I think you misread my intention there, when I heard of the novell featuring them flying older WC1/2 era fighters, I wanted to have flown a WC1 rapier, raptor or even a scimitar with some makeshift upgrades.Well the Vindicator had Tachyon Cannons - state of the art tech at the time.
I think the plot for Wing Commander 2 and its expansions actually hold up nicely for the time, that they were written in. My only real complaint is once again I think there is one too many unlikable characters. That trope was taken to the extreme in Wing Commander 3.WC1: The slowdown whenever there's several ships on the screen. The controls and gameplay gets harder to go back to with each passing year, especially escort missions. The Secret Missions packs are more frustrating than fun.
WC2: Torpedo runs were a neat idea but aren't that interesting of fun. The writing was amazing to me as a kid but hasn't really held up. Still my favorite game but with rose-tinted nostalgia goggles.
WC3: Reusing the traitor subplot and doing Hobbes dirty in the process. Skipper missiles. Planetary missions.
WC4: Planetary missions again. Did Tolwyn dirty this time but at least the plot was better written. Balance issues, particularly OP missiles.
Prophecy: Disappointing story and boring adversaries. The gameplay is fun but something about it that I can't articulate at the moment feels off.
Well i did like shadow, hobbes, and angel in wc2. I hated most of the cast in wc3, maniac was one note, cobra was unlikeable, hobbes being a trope, flint constantly disobeying orders, flash being a douche.I think the writing in the expansions is a step up from the main game. I actually tried to talk a friend who played the game for the first time recently into giving them a shot for that reason.
The base game plot rubs me the wrong way these days. Blair nailing his superior officer is cringey (though not as much as the "choose your girlfriend" scene in WC3 and now you can nail someone serving under you instead, great). Everyone being a dick to you, and the handful of Tiger's Claw pilots who still like you won't even stand up for you except for Paladin, really starts to get tiresome to the point where it's hard to believe Tolwyn would keep Blair around no matter how talented he is since he just seems to be a boat anchor weighing down the squadron's morale. It's also full of extreme cliches like Shadow's death right before retirement, though they were also self-aware of their cheese (Specialist McGuffin).
It's not awful, I'm still a huge fan and as I said it's my favorite of the series and one of my favorite games of all time. It's just amusing to look back at what was a formative, mind-blowing experience for me and seeing how silly it really was. I actually do prefer it to Wing Commander III which has the same story beats but tells them worse and adds ridiculous super weapons to make it more Star Wars.
I just realized I forgot Privateer so...
Privateer: Inverted difficulty curve. It's a slog at the beginning and too easy after that.
After that great intro too...big letdown.It's been a while so my opinions might change if I fire it up again but I really liked the Confed as the bad guys angle of WC4. I like most of the WC4 sets though quality certainly varies. I remember the action scenes on the flight deck being pretty well done though I'm sure it feels a lot more hammy today.
Prophecy though I completely agree. I could never muster an ounce of interest for the Nephilim.
Yeah I would say I have to totally disagree with you on the quality of wing Commander 4. it still holds up remarkably well today.the sets looks about as good as the sets for Battlestar Galactica that came out in the early 2000s and that's one of my favorite sci-fi shows ever. The kilrathi Muppets do look bad however. I also really love the angle they took with wing Commander 4 and I thought everybody's motivations made sense even tolwyn. Obviously I don't agree with his observations on how to keep human kind prepared remotely; but he was not wrong considering an even more powerful species attacked within what 5-10 years later??. I also think everybody's acting vastly improved over wc3, probably because they could see what the sets actually looked like and because everybody knew their characters betterI think a story is only as good as the antagonists, and that is where WC4 and WCP fail for me. I also liked the very war and somewhat unkempt version of Blair from WC3. He really looked worn out by the war.
Oddly enough I now find the switch to real sets actually makes WC4 seem more dated then WC3.
Exactly and I have the exact opposite reaction to Hobbes in wc3. they took all the character agency and development away from a him that was built in Wing Commander 2 and the expansions (I think he was the most fleshed-out character in Wing commander 2 as matter of fact). They made him nothing more than a puppet/trope for the bad guys in wing 3 and I think it was a lame. I'm not even totally against him being the traitor but it's the Manchurian candidate subplot that just makes me roll my eyes so badly.From a strictly character point of view I don't find WC4 Tolwyn too unbelievable either. After decades of fighting a war where humanity was constantly hanging on by a thread and dealing with a government that had lost its will to fight it's not surprising that he went off the deep end in wanting to harden the species for the future to prevent something like the Kilrathi war from ever happening again. I didn't love the direction personally but that doesn't mean I don't think it was well done.
Correct there's so many different ways to handle that with hobbes and they chose the most dumbed down way, just so they could use the tagline Heart Of The Tiger. I hate the line he says to blair on the ps1 version of the game, something akin to the hobbes you knew never exsisted. So basically his whole character arc from wc2 means nothing. Its like in movies or a tv where a character wakes up after a scene, basically its the writers of that show going nevermind about that whole plot point, that whole scene or episode was just a dream sequence. Such lazy writing.The frustrating thing about Hobbes is it didn't have to be complicated. They were planning on blowing up Kilrah after all. That easily could have been one step too far for Hobbes, not wanting to see his homeworld destroyed and so many civilians murdered. It would have been in keeping with his character considering he defected because of the killing of innocents in the first place and it would have added an emotional gut punch to your actions. I never really felt like they managed to get across the gravity of what you're actually doing when you destroy an entire inhabited planet.
They were basically bringing Wing Commander's big WWII Pacific Theatre-in-space analogy to its logical conclusion with the dropping of the T-Bomb and I think Hobbes would have been the perfect lens to view it through. I get that they wanted to end the game on a triumphant note rather than a somber, serious one but I still feel like it was a missed opportunity to bring Hobbes full circle and give his character a satisfying arc.
The "personality overlay" thing just completely destroys Hobbes and even removes depth from the Kilrathi as a species since it makes it seem like they're all simply "the bad guys" no matter what. Since it's not even in the PC version I just pretend it doesn't exist and insert my own head-canon.
The main thing that kills it for me in WC4 is the rounded CRT-based monitors. But overall, the production values were great - remember this was a game, games didn't spend big budgets on film sets and haven't since. The main issue with WC3's rendered sets was the lack of camera movement, they were severely limited as a result of that even though that approach saved a lot of money.