Another "Which WC Game Is Your Favourite?" thread

YCDTD

Captain
Overall, I go with 3. 2 is a close second. Just started playing 4 again and find it rather mediocre; I really don't like the combat and the fact that the game takes place over a very short period of time - never felt invested in the new characters at all (Hawk, Panther etc.)
 

Pedro

Vice Admiral
In terms of storyline/ characters IV by a long shot, there's really no competition for me. Not only did I love new characters like Dekker and Sosa but I felt more personality actually came out of existing characters like Maniac and Vagabond than did in WC3. WC3 seemed filled with characters I loved to hate on my side, Flash, Cobra, even Tolwyn - he was more likeable as a bad guy. The fact that the story was very fast paced was also appealing as it kept each FMV feeling critical rather than just there to fill time.
One of the reasons I liked the character progression in WC4 was seeing everyone in a realtively relaxed state early on rather than jumping right into the middle of a war.

In terms of gameplay is Prophecy followed by WC1, the engine for WC3/4 always felt twitchy.
 
Last edited:

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Can I say Privateer? As an open-ended Sandbox, it becomes shallow pretty quickly after you've done everything, but to get to the point where it becomes boring is a long and glorious journey. I just love the locations, the atmosphere, the customisation and the quirky characters.

WC3 is a close second for me.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Can I say Privateer? As an open-ended Sandbox, it becomes shallow pretty quickly after you've done everything, but to get to the point where it becomes boring is a long and glorious journey. I just love the locations, the atmosphere, the customisation and the quirky characters.
I wouldn't say Privateer is my favourite WC game, though certainly, apart from Armada and SO, it's the one I spent the most time playing (and, ahem, I wasn't really playing SO when making UE and Standoff, so…). But I very strongly agree about atmosphere. It had tremendous atmosphere. I suppose some of that comes down to the game giving you a lot of time to get used to itself. The amount of time you spent in your average mining base in Privateer far, far exceeded the time we spent on the Tiger's Claw, Concordia, Victory, Midway and so on. In fact, depending on how long someone played Privateer, it may have exceeded the time spent on all those carriers combined. It's ironic, but repetition in some ways contributes to building atmosphere. Just compare Privateer and Privateer 2 - the latter was also quite a big time investment, but because its locations were so much more varied, you end up spending less time in each of them, whereas in Privateer… well, if every mining base looked the same, then the result was that they all get lumped together in our memory as one, much longer, experience.

And music. I recently came to the surprising realisation that of all the musical soundtracks of all the WC games, the one I enjoy listening the most is actually Privateer. The gameplay music especially is beautifully weird and messy - so much so, that UE/Standoff's professionally trained musician hated it with a passion :). Equally intriguing - to me - is the fact that Armada's music comes a close second for me. Both of them beat George Oldziey's orchestral tracks from WC3/4/P, even though those are wonderful in their own right. They also beat the WC1/2 soundtracks, which, the more I listen to them, the less interesting I find them, unfortunately.

What would my favourite WC game be these days? Very hard to say, because I've not played any of them for more than a decade (not counting Standoff, obviously - but you don't really play a game while making it, so that doesn't count either). I'm sure it definitely wouldn't be WC3 or WC4 - I never liked their visual style, and in the case of WC4, I very strongly disliked the one-missile-kills-you gameplay. My default answer to this question always used to be WC2, but I don't know how I'd feel about it now; I hate to say it, but perhaps at this point, WCP would win for me, in spite of its clearly inferior story. In terms of gameplay sophistication, WCP is the best there was in the series - the high-budget pinnacle of development, surpassing all the games before it, but also easily beating SO, which in terms of gameplay never really grew past that phase where it was originally just a WCP expansion.

What I can say is that there are two games I wish I could enjoy more - both in the sense of having more time to play them, and in the sense that I know their various flaws obscure their potential for greatness. Those two games are Privateer and Armada.
 

YCDTD

Captain
WC3 balanced the story, gameplay and FMV scenes the best I thought. WCP started out strong, but a game is only as good as it's antagonists and the Bug-Fish guys were lame. WC4 was too much about the FMV - and I agree with Quarto that the one missle kills were a departure from the series and certainly not in the spirit of WW2 in space.
 
I always felt that WCP was moving toward a "Vietnam in Space" motif, certainly the art direction on the fighters indicates it in my mind. I think the Nephilim could be good antagonists, but SO which is a bug-blasting power fantasy really stripped off the veneer of them as credible villains. I always wanted more of them though, I mean we had some 30+ years of the Kilrathi (in game years) so they were more fully fleshed out. WCP and SO take place over a very short period of time.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I always go back to the original... I think Secret Missions 2 specifically is where Wing Commander went from a game to a world for me. That brief campaign where the wonderful aesthetic of the original game crosses over with the more nuanced writing and world building from the Wing Commander II team seems just about perfect.

But Privateer is up there. Obviously there are 10,000 ways to improve Privateer today... but there were very few games that I spent so very, very much time on at the time. And almost none that I can go back to at any time and truly feel like I'm in my world.
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
Huge fan of them all XD. But for what ever reason the first one sticks with me the most, in all it's incarnations, PC, Super NES, Super Wing Commander on the old mac. Can't tell you why. If I want to get quick space combat fix. I just load it up and start playing.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Wing Commander II still takes the cake for me - I've always been more partial to the art style and music from the first two games and WC2 really draws it together with a well done (albeit predictable) story line. WC3 was also excellent for the impending sense of doom that permeated, which was a drastic change from the mostly upbeat "we're driving them back" theme from WC1 and 2.

To LOAF's point, I never had SM1 or SM2 as a kid, just the original Wing Commander base game. So I played WC2 all the way through before I ever played SM1 or SM2. Once I had played SM2, it was fascinating to see in retrospect how the developers had used SM2 as the testing ground for a lot of concepts that made it into WC2, especially much more fleshed out conversations between the pilots and introducing Jazz and Doomsday. I always took Jazz for just the typical asshole when I first played WC2 but his character is much stronger when you can see the subtle hints of resentment he drops after joining the Tiger's Claw immediately after Goddard.
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
WC4 was too much about the FMV - and I agree with Quarto that the one missle kills were a departure from the series and certainly not in the spirit of WW2 in space.
I actually really liked the gradual gameplay changes, with the game moving from WW2 in space to sort of ColdWar / Potential WW3 in space. More missiles, deadlier missiles, less gun usage. In WC1, guns were the primary mode of engagement and the focus shifted slowly but steadily until we got WC4.

Gameplay-wise, WC Prophecy and SecretOps were overall pretty great but I really disliked the way missiles were working in these games. They were too weak, too slow and to "fat". As such, I think my favorite is the WC3/4 gameplay, with WC3 balancing story and gameplay better.

One thing I really want to stress is how good Super Wing Commander (Mac) was. I never played the DOS originals and was pretty shocked when I attempted them 10 years ago and have not finished any of them to this day.


None of the games ever got capital ships (or bigger battles) right, the technology simply was not there. WCP obviously had the biggest advantage there but they sacrificed capship-on-capship engagements to their subsystem-gameplay.
 

YCDTD

Captain
I actually really liked the gradual gameplay changes, with the game moving from WW2 in space to sort of ColdWar / Potential WW3 in space. More missiles, deadlier missiles, less gun usage. In WC1, guns were the primary mode of engagement and the focus shifted slowly but steadily until we got WC4.

Gameplay-wise, WC Prophecy and SecretOps were overall pretty great but I really disliked the way missiles were working in these games. They were too weak, too slow and to "fat". As such, I think my favorite is the WC3/4 gameplay, with WC3 balancing story and gameplay better.

One thing I really want to stress is how good Super Wing Commander (Mac) was. I never played the DOS originals and was pretty shocked when I attempted them 10 years ago and have not finished any of them to this day.


None of the games ever got capital ships (or bigger battles) right, the technology simply was not there. WCP obviously had the biggest advantage there but they sacrificed capship-on-capship engagements to their subsystem-gameplay.
re: WCP/SO

Yes, the missles were strange in those games. At least you finally got a proper Interceptor aircraft; even if the Wasp ugly as $%&* and the Booster Pack idea was a little silly.

In regards to bigger battles I think you have to be careful; if they are too big then you might feel kind of insignificant and that detracts from the fun, yes? I think X-Wing and Tie Fighter did a pretty good job of this (IIRC).

Another thing - the bug-fishies are supposed to be this terrible threat but you rip through them like butter. It really killed the tension and fear in WCP after such a great intro scene.
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
I like a well designed large scale battle including capital ships, even though the Battle of Endor Syndrom is an issue if the designer fails to provide gameplay avenues. Freespace 2 is the king of the genre for exactly that reason.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
Privateer is close to perfect. Amazing atmosphere, beautiful soundtrack, good pacing, fair progression and engaging gameplay. Definitely one of my favourite games of all time.
 

yosh

Spaceman
Privateer is close to perfect. Amazing atmosphere, beautiful soundtrack, good pacing, fair progression and engaging gameplay. Definitely one of my favourite games of all time.
This exactly. I know many gamers who know and like privateer but don't care about the rest. They don't even know that exists something else.

The pinnacle of 2d sprites, beautiful destructible cockpits. The sound when you punched trough enemy shields and shots land on it's armor - priceless. I can recall them any time. Jump point animations, consistent art style... I love everything but one thing - Talons everywhere :)

Close second is WC2. I love sweet predictable stories about underdogs. I can name my character (never used to play as Blair in newer ones). And Angel - look how you have grown up 😍
 

Mindcrime

Commodore
4 for the overall best current experience and my favorite of all time. 1 would be my favorite if the in flight gameplay was faster and smoother.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Between 1 and 3 for the gameplay and mission design, 3 and 4 for the atmosphere...
 

drakopedia

Spaceman
I would pick Privateer 1 (P1) as my favorite with WC1 being a close second. Both, their own ways, build so many nice things with so few basic tools --the very essence of minimalism. Especially the open-ended story of P1 with the numerous trade routes and the subtle humor is very appealing to me. Plus blowing up Kamekhs :)

On the other hand, WC4 seems to me more like one of the many post-cold war action movies of the 90s, filled with typical film tropes of the era like: The evil faction with a super-weapon (ok, many super-weapons in this case), the player's superior who is actually a traitor, and a civilian government full or bureaucrats trying to cut military spending just to name a few. The fact that Mark Dacascos and Robert Rusler appear in WC4 as well as the hair style of Dr. Brody (the bioconvergence chemist) just reinforce this 90s action film feeling. These being said, I find the general idea of looking at a post-war Confederation exciting, since in my opinion the Kilrathi war is the type of event which can help bring humanity together. Moreover, both Malcom McDowell and the late John Spencer were simply great.
 
Top