Battuta, are looking for their “...First (or Next!) Campaign.” Not that I'm making n00b reviews, I'm just not making 1337 reviews. Second, hopefully my reviews will be helpful to the campaign makers themselves, by way of feedback, encouragement, and a bit of constructive criticism. If you're a new recruit trying to decide if a campaign is for you, or a designer wondering how new recruits will react to your campaign, then these reviews are for you.

I'm going to organize these reviews into four categories. First, PLOT. Characters, story, scary or funny moments, et cetera. Second, GAMEPLAY. Balance, fun-factor. Quality of any new ships and weapons. Clarity of mission goals. Challenge. Third, AESTHETICS. This will barely apply to some simpler campaigns, but this includes cutscene quality, the artistic appearance of new ships/weapons, voice acting, music... the “look and sound” of the campaign. Finally, TECHNICAL STUFF. Was it easy to set up? Did I run into bugs? That sort of thing. This last section will naturally be incomplete, because I'm no beta tester. I didn't try to break any missions (“really, I wasn't TRYING to break it! It just happened!”). So the only bugs I'll catch are ones that will come up in a casual playthrough- but those are probably the most dangerous type.

If I spoiler tag something, read it at your own discretion! Due to the nature of these campaigns, there's gonna be more spoiler tags than my earlier reviews.


Now, down to business!

Ransom Arceihn is known in the freespace community for making campaigns focused on... phsycology. SCARY phsycology. Imagine M. Night Shyamalan, Stanley Kubrick, and M. C. Esher collaborating on a FRED project, and you'll have some idea of what we're talking about. So far he's created three campaigns: Sync, Transcend, and Windmills. Rumor has it there's another one coming- apparently a sequel to Sync.

Ransom is also notable for his excellent voice acting. This is the guy who brought Mackie Aubrey in Derelict, Russik in Warzone, and Phillip Corey in Blue Planet to life.

Incidentally, I played the campaigns in the reverse order: First Windmills (on a weekand when I was bored), then Transcend (because Windmills made me curious), and most recently Sync (because I hoped it would shed some light on Transcend.) You can play Windmills whenever youlike, but playing Sync before Transcend is (slightly) advantageous.

Ransom, the spotlight's on you!



SYNC

It's the reconstruction era. You are the leader of a mercenary wing. You and your two wingmen, Max and Sarah Calden (married, yes), get hired for a routine job: escorting two freighters, the Esther and Farae, across a few systems to rendezvous with an independant corvette, the Persistance. The Esther is carrying Subachs, the Farae has jump drives. Pretty simple, right?
...right?
WRONG. Suicidal pirates appear every step of the trip. The GTVA seems suspicious. The Persistance moves the meeting location. But nothing compares to what happens when you arrive. A flash of energy, a subspace portal...
...a debris field...
...Where are you now?...
...do you really want to know?
Thrown into an uncharted galaxy by the frighteningly powerful
Spoiler:
Sync device
you must... do what? Survive? Find help? Get home? Hide? Save humanity? Destroy it?

PLOT: Credit here goes to Ransom Arceihn (of course)

First of all, PROs of the plot!

SCARY: This is what makes Sync a masterpiece. Honestly, this Pro is so broad that I need to break it up into a couple Pros. This practically IS the plot.

SYNC: The MacGuffin of the story,
Spoiler:
The Sync drive is what hurls you from galaxy to galaxy.
And it's out of control.
Spoiler:
Whenever everyone around you suddenly warps out... and your jump drive starts on its own... you know you're about to get thrown to a new galaxy, worse than the last one.

It's scary in its repetitiveness! Any any moment, your problems might get solved, or made ten times worse. Half of me wanted to
Spoiler:
just blow Sync up
, while the other half realized that we needed it... did we?

Ransom, I don't think anyone else in HLP history has managed to wrap the whole plot of a campaign around one little
Spoiler:
TSC 2
. But somehow, that one
Spoiler:
box
came to represent everything I felt about the plot.

THE TEAM: Several missions early on revolve around finding the rest of the people who got catapulted into another galaxy with you. Mentally, I found myself listing the ships in my head:
Spoiler:
Two other Alpha's, four Beta's, four Phi's, the Persistence, the cruiser Truth, the Esther and Farae, the freighter Raikan, and the GTD Carthage.
. For me, this was one of the scarier parts of the campaign, hunting around for someone- anyone- who might have survived.
Spoiler:
The fact that I found Sarah (Alpha 2) at the start, only to have to leave her behind in a disabled fighter while I looked for help, made it worse.
. I almost fell out of my chair in relief when
Spoiler:
I ran into a pair of the Phi pilots. No kidding, two wingmen and a little chatter make you feel a lot safer
I could have cheered when
Spoiler:
Alpha 3
warped in and told us
Spoiler:
that the Persistence and the rest of Phi was coming. Having a corvette around is VERY comforting

There's also a bit of fridge horror here.
Spoiler:
The Carthage. It's still out there in alternate galaxy 1


GHOSTS: Some of the ships follow you, but don't speak. Are their radios down? Are they shell-shocked? Are the crews even alive? :nervous:

ESCALATING: Every time that
Spoiler:
Sync
goes off, it gets scarier.

PHSYCOLOGICAL FEAR: This is one of the key points of the campaign: The collapse of everyone's sanity. It's very well-portrayed through the team's personal logs. Different crew members take it different ways: just getting mad, clinging to a desperate and childish optomism, or losing sanity completely. How Alpha 1 feels about it all is, of course, up to you.

CHARACTERS: Stepping away from the fear factor for a moment, the characters of Sync are quite interesting. Max and Sarah stand out in particular as some of the more memorable characters in HLP's library; Max for his combination of rage and raw determination, Sarah for being the one cheerful member of the grim cast. The GTCv Persistance in also worthy of note, while I can't say too much for spoiler reasons, its captain (the only speaking character on the ship; he almost seems to BE the ship) could be the subject of a lot of fan debate.

HORROR: My reaction when the campaign was finished: "What have we done?!" :eek:

Sorry Ransom, but I do need to cover the CONS of the plot as well:

REPETITION: Not as bad as some things I could name, but a factor nonetheless.

LOOSE ENDS: A warning: you WILL be screaming for the WIP "Project 03" by the end of the campaign.

NOT FOR EVERYONE: I'll tell you now, if you're looking for big Freespace battles, massive and heroic achievements, Savior-of-Humanity-and-Vasudanity status, and/or an actual war story, play Age of Aquarius instead.

Okay, that brings us to the GAMEPLAY section.

PROS of the Gameplay...
...
...
...
...
...

Ransom, we have a problem.

CONS of the gameplay.

KINDA... ABSENT: Sync really is not a gameplay campaign. It's about the story. A lot of the missions are just playable cutscenes, and what fighting there is is mostly endless, on-rails bomber killing. As a matter of fact, it's very easy. Things get very repetitive (although sometimes I think that's a deliberate plot device.) My advice is to play through the campaign quickly on Very Easy and just don't don't think of it as a game. It's ultimately more of a first-person movie. At the end of the day Sync is about the story.

LOADOUT: It's worth noting that Alpha 1 spends 38 missions in a row without getting out of his fighter.Thankfully it's not a red-alert chain (for the sake of balance, you start each mission with full missiles and armor), but it does mean that you'll spend almost the whole campaign in a Hercules (not a Herc 2) loaded with Subachs and Harpoons. Not a terrible loadout really, especially for Sync's level of gameplay, but there's no variety. Like many things about Sync, it adds to the plot but detracts from the gameplay.

Now, AESTHETICS. Because of the way Sync is made, I'm not going to make a clear PRO-CON divide for Aesthetics.

MOSTLY RETAIL: Like some other campaigns I've reviewed, Sync isn't very mod-heavy, so it still uses retail ships, music, et cetera. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a con, it just means that I don't have much material for my Aesthetics section. Sync's not voice acted, although it's almost better that way- Derelict-quality voice acting would destroy the feel of the campaign. Finally, I've gotta give Ransom points for matching the retail music to the action very well- he didn't just randomly pick a music set for each mission.

Lastly, TECHNICAL STUFF:

PROs: Well, it worked in the end.

CONS:

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES: Sync was made a while back, so it has a few issues. Firstly, the version in the release thread has no mod.ini and thus needs a little tampering. I played using SDM's upgraded version, which can be found in the wiki article on Sync. Unfortunately, that version was somehow broken by FSO 3.6.18, which broke many of the "find the radar blip in the nebula" missions- flying to the radar blip didn't trigger anything. However, these missions worked fine when I downgraded to FSO 3.6.12, which I recommend for anyone playing Sync.

OVERALL: Despite some of my more negative comments, Sync is definitely a good work of art, although you could debate if it's really a game campaign or not. Like I said before, set your difficulty comfortably low, forgive the gameplay, and let the story be the point. Sync isn't for everyone, but it's not to be sneezed at either. It's an important part of HLP's history, and not without a good reason.

Should you play it? If you want a bit of scaryness, if you plan to play Transcend, or if you want to know where War in Heaven's Universal Truth came from, definitely. As for me, while I don't plan to do it again at present, I'm definitely glad I played it through!

Anyway, to get this out sooner I'm going to break this review up into three posts. The next one will cover my favorite Arceihn campaign: TRANSCEND.

Hope this helped! I believe that reviews need to be reviewed, so I'd love to see some player's comments on whether or not this was helpful, any developer replies to my comments, or general questions. :cool:
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 08:47:36 am by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

  

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Part 2:

It's a few years after Capella. You are Sunder Marcel, leader of a group of mercenaries designated Kappa wing. You've just gotten a job escorting the transport Incontrovertible on its shipping route.

Sync Players: Does this sound familiar? :nervous:

During his escort run, Sunder is arrested by, and forcibly recruited into, the Shadow Guardians (aka Omicron Wing), a secret unit that investigates strange tavern stories and spacer's tales, hoping to discover the truth behind them.

Sunder's first lead with Omicron is a freighter, the Chondral, which has it's cargo shielded to prevent scanning. Sure sign of suspicious activity.

So Omicron follows the Chondral. But when the chase turns into a fight,
Spoiler:
And the authorities see four mismatched fighters attacking a freighter and it's escorts...
It's "Oh Crap" time.

But as if it couldn't get worse, the Chondral's destination is an uncharted nebula linked by an unstable jump node to Alpha Centauri.

And... there's something in the nebula...
...something that wants nothing...
...I SEE YOU...
Everyone has a limit.
 :mad2: :shaking: :mad2:
     :warp:
TRANSCEND

PLOT: Credit to Ransom again!

PROs of the Plot

FEAR: Ok, I discussed this while reviewing Sync, but with Transcend I'm going to go deeper. Ransom's approach to fear deserves a good analysis. Transcend isn't like the generic slasher or zombie movie. It's more like an M. Night Shyamalan film (like Signs, my favorite movie of all time :P ). What makes the difference?

Well, both Ransom and Shyamalan (and similar scary authors) understand how the mind works. You see, there are two ways to be scary. One is to be a generic zombie of slasher B-Movie and show a lot of people dieing violently. The other is to play with the viewer's phscology. Once you master the mind of the audience, you don't need all that violence to scare people. There's, what, one finger that gets cut off in Signs? And FreeSpace, obviously, rules out graphicness by being a space sim. Compared to this psychological fear, zombie B-flicks aren't even scary, just... gross. :ick:

Transcend is a masterpiece of this "Smart Fear". It takes the things that made Sync eerie, and improves or enhances them into a genuinely frightening work the exceeds its predecesor.

While I can't risk ruining all of this scaryness, several elements in particular deserve commentary.

CHARACTERS: Transcend is a character campaign, more so than Sync. It features a speaking protagonist, names and plot armor for the three members of Omicron wing, and several other spaceship captains that you meet along the way.
Previous commentators have noted the "personification of starships" in Transcend. (Sync's Persistence was also an example). Many supporting ships are treated as a single character- even whole corvettes. This enhances the lonelyness of the campaign: you're not with an Argo full of people, you're flying with one person, Sinclair, who is [...in...] an Argo. The ship represents the character, the character represents the ship. No other crew members object to the (sometimes risky or downright suicidal) decisions of the Captain. For all appearances, there isn't anyone else on the ship. The Incontrovertible :wtf:, the Silent Eye :hopping:, the Chondral :drevil:, and the Generation :mad2:, are not just ships, they're characters. And all of the characters are [...represented by...] ships.

Ah, the Generation. That brings me to my next point.

THE GENERATION: What can I say about this guy? He's a Deimos corvette who terrifies you more than any Sathanas. How, you ask?

Well, he starts chasing you and your Omicron buddies. And the guy WON'T. GIVE. UP.  :eek2:
I gotta be careful what I say about him lest I ruin it, but...
Think about it. He's chasing these four fighters, and everywhere he goes, they dodge him. And his escort ships start dieing. And he gets blamed by Command. Whatever unholy powers are afoot here, he thinks they come from you. And when Command tries to apprehend him...  :mad:
Spoiler:
They guy goes from being just another GTVA ship captain, to being the FreeSpace version of Captain Ahab. And you're his Moby Dick. Over the brink of madness, he chases you across the galaxy, demolishing law enforcement and military ships that try to arrest him. Ransom, I always thought you needed a Superdestroyer or Juggernaut to evoke that "unstoppable monter ship chasing me" feel. At least you'd need a destroyer with some dangerous tech advances (like the Auriga in Derelict. You proved me wrong. If your only allies are three (or two) fighters, all it takes is one ordinary corvette with a frighteningly insane captain :shaking:.

At the start, I mentioned Transcend nightmares. Well, Transcend has three capital nightmare-fuel moments, and the second one...
Spoiler:
Is when, several missions after you SAW the Generation blow up... it crawls out of a Node and rushes you again, followed by a gang of ships you killed already.
My thought pattern at the time: "What? Oh crap, now we've got another Corvette to dodge? ... wait... it can't be..." -targets it-
GENERATION: Hello, Omicron!
"YOU- YOU- You were DEAD!" :jaw:
Ransom, I haven't been that scared since the Alien ran across Meril's TV the first time I watched Signs. :shaking:

VOICES: First Nightmare fuel moment. You may or may not want to read on; I won't give away too much but I'll put it in spoiler tags anyway. Your call
One of the best touches in the campaign is the mission
Spoiler:
"Memory of Shadows". After what so far was a non-voice-acted campaign, Ransom himself Voice-acted... someone. An incredible job of audio processing somehow turns
 
Spoiler:
SPOILER WITHIN SPOILER static and fuzz
Into something that would be terrifying even if without the heart-attack inducing mission/plot situation.
I litterally (LITTERALLY) had trouble getting my jaw shut! :jaw:

For kicks, after you beat the campaign, crack open Transcend's audio files. Halloween is coming up!

THE FINAL MISSION: What can I say? Everything that made Sync and Transcend memorable, crammed into one mission. :eek: More under Gameplay.

ENDING: Very different from Sync, that's all I'll say.

SPECULATION: But Transcend and Sync leave a lot of questions hanging, such as... well... what was that all about? I'm reviewing Transcend, not speculating on it, but I have my own theories. I agree with Ransom: Any answer he provided would feel wrong compared to the ones people puzzle out for themselves. If Ransom were to step in and answer our questions, it would ruin the fun of Transcend permanently. :P

Ok, now for the hard part.

CONS of the plot.

GENRE: Basically, Transcend, like Sync, isn't everyone's cup of tea. While I felt that it had more of a heroic element than Sync, I'm sure many people will find it too different from FreeSpace. But hey: diversity is HLP's strong point.

Transcend is less of a military or hard SF story and more of a phsycological horror story with a lot of reality-bending Twilight Zone themes. If you're looking for the space warfare plotlines like the classic Freespace games, I'd recommend Derelict, Warzone, or Bem Cavalgar. If you like Blue Planet, you MIGHT like Transcend. If you're a FreeSpace fan AND a phsycological fear fan, you'll definitely like Transcend (and Blue Planet!)

OK, now we move on to GAMEPLAY! Credit goes to... you guessed it... Ransom Arceihn.

PRO's of the gameplay!
...
...
...
Actually, they do exist this time! ;D

FINAL MISSION: For plot reasons, I can't say much. But... it's a HARD dogfight :banghead:. In my estimation, it's the most lethal-to-player mission I've ever played, although Forced Entry and a lot of Bem Cavalgar was harder in terms of completing your objectives.
Let's just say it's straightforward, but FREDed to be extremely challenging. Unnaturally challenging, in fact. Deliberately so. The atmosphere is nerve-wracking and the stakes are...
you don't want to know.

ALSO: I also found one other mission to be a fairly exciting dogfight: the one where you battle several waves of Kelpies after the
Spoiler:
Silent Eye
betrays you.

Ok, CONS of the Gameplay. :sigh:

RUSH NODE, FLEE NODE, REPEAT: Much of Transcend is spend rushing all across the GTVA, sometimes escorting someone and usually with something chasing you.The missions end up a repetitive pattern: You rush at a jump node with your wingmen. Pursuers warp in behind you. You keep running, trigger dialogue as you approach, reach the node, and warp into it- sometimes you have to wait for whatever your escorting.

On the following mission you copme out of the node with the pursuit following you. You wait for your jump drive to recharge (equal to the amount of time it takes to kill four wings of fighters) and then warp out...

To another jump node. And it happens again. And again. And again... :rolleyes:
The gameplay becomes very repetitive, without anything for you to do but dogfight and jump, dogfight and jump.

PLAYABLE CUTSCENES: The main break in this pattern comes with "playable cutscene" missions: missions with gameplay but no enemies. Playable cutscene missions aren't bad in themselves- take Blue Planet for example- but have say, four of them in a row only worsens the generally disappointing gameplay. BP uses them rarely and with justification- they're super short ("A Blue Planet...") or at impactful plot moments ("...With Vast Seas"). Transcend, however, uses them all over the place as settings for conversations or exploration, and not always at impactful plot points. To sum it up, Playable Cutscenes are not bad and can be used well, but Transcend overuses them. Like Sync, Transcend puts story first and gameplay second, so this is to be expected.

LOADOUT: Like Sync, you're stuck in your fighter for a straight 42 missions. And your loadout is worse than Sync :banghead:
You have a Hercules II this time, so durability and maneuverability are better, but weapons are much worse: a bank of Subachs and a bank of Prometheus Rs for primaries, and 32 Harpoons (less than Sync) and 100 highly inaccurate Hornets for secondaries. I facepalmed when, on mission 3, Sunder turned down the offer of a better fighter. Oh well.

At least, like Sync, your fighter repairs/rearms between missions (magically, but I won't complain; any realistic solution would have rendered the campaign unplayable.)

TIP: Like Sync, Transcend is best played on Very Easy at a good pace. The gameplay just isn't the main point.

Now for AESTHETICS! Credit goes to Bugs Bunny Ransom Arceihn! :P

CUTSCENE SKILL: Ransom makes superb use of short cutscenes during missions to add to the nerve-wracking atmosphere. If your screen jumps... you're about to see something bad. :nervous:

MUSIC: Mostly retail, but Ransom did use one very eerie sounding track that apparently was a track from another game played in reverse. Fits the one mission it's in perfectly. :yes:

MOSTLY RETAIL: Transcend doesn't use very many user-made ships: just the GTF Kelpie (dangerously powerful heavy fighter) and GTSC Plato (combat-capable version of the Faustus). Both look fine; the Kelpie is somewhat reminiscent of the Apollo, while the Plato looks like a Faustus on steroids (which it pretty much is).

BACKGROUNDS: There's one early mission notable for its dramatic planetary background

As for CONS of the aesthetics...

NOT VAed: It's not voice acted yet. Honestly, I'm ok with that. Anything less than BP:AoA level voice acting would demolish this campaign. Better no voice acting at all than, say, Derelict-class acting.

Don't get me wrong, I like Derelict, and its voice acting works great FOR DERELICT :nod:. Problem is, Transcend and Sync have such a delicate atmosphere that voice acting like that would blow it. In this kind of story, if it ain't good enough to show, don't show it; leave it to the audience's imagination. As it is, the lack of voices adds to the eerie/lonely air of the story, and it would take really good voice acting to replace that.

Ok, that brings us to TECHNICAL STUFF. Credit... ya... Ransom. :P

PROS:

MISSIONS SEEM TO WORK FINE: Exactly what it says on the tin. :)

NOT HARDWARE INTENSIVE: As opposed to Blue Planet.

CONS:

MOD.INI: Sync was made a while back, so if you want the MediaVPs (with are plot-significant at one point because of the backgrounds), you need to edit the mod.ini

NOT FOOLPROOF: As a whole the missions work fine if you do what you're obviously supposed to be doing. Goofing around (shoot allies, blowing up cargo crates) is known to break them. Safe for the wise. :arrr:



AND NOW...

While Transcend is similar in many ways to Sync, it is a massive improvement on its predecessor. Transcend takes the plot aspects that made Sync worth playing and magnifies them greatly, making it more dramatic and much scarier while making the player into more of a hero and less of an "along for the ride" guy. I greatly approve of Ransom's decision to give Sunder Marcel a name and (unacted) dialogue. The smaller cast of characters actually makes each character come out stronger.

Not only in terms of story, but also in terms of FREDing, Ransom has upped the quality. Creative use of specialized FRED features adds greatly to the atmosphere.

Transcend still suffers from Sync's weak gameplay, and in fact is even MORE repetitive, although on the other hand it at least has somewhat more action than it's precursor and at least one gem of a mission. IMO, Transcend is harder than Sync.

Overall, Transcend isn't for everyone. But if you feel like you can survive a good horror story, and you're willing to forgive the gameplay (again, play it quickly on Very Easy), I highly recommend trying it!  :yes2::yes:

Hope this helped! I believe that reviews need to be reviewed, so I'd love to see some player's comments on whether or not this was helpful, any developer replies to my comments, or general questions. :cool:

Next up is the Windmills segment. Stay tuned...
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 11:33:14 am by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Part 3:

FREDers will do some mighty strange things,
But his was the strangest, I swear,
He made a campaign, that you could win,
By actually not being there!

- InsaneBaron imitates Sir William Topaz McGonagall


Your are... who are you? A fleet commander in training? A pilot wondering what Command's job is like? A navy buff at home checking out your latest videogame?

Whoever you are, you're playing a simulator; the one other character makes that clear right from the start. FreeSpace has been turned on it's head; you are now Command, giving orders to GTVA ships in an RTS-like format.

Events are narrated by the Simulator; a computerized entity controlling the situation. And the Simulator is curious: what type of commander are you?

WINDMILLS

First of all, Plot. Ransom, you get the credit!

PROS of the Plot:

COMMAND MODE: Well, this is the point of Windmills. You are Command. I'll go into more detail in Gameplay, but you have a camera-view of the battlefield and can give commands to allied strikecraft and capships. It's FreeSpace as an RTS! You appear, at least, to be playing as the GTVA, with your opponents being vaguely defined enemy terrans (NTF, perhaps?)

THE SIMULATOR: The one other character is the Simulator, the AI running the simulation. There's something quite eerie about him/her/it; a sort of a less-threatening HAL or GLADOS. It isn't hostile, it's just curious about you. You could almost say that the Simulator is Ransom, messing with your mind while guiding you through the campaign. The Simulator puts you through your tests one by one, commenting on your performance and choices while musing on the abstract questions that arise, and occasionally reassuring you with, "But don't worry, Commander. It is only a simulation". Occasionaly the Simulator will do strange things to the simulation- things that couldn't happen to a real Commander (or could they?)- to test you, such as
Spoiler:
suddenly changing your side- all allies are hostile and all hostiles are allies
.

THE QUESTIONS: The Simulator has a habit of introducing an abstract question, and then creating a test to see how you handle it.
Which are more important to protect: critical military assets or innocent civilian lives?
What do you fight for? What does the enemy fight for?
When is it worth it to risk your main mission for a side goal?
What reprecussions will on mission have on the next?
Do you treat foes with mercy? With vengeance? What are the costs?
How good are you at making snap decisions?
How do you fare against your own strategy?

In fact, most of these questions don't have a real answer. For example, you can accomplish so many side-goals that you fail the main goal... and the campaign continues. You don't have to (or get the chance to) do it over; the Simulator just takes the results, losses, and gains of the mission- including the gains of those side-goals- and factors them into the next test. Whatever your outcome is, you "finish" the campaign at the end. Do you win or loose? It depends on your choices... and on how you define "win".

BEFORE YOU CRITICIZE SOMEONE: Walk a mile in their shoes. (that way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes :P ) If you've ever watched Renairen's playthroughs of FreeSpace campaigns, you'll notice his tendancy to complain about Command. (In FS1, he lumps Admiral Wolf, Command, the GTI guy, and the trainer guy into one mindless authority entity he calls "Jaeger") Let's face it, especially in FS1 Command comes off as stupid or careless sometimes.
"See if you can fly into the Lucifer's fighterbay."
"Avoid the shots and you won't get hit, pilot."
"Incoming jump signature, hostile configuration!" (ad nauseam)
Expecting you to win galaxy-saving battles with two fighter wings (can't you send more???), not sending and capital ships into situations where they really ought to be sent, refusing to pull out damaged ships, and so on. Parody campaigns like to spoof this percieved incompetence, or so I hear. Blue Planet rectifies it greatly.

But Ransom chooses to deconstruct it.
Spoiler:
Sending too many reinforcements too early give the enemy time to react with ships of their own. The more ships you deploy, the more you risk loosing, Attacks must be balanced with defense. Deploy all your reserves, and you'll have nothing with which to react to new developments

Maybe we don't give that bald guy ordering us around enough credit.

CONS of the plot:

SHORT: The campaign is only four missions long.

SIMULATED: After all, Windmills is some sort of simulator or game published in the FS universe sometime around (likely before) FS2. While it certainly toys with your mind, and gives Ransom a chance to do things you couldn't do in a real battle, there's not really a feeling of ultimate significance to your accomplishments. While the missions vaguely affect eachother, there's not a very clear plot progression between them. There are no real characters other than the Simulator. A lot of this, of course, is deliberate on Ransom's part as part of the general mood of the campaign: vague, minimalist, and somewhat ominous. But ultimately, Windmills isn't so much a story as a study or exploration... or test.

Now for the GAMEPLAY! Mosnar ot seog tiderc.

PROs of the gameplay:

RTS!: This is pretty much what the gameplay is about. You can pivot your camera around, but you can't move anywhere or affect the battle directly. You can give orders to fighters and bombers- attack this, protect that, destroy subsystem- just like in a normal campaign. Capital ships can be given priorities for their beam fire. Some missions have special command systems: guiding a fighter squadron through a waypoint chain (by telling them to "protect" the waypoint") or ordering capships to warp to a different part of the battlefield. You can call in reinforcements, but time them right!

MISSIONS: Each mission is unique.

MISSION 1: A tutorial on the basics of Commanding. I could tell this was going to be a new experience when the fighter Alpha 1 got killed on an early stage (not a scripted event, just my luck).

MISSION 2: Protect a pair of convoys from attack. Each contains three ships. One convoy is military, the other is civilian. Who's lives are most important?
Spoiler:
I ended up saving four out of six ships- I lost the military Triton ("Lives have been lost here, but more will be lost when our troops don't get their supplies") and the civilian Faustus ("A man's life work is destroyed...". The Simulator noted that I saved an equal number of military and civilian ships)

MISSION 3: Guide a squadron of stealth fighters on a long waypoint patrol to find an enemy depot. On the way, many secondary objectives appear. But they all take time, and you have a limited amount of time to find the depot.

Spoiler:
I rescued the transport from bombers and took out the hostile cruiser's beam so the friendly one could win the duel. The result was that I didn't make it to the end in time. But the Simulator doesn't make you redo the mission.

MISSION 4: An extended battle between two installations, fought with cruisers and corvettes that can jump from one installation to another. What do you fight for, Commander?

Spoiler:
The part where you change sides caught me off guard; I had done well in the first half and so I lost the second half. Then the Simulator switched me back to the winning side and warned me about the escaping transport; I was too stunned to react in time, and I got the speech about how the insurrectionist officers threw a planet into chaos
Wow.

SIMULATOR: The simulator will occasionally interfere with the mission to see how you'll react. Imagine a neutral-interested party with cheat codes.

CONs of the gameplay:

NOT FREESPACE: Obviously, it's no longer a space fighter sim. Standard FreeSpace strategy still applies in some cases, but the skill set is different. On the one hand, this is the point of the campaign, but on the other, the thrill of flying a starfighter isn't there. Take your pick.

LENGTH: I found the final mission a little tedious in length... not everyone will agree with me (and it might just have been the way I was playing) but it seemed to take forever. I ended up using time compression.

Now for AESTHTICS! C2R

PROs of the Aesthetics:

SIMULATOR: All the ships are represented by green and red shapes. Ransom basically reskinned them in monocolor to make them look more like virtual icons. The background bitmaps are blank. Apart from the Simulator, there's no radio chatter. Because of the distance, you can't hear the action. All in all, it's a very abstract, eerie world inside the Windmills simulator.

MUSIC: The music is a vague, almost unnoticable murmur in the background; apparently the piece is called "Windmills". It fits the mood of the campaign perfectly: vague, soft, and eerie. :nervous:
ARRANGEMENTS: Ransom does a good job arranging the ships so as to give you a good view of the action from your camera.

CONS of the Aesthetics:

NO VA: Windmills is
Spoiler:
99%
non-voice-acted. To be honest, it would take very good voice acting to do it right. In fact, you could even argue that the Simulator is better off without a voice.

However, it does add to another problem...

ABSTRACT: Windmills has very long missions, combined with symbolic and minimalistic visuals and very little sound (I recall that in Command and Conquer, the wide music selection was key in preventing the battle from getting dull). You're placed at a distance from the action, unable to directly intervene. After a while, it can get tedious. Again, this is part of Windmill's design; it wouldn't be Windmills without it. But by the end... either A. You're gonna want to blow stuff up, or B. You're gonna desperately want something funny. For class A Windmills withdrawal symptoms, I would prescribe a heavy dose of Warzone, for Class B symptoms, take JAD. (which I need to get around to playing sometime :P )

All is all, Windmills will often feel slow, but that's a necessary result of it's theme.

TECHNICAL STUFF: Can I just not bother with the Credits this time? Wait that took longer to type than "Credit goes to Ransom Arceihn". Which I just typed. And I'm making it longer by commenting on it. RANSOM! Look what your campaigns have done to my brain!

TECHNICAL PROS

EASY TO SET UP: Exactly what it says on the tin.

LOW POWER: Unlike, um, cough, Blue Planet (still great!), Windmills won't lag your machine.

UP-TO-DATE: for now, at least.

TECHNICAL CONS:

MAIN MENU: the mainhall sometimes does not display properly for some reason- some of the background deco covers the buttons, making them unreadable. The problem comes and goes; I have no idea what causes it.

WRONG MODELS: While replaying the missions in the techroom, I've sometimes had ships warp in as their proper models instead of the reskinned versions. I've been unable to replicate this bug in the campaign proper.

COMMANDS: After a long time on the last mission, my fighters stopped responding to my commands. Not sure why. It's a know bug that other people have had.

NO TECHROOM: There's no Techroom button on the mainhall. To be fair, there wouldn't be much to put in it, but it makes the Mission Simulator harder to get to. However, you can still access the Techroom by typing "T" on the mainhall.

BALANCE: Play Windmills with difficulty on MEDIUM. Otherwise the mission balance goes haywire.

OVERALL:
Windmills is probably the most un-FreeSpacey campaign in existence. The game enters a whole different gameplay genre, the plot places you in a Simulator, the whole structure of FreeSpace is inverted. That said, it's an interesting experience that isn't really that time-consuming: any free hour you have can use it up. Ransom continues his tradition of mind-screwing in a new direction, while proving that he has a better understanding of FREDing and gameplay than many people gave him credit for with his previous projects- from a technical/gameplay perspective in rivals War in Heaven for innovation.

My Recommendation? Try it! At worst you'll have lost a mere hour and you'll want to play some Cold Element or Deus ex Machina. At best... you might actually like it!

Well, I'm working on finishing up my agonization process to decide on fianl scores for these campaigns. Give me a day and I'll have them. Till then, enjoy!

Ok, Final Scores!!!

(A little context: 85% is “retail quality”. That means that the main FS1 and FS2 campaigns, with MediaVPs, would get 85s in everything but Technical Stuff, where they get 100s. In Plot, Gameplay, Aesthetics, and Overall, anything above 85% means an improvement on retail.)

SYNC:

PLOT: 80%
Scary, but little accomplishment for the player.

GAMEPLAY: 50%
Uninteresting, but at least easy.  :no:

AESTHETICS: 80%
Standard, no VA

TECHNICAL STUFF: 85%
A bit outdated, but works fine on 3.6.12

OVERALL: 70%
I thought it was ok, you may or may not like it.


TRANSCEND:

PLOT: 90%
Terrifying, Heroic, Unforgettable  :yes:

GAMEPLAY: 60%
Similar to Sync, bonus points for the last mission.

AESTHETICS: 90%
Mostly Retail stuff, extra points for great cutscenes and the VOICE  :yes:

TECHNICAL STUFF: 100%
Worked fine for me.

OVERALL: 85%
If you like scary, PLAY IT!!!


WINDMILLS:
Windmills is a mini-campaign, and as such I'm not going to give it a percentage score. (See my Operation Templar review; minicampaigns are too hard to score, too much apples-and-oranges effect). The plot is limited by the simulator setting, but guaranteed to make your head spin. Gameplay is in a whole different genera, but remains quite intuitive and can be fun. Aesthetics are abstract and eerie. Technically it the campaign itself seems to work pretty well. Overall, it's worth a try.

Whew! When did I start this thread? Has it been two weeks already? Anyway, I hope this was useful to people (some of you already said so :) ) and thanks to Ransom for giving us these campaigns to work with!

Coming up next: Ever heard of The Antagonist? It's a Total Conversion campaign that, to quote Battuta's Guide, has been "criminally underplayed". Whoever it was who didn't help advertise The Antagonist should be sentenced to play Second Great War Part 2 five times on Insane flying a Loki with Lampreys and Rockeyes (HARSH!). To free myself from this horrific punishment (which, now that I think of it, applies to most of the human race :P ) I'm going to make it the topic of my next review. Until then, thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 08:43:13 am by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline CT27

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
My opinion is largely the same as yours:  very interesting story, but not the most fun to play campaign. 

I would definitely recommend someone at least trying it, but it's not for everyone either.

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Yeah, this is one of the few campaigns where I'd strongly recommend playing on Very Easy, since it lets you breeze through the combat to get to the real meat of the experience.

 

Offline CT27

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Also:  These are some campaigns that you should play so you can say you've played them, but honestly...I don't really have a desire to download and play them again.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
@CT27:
I agree, some campaigns/books/movies should be watched/read/played so that you can say you did them- to be "cultured", I guess. That's why I read Shakespeare.

However, some of those things are enjoyable in their own right. If you want to be culturally literate around here, you should probably play Derelict and Silent Threat: Reborn, but both are a lot of fun in and of themselves.

Where Sync falls will depend on the player, to a greater extent than did Derelict or ST:R. Personally, I started it partially because I wanted to be able to say I did it, but nonetheless I enjoyed it enough that it was a game, not a chore. Some players might not enjoy it as much as I did. But if someone asked me if they should play it, I'd say, "Try it". You never know if you'll like it till you try.

@Mongoose: Yes, the meat of the experience is in the story, and the story is best enjoyed at a brisk pace. Unlike Age of Aquarius, where Forced Entry was so intense that I didn't mind having to try it four times, none of the missions have interesting enough gameplay to make them worth getting stuck on. To compensate for this, non of the missions are really hard enough to get stuck on in the first place- Sync's a fairly easy campaign. Easier than Transcend, for that matter- Sync's loadout is a good deal better, IMO.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 07:59:31 pm by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline CT27

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
@CT27:
I agree, some campaigns/books/movies should be watched/read/played so that you can say you did them- to be "cultured", I guess. That's why I read Shakespeare.

However, some of those things are enjoyable in their own right. If you want to be culturally literate around here, you should probably play Derelict and Silent Threat: Reborn, but both are a lot of fun in and of themselves.

Where Sync falls will depend on the player, to a greater extent than did Derelict or ST:R.

I agree with you that Derelict and STR should be played if you want to be a 'knowledgeable/cultured FS player'.  In and of themselves I also enjoyed them very much.

I guess what I'm saying is that I didn't really "enjoy" Transcend/Sync that much, but I also consider them an experience that people should try.  I have no doubt some would absolutely love them.  (However, I did enjoy Vassago's Dirge...since some have lumped those two together).
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 08:35:25 pm by CT27 »

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
@CT27:
I agree, some campaigns/books/movies should be watched/read/played so that you can say you did them- to be "cultured", I guess. That's why I read Shakespeare.

However, some of those things are enjoyable in their own right. If you want to be culturally literate around here, you should probably play Derelict and Silent Threat: Reborn, but both are a lot of fun in and of themselves.

Where Sync falls will depend on the player, to a greater extent than did Derelict or ST:R.

I agree with you that Derelict and STR should be played if you want to be a 'knowledgeable/cultured FS player'.  In and of themselves I also enjoyed them very much.

I guess what I'm saying is that I didn't really "enjoy" Transcend/Sync that much, but I also consider them an experience that people should try.  I have no doubt some would absolutely love them.  (However, I did enjoy Vassago's Dirge...since some have lumped those two together).

Vassago's Dirge is definitely a great campaign. Actually, I think VD seems to take some cues from Sync/Transcend (a good question for Axem sometime.) I considered reviewing it, but considering how hard Sync was to review, I think Vassago's Dirge would be even harder.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline CT27

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
One of the things I think that makes VD so interesting is that it attempts combines the storytelling elements of Transcend/Sync with more 'traditional' (Warzone, Derelict, etc.) type missions/gameplay.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Transcend section posted!

Hey Lorric, you're the one who got me to review these camapigns in the first place :). Any comment?
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Transcend section posted!

Hey Lorric, you're the one who got me to review these camapigns in the first place :). Any comment?
Heh. Hi. :)

I've been unusually busy lately. Don't worry, I won't forget you. Just like the other time, it took me a while but I got to you.

When the time is right, I will give this the attention it deserves.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series
Transcend section posted!

Hey Lorric, you're the one who got me to review these campaigns in the first place :). Any comment?
Heh. Hi. :)

I've been unusually busy lately. Don't worry, I won't forget you. Just like the other time, it took me a while but I got to you.

When the time is right, I will give this the attention it deserves.

Fair enough. Until then, play Sync/Transcend if you like!
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Quote
BACKGROUNDS: There's one early mission notable for its dramatic planetary background

As a side note, RA has made some stunning nebulae backgrounds for some missions - It was the first campaign I played that evoked such awesome sights.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Quote
BACKGROUNDS: There's one early mission notable for its dramatic planetary background

As a side note, RA has made some stunning nebulae backgrounds for some missions - It was the first campaign I played that evoked such awesome sights.

True! Sadly I missed a bunch of them by playing the first half sans-MediaVPs due to problems with the mod.ini
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline CT27

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Would you say "Homesick" is the same type of campaign as Transcend/Sync?  I think so, even though it leans slightly more toward traditional FS gameplay.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Would you say "Homesick" is the same type of campaign as Transcend/Sync?  I think so, even though it leans slightly more toward traditional FS gameplay.

I haven't actually played Homesick, unfortunately. I tried, but it's very out of date and not properly configured; it lack a mod.ini and other files needed by the launcher.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Would you say "Homesick" is the same type of campaign as Transcend/Sync?  I think so, even though it leans slightly more toward traditional FS gameplay.

I haven't actually played Homesick, unfortunately. I tried, but it's very out of date and not properly configured; it lack a mod.ini and other files needed by the launcher.

Try mine. I've attached it. It certainly has a mod.ini, and worked fine for me back when I was playing ver. 3.6.12.

[attachment deleted by ninja]

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Fun fact: Transcend actually had a voice project started for it; I was assigned to some role or other.  I don't know if anything ever came of it, since I never got to recording my lines, and as the months turned into years I never heard back from whoever was organizing it.  I'd still happily give my part a shot if it turns out that other people did finish theirs.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Ransom Series (Part 2!)
Would you say "Homesick" is the same type of campaign as Transcend/Sync?  I think so, even though it leans slightly more toward traditional FS gameplay.

I haven't actually played Homesick, unfortunately. I tried, but it's very out of date and not properly configured; it lack a mod.ini and other files needed by the launcher.

Try mine. I've attached it. It certainly has a mod.ini, and worked fine for me back when I was playing ver. 3.6.12.

Still not working. Sorry Lorric, not sure what the problem is. FSO starts fine but Homesick isn't in the campaign room.

EDIT: Wait... ok, the files in the .rar are set up very weirdly. First, there's a "Homesick" folder. inside that is a "data" folder, which contains the tables, and a second "Homesick" folder. All well and good. But the second "Homesick" folder contains a complete copy of the mod, including a second "data" folder with duplicated tables and a third "Homesick" folder that DOES contain the VPs, mod.ini, et cetera. Fractal folders! I'll try installing just the second "Homesick" folder and see what happens.

EDIT OF EDIT: It worked! Thanks Lorric! Just played the first mission, "Smart-Casual, Minimum Wage"; loved the briefing and dialogue. (and the recommendations... :P

EDITMANIA!!!: AAAAND it stopped working. Big chain of bugs with the first red-alert. Ghai!  :mad:

@Mongoose: Interesting, I didn't know that. Like I said, Transcend would need really good voice acting to do it justice, but it could be done.
Did you ever VA anything else I've played? (Blue Planet, Derelict, Warzone...)

MORE EDIT: Actually, I just beat "The Antagonist", and you were in the credits. That mod had good voice acting; who did you act?
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 12:52:39 pm by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance