What do you HATE (or at least dislike) in each Wing Commander game?

YCDTD

Commodore
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.
I agree in part. The CRT monitor thing is just brutal now. But I think the fact that they were limited in WC3 helped rather then hindered the game; they didn't attempt too much and that is probably for the best.

Yeah, the Hobbes thing never made sense. But, like you, it is so long ago that I go with it. Tolwyn becoming Hitler? Sorry, just don't buy it. Especially not the way they wrote him after the reveal. I just played one of the last missions where he contacts Blair from the Vesuvius and he is like making wisecracks. It is really out of character.

But the scene where Blair lets him go and Tolwyn hesitates, then turns to salute him for the last time, is very, very good. Notice that this scene had no dialogue.

It is like they couldn't decide if Tolwyn should be portrayed as a sympathetic/reluctant villain, or crazy, or more campy, so they bounced back and forth. Makes for a very strange experience.

Also - the scene with Hobbes "No one...ever...will truly understand what I did" is quite good. This is the real Ralgha opening up to Blair, but we don't know it yet.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
I think there are some harsh opinions in this thread! I thought WC3's acting was excellent.

Also - the scene with Hobbes "No one...ever...will truly understand what I did" is quite good. This is the real Ralgha opening up to Blair, but we don't know it yet.

Yes this strikes me every time. Of course the first time you play the game it doesn't mean much, if anything it's ambiguous - but with the knowledge that he's about to defect back to the Kilrathi, it's an excellent line.

I actually preferred Hobbes' defection to be without explanation. The fact that Confed had not one but two schemes on the go to completely destroy the Kilrathi homeworld was reason enough. We know he'd been leaking information, and I think the PC version handles the situation better by not going down the route of the 'personality overlay' business. There really was no need for that, the fact that Kilrah was being targeted for complete destruction was enough to eat at Hobbes' conscience.

In fact, if we pretend for a moment that there was no memory overlay, as far as the PC version goes, we don't even know if Hobbes had planned to defect at all. It might be that he was only trying to stop the complete destruction of Kilrah, but still wanted to fight on the side of Confed. Cobra catching him could well have forced him to defect.

It's been years since I read the novelisation and I can't remember how it's dealt with, I think it uses the memory overlay plot like in the console versions. Other than that I recall only that Hobbes is killed while attempting to flee, rather than later on.
 
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Jdawg

Commodore
Like i said i have no problem with hobbes defection, there is a good reason to defect for him but, personality overlay is just not one of them. It reduces all kilrathi to one note villains, and caricatures not characters.

As far as towlyn, his character's tone is a little wonky but it never took me out of the experience. I actually love the debate at the end, great change of pace and not a blow up the base/planet final mission.
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
I actually love the debate at the end, great change of pace and not a blow up the base/planet final mission.
Same here, I thought this was a great final idea in an overall weak final section. Since the engine is just not made for capital ship combat, the whole Vesuvius-sections were very very boring. But first that confrontation with Seether and then another "duel" outside of the cockpit, that certainly had an impact.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Long-time lurker, first time poster here. I recently ran through WC 1, 2, and 3 again after I played thru the Saga Freespace 2 mod and it still blows me away how well they hold up.

WC1: Maybe sounding a little fanboy-ish, but it was too short hahaha. I'll grant that asteroid fields and minefields are a little random to fight in given the 2D engine but the game still gains so much from having them there. IMO space shooters can definitely suffer from having boring, "samey" environments every mission but having to dodge around rocks and mines definitely gives missions a new dimension.

Otherwise its as good as gaming gets and I think the writing and story in the original and Secret Missions 1 and 2 are the most underrated of the series. Maybe your wingmen aren't super-deep characters but they have strong personalities that are reflected in their scripting, their portraits are well-done, and they each have a unique narrative voice. Likewise for the campaigns themselves - particularly the Secret Missions. You and the Tiger's claw make moves, the Kilrathi counter ... suspense is created as the relative advantage keeps shifting around. Finally you earn a victory that is if not "perfect" clearly feels like a real triumph that you the player were an integral part of.

WC2: The missions themselves. The art still holds up wonderfully and I love how much personality each of the ships you fly has (they were great in WC1 but if anything I think it's even better here). Torpedo runs while perhaps not working as intended since you can get a lock at extreme range but still add a great element to anti-capship fights as you still have to run in and dodge the antimatter guns. Likewise, the improved AI is welcome - I felt that in this one the Kilrathi were much better at using their ships' advantages against you.

Unfortunately the missions seem to keep getting more and more simplistic as the game goes on. For example WC1 had some very difficult and elaborate for the time escort missions which 2 barely has any of. It makes the game feel a lot more like a simple shooter and me the player feel less like a "real" combat pilot.

Also, I can take or leave the story. I understand Origin was trying for something more ambitious but I just don't think the 'who's the traitor' subplot really works since you never really get to know any of the many characters you meet. My response when the traitor was uncovered was basically a shrug - especially since its still kind of unclear to me how he was uncovered in the first place?

WC3: The story, the story, the story. The 3D engine was rock-solid and again the Kilrathi AI really seemed to take a leap up. Trying to nail a Darket before he afterburns away while his buddies hit you from behind was incredible. Cap ships have gotten quite a bit more dangerous and the balance between them and your fighters feels a lot better. Once again all the ships have so much personality even with the kinda primitive 3D graphics.

And then there's the story, it drives me up the wall because of what a missed opportunity it was...

Honestly, I blame "Fleet Action" for this - the writers of the game seem to have taken the book into account (it being mentioned in "Victory Streak" and everything) and I think that as a result they were written into a corner. Sure, the first batch of Kilrathi supercarriers were turned back, but there's still a half-dozen more in the final stages of construction in a shipyard far enough away from Confed to effectively be un-attackable. Meanwhile the Confed fleet was smashed at anchor, the government was revealed to be run by malicious incompetents and traitors, some of the most important Confed industry is smashed, and the Kilrathi seem to have shifted into "exterminate all humans and salt their planets" mode without a peep of internal dissent. How is the war not completely hopeless at this point?

So that's where they have to fall back on action/adventure cliches and an inexplicable recycling of the "traitor on board plot". The limited amount of movie time they had to tell the story felt completely inadequate for it so my impression of the plot was of a bunch of half-baked ideas kind of shifting around. Finally, you have the lone pilot taking out the load-bearing boss and the Kilrathi just say "oh wow we need to have peace - again (pinky swear this time!)" and everybody seems happy.

What really gets me about this is how well this could have worked with the whole "WW2 in space" that the games have used. The last year of the Pacific War was incredibly harsh and dramatic even though the outcome was no longer in doubt and the scars and repercussions of it are still with us. Even if the Japanese were a spent force by then, you had the largest naval operation in the war, the largest amphibious operation, operations that were both famous and controversial with the war nearly at an end, and incredible casualties both physical and mental.

From a gameplay perspective it could have been fun to imagine the desperate last-gasp wonder weapons of the Kilrathi that you would have had to fight as the fleet got closer to Kilrah and story-wise maybe there could have been real grappling with the issue of whether to use the Behemoth or Temblor Bomb (Why was this even a debate or question in the game? The Kilrathi were razing some of the biggest population and cultural centers of the human race and were explicit about carrying out genocide! Why are human soldiers not carrying and filling out "Revenge Diaries" of what they'll do to the Kilrathi like the Soviets in 1945??? The humans in this game are some of the strangest alien beings I've ever seen)
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Like i said i have no problem with hobbes defection, there is a good reason to defect for him but, personality overlay is just not one of them. It reduces all kilrathi to one note villains, and caricatures not characters.

As far as towlyn, his character's tone is a little wonky but it never took me out of the experience. I actually love the debate at the end, great change of pace and not a blow up the base/planet final mission.
I agree - what I love most about WC4 is that Origin had the guts to not go with just "the Kilrathi are gone, here's an EVEN BIGGER ALIEN MENACE", but actually run with what happened in the aftermath of the war. The characters continue to grow and we see people who have learned to move on in healthy (Paladin, Eisen, Panther) and unhealthy (Tolwyn, Hawk) ways, the antagonist is someone you've gotten to know pretty well with a vicious and insane plot that still feels believable...

... and all that paired up with an awesome space shooter!
 

Jdawg

Commodore
Geez, it looks like I'm the only WC4 "hater" here! 😜
Lol while i love wc4 i do have some issues with it.

The missile fest is a true issue, takes being a gunner away mostly in the game. Hopefully this is fixed in the remastered game.

The planet based missions are not executed well at all.

While promoting blair to captain of the ship was great, i do wish they would have pushed the choice outcome of what mission you chose even more.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I agree - what I love most about WC4 is that Origin had the guts to not go with just "the Kilrathi are gone, here's an EVEN BIGGER ALIEN MENACE", but actually run with what happened in the aftermath of the war. The characters continue to grow and we see people who have learned to move on in healthy (Paladin, Eisen, Panther) and unhealthy (Tolwyn, Hawk) ways, the antagonist is someone you've gotten to know pretty well with a vicious and insane plot that still feels believable...

... and all that paired up with an awesome space shooter!
Seconding this. It's sadly very rare to have Western media showing the aftermath of a war, especially a "victorious" one and how the world doesn't get to be happy and peaceful just because "the bad guy was killed by the good guys". In real life, it doesn't happen like that and it was an excellent move from CR to depict the utter mess everyone else had become after two generations worth of total war. TBH, the consequences of this could definitely have fueled more content, but I'm content that WC went this way where so many other franchises didn't.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Geez, it looks like I'm the only WC4 "hater" here! 😜
hahaha for what its worth I agree with the issues you brought up.

I think a big part of why I liked it was from relief - I had read the novel before playing the game and ended up very happy that they weren't trying to force a woman half my age on me.

Mark Hamill and Holly Gagnier are fine actors but lord that would have been uncomfortable to watch :)
 

YCDTD

Commodore
hahaha for what its worth I agree with the issues you brought up.

I think a big part of why I liked it was from relief - I had read the novel before playing the game and ended up very happy that they weren't trying to force a woman half my age on me.

Mark Hamill and Holly Gagnier are fine actors but lord that would have been uncomfortable to watch :)
The Catscratch/Sosa romance (that happens in what, a period of 10 days?) is not very convincing either!

But I think Blair is around 42 in WC4 and Sosa is meant to be around 27. What is the rule as the older man? Divide your age in half and add 7 years? So I think Blair is in the clear (but just barely!) :)
 

YCDTD

Commodore
Re: WC4. I think the game actually works better if you don't initially defect with Vagabond, Eisen, and Maniac. This lets you really see the evil that is creeping into Confed. I don't think you have enough reason or seen enough evidence to defect at the first opportunity.

However, that leads to a shorter stay on the Intrepid, so I usually defect at the first spot anyway. Plus you get Vagabonds funeral.
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
Seconding this. It's sadly very rare to have Western media showing the aftermath of a war, especially a "victorious" one and how the world doesn't get to be happy and peaceful just because "the bad guy was killed by the good guys". In real life, it doesn't happen like that and it was an excellent move from CR to depict the utter mess everyone else had become after two generations worth of total war. TBH, the consequences of this could definitely have fueled more content, but I'm content that WC went this way where so many other franchises didn't.
I agree, it always reminds me of the direction Mobile Suit Gundam took with Zeta Gundam and it is rare to see in Western media like you said, especially military science fiction. Wars don't have happy endings, they have far reaching consequences and political fallout and a war of this magnitude would of course leave humanity with deep, dark scars.

But yeah, Wing Commander 2 and 4 are the high points of the series for me. I don't have as much fun playing 1 as I used to, 3's story has gotten rougher with time and Prophecy is just sort of there. Though I do still enjoy all of them for their strengths, not to sound too negative as my criticism comes from a place of love. 1 still has the best atmosphere in the series for me, 3 is still an all around solid if campy experience and Prophecy's gameplay remains very fun.
 
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Jdawg

Commodore
The Catscratch/Sosa romance (that happens in what, a period of 10 days?) is not very convincing either!

But I think Blair is around 42 in WC4 and Sosa is meant to be around 27. What is the rule as the older man? Divide your age in half and add 7 years? So I think Blair is in the clear (but just barely!) :)
The cat scratch and sosa "romance" doesnt bother me because it's more cute than serious. I actually agree with you on the defection part, if you stay with confed you get a couple of really awesome scenes, especially with the new captain who is a great actor. I wish he was in the game more before he gets killed by Seether.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
I agree, it always reminds me of the direction Mobile Suit Gundam took with Zeta Gundam and it is rare to see in Western media like you said, especially military science fiction. Wars don't have happy endings, they have far reaching consequences and political fallout and a war of this magnitude would of course leave humanity with deep, dark scars.

But yeah, Wing Commander 2 and 4 are the high points of the series for me. I don't have as much fun playing 1 as I used to, 3's story has gotten rougher with time and Prophecy is just sort of there. Though I do still enjoy all of them for their strengths, not to sound too negative as my criticism comes from a place of love. 1 still has the best atmosphere in the series for me, 3 is still an all around solid if campy experience and Prophecy's gameplay remains very fun.
Agree I think two is overall the best game but four has the best story by far to me. The problem with three also is it just doesn't really feel like a war and I realize it's because of the Technology limitations of the time but it always seemed like one little Skirmish after another and not a real war. That is one thing Wing Commander Saga really did well, it felt like a conflict between two entire species and Nations.

One other Trope I feel like happens one too many times, is the game blowing up your Homebase each game. first it was the tiger claw then it was the Concordia. It reminds me of Star Trek now, they keep blowing up the Enterprise every other episode or movie now. LOL. Doing that repeatedly loses the impact of it happening.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
The cat scratch and sosa "romance" doesnt bother me because it's more cute than serious. I actually agree with you on the defection part, if you stay with confed you get a couple of really awesome scenes, especially with the new captain who is a great actor. I wish he was in the game more before he gets killed by Seether.
Oh yeah Captain Paulson was such a great slimeball. I loved how in the book he also looked like the holomovie image of the dashing carrier skipper.

Coming off Fortschen's style where the bad guys were seemed to always be fat, bald, or have a high-pitched voice (if they were a man) that was such a welcome change of pace. Honestly, I wonder if Paulson's nazi-riffic 'pep talk' to Blair in the novel was the co-author, Ben Ohlander, pushing back against some of the grosser themes of "End Run" and "Fleet Action".
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
One other Trope I feel like happens one too many times, is the game blowing up your Homebase each game. first it was the tiger claw then it was the Concordia. It reminds me of Star Trek now, they keep blowing up the Enterprise every other episode or movie now. LOL

The Tiger's Claw blowing up worked for WC2 because your character arc was centered around its destruction. The Concordia being destroyed was part of what I said earlier about WC3 following 2's story beats but worse.

It feels like they just wanted an excuse to not have the Concordia because they wouldn't be able to model it in WC3's engine but the damage it took in Fleet Action would have been a good enough excuse to sideline the ship. The opening scene could have been Blair transferring off of the crippled Concordia instead. That would have set the tone of the war going south just as well. I guess that wasn't dramatic enough though!
 
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MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
The Tiger's Claw blowing up worked for WC2 because your character arc was centered around its destruction. The Concordia being destroyed was part of what I said earlier about WC3 following 2's story beats but worse.

It feels like they just wanted an excuse to not have the Concordia because they wouldn't be able to model it in WC3's engine but the damage it took in Fleet Action would have been a good enough excuse to sideline the ship. The opening scene could have been Blair transferring off of the crippled Concordia instead. That would have set the tone of the war going south just as well. I guess that wasn't dramatic enough though!
It also seems rough on all the poor folks who were on the ship, which implied to have been lost with all hands right? I understand that they want to show war and death but when it happens all the time to the story's anonymous "extras" and the heroes never show a reaction the resulting message is opposite of what the writers were going for. I had the same complaint about "The Last Jedi" as well.

I kind of feel the same way about poor Angel. She's a great character who's given stuff to do in WC2, then in the third she basically exists to be killed off and make Blair sad for a few minutes before he's on the hunt for a rebound fling. It makes sense that the writers and the game saw her as basically a disposable extra, but even the characters seem to feel the same way.
 
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