Spoony Experiment's Privateer 2 review

Glabro

Spaceman
I just saw this review, and suffice it to say that Spoony was
very negative of the game, citing numerous problems with AI
(one pirate was unable to destroy his ship standing still for 35 minutes,
the constant respawning enemies etc.).

Check out the review at : http://spoonyexperiment.com/

I haven't actually played the game yet, so I'd like to hear it from you:
is it as bad as he puts it, or is he just massively let down?
 

JasonRocZ

Vice Admiral
Actually he was pretty good with his review....I remember everything that he was saying....Awhile back I tried to play Priv 2 on my pc in dosbox...it wasn't happenin....but the cinematics are really cool, and I do dig the story....even if it's circa 100+ years ahead on WC1. I think a few problems with Priv 2 was that it wasn't done ALL in house at Origin but a 2 locations... Origin did something and then a sister office (Can't remember what country it was in) did the rest
 

Glabro

Spaceman
Actually he was pretty good with his review....I remember everything that he was saying....Awhile back I tried to play Priv 2 on my pc in dosbox...it wasn't happenin....but the cinematics are really cool, and I do dig the story....even if it's circa 100+ years ahead on WC1
What elements from the Wing Commander setting are present in the game?
 

JasonRocZ

Vice Admiral
What elements from the Wing Commander setting are present in the game?
I think there's a little mission blurb about "Confed".... That's pretty much it I think....But I can't remember what it was...Other than that There isn't much references to any of Wing Commander Series....also..."WC Arena" has a few blurbs about a new Laser type "the Kraven" which was Arenas attempt at tieing in the Priv 2 setting. It would seem more like Priv 2 is set in a distant from Confed controlled areas (could be a reason why you don't hear much about Confed)...in the "Tri-System Area" which Priv 2 takes place.

As far as gameplay is concerned it's not really that bad of a game...it's a lil challenging at first, but...it's not that bad of a game. I think the strange story line is rather entertaining to be honest...but it does have it's "gameflow issues" which include some gameplay issues (strange graphic problems, wingman comm can get a lil annoying)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I think a few problems with Priv 2 was that it wasn't done ALL in house at Origin but a 2 locations... Origin did something and then a sister office (Can't remember what country it was in) did the rest
Well, that's not exactly true. It was pretty much all done out of Origin's UK office with the exception of some QA (Warthog?). They're pretty much the exact same team that went on to make Starlancer (hence why Starlancer combat feels more like Priv2 than WC4). In general it's a good game with a cool story and stylish cutscenes, but it has some serious balancing issues and could have used a couple of extra months before making it out the door.

What elements from the Wing Commander setting are present in the game?
Mostly it's flavor text and references in news blurbs. It doesn't take place in confed space and is 100 years or so after WC4/P and is in a remote corner of the galaxy, so it realistictly doesn't tie in much to the actual storylines and events of the Regular WC games.
 

JasonRocZ

Vice Admiral
Well, that's not exactly true. It was pretty much all done out of Origin's UK office with the exception of some QA (Warthog?). They're pretty much the exact same team that went on to make Starlancer (hence why Starlancer combat feels more like Priv2 than WC4).
I was close but no cigar (I knew it was something along those lines) :p
 

Deacan

Commodore
I just saw this review, and suffice it to say that Spoony was
very negative of the game, citing numerous problems with AI
(one pirate was unable to destroy his ship standing still for 35 minutes,
the constant respawning enemies etc.).

I haven't actually played the game yet, so I'd like to hear it from you:
is it as bad as he puts it, or is he just massively let down?
...oh my godness... Well, to be fair, I watched the review, but I was thinking: what the f...?
I get the game in 1996 (just 2 days after my birthday happens!), it run stable on my pc (a Pentium 133MHz...).
Crashes? Zero.
Joystick? No probs, only after some time (meaning: 5 months day-by-day-playing) the calibration was out of work, so I was forced to by a new one.
The AI? Yes, its stupid, no question. But I'm still a bit confused: if I was parking my fighter in outer space AND a krell, a vendetta or wtf ever was present it took just a few moments for them to rip away my shields and hull.

So... Why did his game seems so different to mine?

Even today, with a AMD (2200MHz, an old FX5200 and 1,5 gig RAM the game works even without the dosbox (I played a bit around, the crashed starts with an GT7800 on board...), just using the Dos-to-Windows patch.

And: Yes, I love the game.

Just my 2 cents...
 

Glabro

Spaceman
Maybe he was unpatched? No....that's not possible for Spoony.

I guess I'll have to try it out anyway, if I can find it.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
...oh my godness... Well, to be fair, I watched the review, but I was thinking: what the f...?
I get the game in 1996 (just 2 days after my birthday happens!), it run stable on my pc (a Pentium 133MHz...).
Crashes? Zero.
Joystick? No probs, only after some time (meaning: 5 months day-by-day-playing) the calibration was out of work, so I was forced to by a new one.
The AI? Yes, its stupid, no question. But I'm still a bit confused: if I was parking my fighter in outer space AND a krell, a vendetta or wtf ever was present it took just a few moments for them to rip away my shields and hull.

So... Why did his game seems so different to mine?

Even today, with a AMD (2200MHz, an old FX5200 and 1,5 gig RAM the game works even without the dosbox (I played a bit around, the crashed starts with an GT7800 on board...), just using the Dos-to-Windows patch.

And: Yes, I love the game.

Just my 2 cents...
Well, It took a long time for me to figure this out for whatever reason... No matter what I did the game would lock up dosbox after the first video and even my whole PC would slow down if I tried to tab out... basically I have to put an extra swith in the CD-rom line of the dosbox config. Some of the other P2 problems are solved with the various patches but dosbox seems to do a fine job of P2 over all. The windows upgrade never really worked for me in WinXP or Vista.

Crashes and whatnot when configured correctly in Dosbox shouldn't be a big issue. Things like quirky balancing and AI will be there no matter how you have it configured untill someone starts hacking it like we've been doing with Secret ops.
 

Kaunisto

Rear Admiral
I enjoyed P2. While the plot isn't that great, the actors are and that's enough to make it about the best movie-in-game of 90's.
I'd say the battles are about as much fun as WC3 - which is my least favourite WC, but still a fine game. The business system is better than in first Privateer and the world generally more interesting.

If P1 wasn't in WC setting, I'd call P2 better of the two.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I haven't actually played the game yet, so I'd like to hear it from you: is it as bad as he puts it, or is he just massively let down?
Jeers to the modern 'look how snarky I am!' schtick in these reviews--mark my words, we'll look back on it in twenty years and wince...

That said: Privateer 2's game mechanics do have some clear problems, one of which really harms the game.

The faction system is broken, which goes on to break the random encounters generation. The original Privateer had a great running faction system which based alliances on who you were killing, who you were helping and so forth. Shoot down a Kilrathi and that's a point in your favor for the Confederation, shoot down a militia pilot and the pirates might not be hostile. You could also beg your way out of a tight spot with particular taunts.

Privateer 2 has none of this. The game has five distinct pirate clans which are theoretically fighting each other in interesting ways... but there's no way any of them are ever your friends and there's no way not to fight them if you happen across then randomly. You can't jump out when an enemy is nearby and because of the game's big beautiful world enemies can pop in over and over and over while you're just trying to get somewhere. It also has a Wing Commander 2-style system for making the military and civilians your enemies. Land a stray shot or two on a CIS ship and suddenly you have to kill *everyone* to get anywhere. None of this is permanent, either--land and take off and the good guys are suddenly your pals again.

Other "Privateer" elements have a distressingly thin veneer, too. The economy isn't interesting because there's no penalty for making a bad choice-- ships and guns sell for what you paid for them, so you can just keep ramping up instead of carefully planning for your dream ship. It reeks of someone wanting to make a game easier and in the process forgetting that that doesn't make it as fun.

BUT: when the team wasn't making Privateer they were making something amazing.

The Privateer 2 world is lush and beautiful and fleshed out in so many strange ways. It has such an unusual and detailed and far-ranging style for art and so much work went into building a background world that's so distinct and alive and funny and weird. And the FMV! With apologies to Chris Roberts, The Darkening's FMV is the high point of the Wing Commander series... full of strange and elaborate sets and amazing actors and so much character you might choke on it.

And other parts of the game were so impossibly ahead of other Wing Commanders that it was hard to believe. The 3D engine with lighting would run smoothly on a 486 and put fifty ships in a battle at the same time... while Wing Commander IV was taking ten minutes to load a mission in VGA mode on the same system.

So I suppose it's a tragic thing, ultimately--with a little bit more polish to the mechanics it would be a... cult classic at least, an absolute classic if there's any justice in the universe.
 

Darth Servo

Spaceman
I won't ever sugar coat anything. P2 was a disappointment. Of all the WC games, its probably at the bottom of the list. Here is my list of complaints:

  • The altered keyboard controls
  • No subtitles
  • Takes forever to land anywhere
  • Jumping from nav point to nav point instead of the autopilot. WTF? This is WC, not Star Wars.
  • Takes too many shots to destroy anything. Combat way to slow for a WC game
  • Had nothing to do with the WC universe beyond the overall genre of space dog fighting
  • WC was great for characters from a wide range of nationalities. P2 seemed like everyone and their dog was British.

Just off the top of my head.

I will also point out to the author of the news article on this site though that criticism is a GOOD thing. Its when fans become mindless followers of a franchises that the people in charge of said franchise really cut corners and the franchise goes downhill. This was part of what killed the Star Trek franchise. A certain element of the fan base decided, "we'll eat up anything with the 'Trek' name on it" and the producers realize it. Why should they bust their butts making quality products when their customers will buy it no matter what low-grade junk they make? Seems to be a problem with the entertainment industry in general.

Criticism is also good because it shows someone is THINKING.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
There's probably a better example than Star Trek fans, whose cynical postmodern internetyness got their show cancelled.

Or maybe there isn't.
 

Silanda

Captain
There's probably a better example than Star Trek fans, whose cynical postmodern internetyness got their show cancelled.
No it wasn't fan cynicism that did it, Enterprise was canned because it was a bland retread of a bland retread that couldn't hold its viewers. I count myself as a Star Trek fan and I have been all of my life, and I view Deep Space 9 as one of the best series ever and one where it was a disaster to miss a single episode. Enterprise though? I made it through about half of the first season before I realised I didn't give a damn whether I watched it or not. I didn't start watching again until the final season. If it had actually been good from the start, rather than taking three seasons to become anywhere near approaching decent, it would have survived for its proper length. Plus, as far as the movies went: Insurrection was like a dull episode of TNG, and Nemesis was a fairly poor attempt at remaking Wrath of Khan.

IMHO Darth Servo is right with regards to Star Trek, the producers assumed that if they just played things safe and didn't get too creative the fans would keep eating it up. That worked to an extent with Voyager, but by the time Nemesis and Enterprise rolled around even fans were sick of it. Why shouldn't the fans have been cynical when they were being taken for granted?

As for Privateer 2, I'm playing through it now and I'm finding it a bit of a mixed bag. I actually like the mouse control in this one, it's smooth and works really well. On the other hand I'm also finding it quite frustrating, it's easy to die and it's very easy to accidentally strafe military ships which, when cominbed with the annoying fact that all fights are to the death, means that it is quite easy to get into a situation where your crappy little shiple with puny guns is pitted against a military destroyer. Not good.

I think Spoony's review was entertaining but not completely fair. I'm assuming he hasn't patched the game given that I'm not experiencing the problems he was, and he really should have. Also, the values of commodities do change where he said that they don't. Well that's just my $0.02 for now.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
No it wasn't fan cynicism that did it, Enterprise was canned because it was a bland retread of a bland retread that couldn't hold its viewers. I count myself as a Star Trek fan and I have been all of my life, and I view Deep Space 9 as one of the best series ever and one where it was a disaster to miss a single episode. Enterprise though? I made it through about half of the first season before I realised I didn't give a damn whether I watched it or not. I didn't start watching again until the final season. If it had actually been good from the start, rather than taking three seasons to become anywhere near approaching decent, it would have survived for its proper length.
We're talking about Star Trek here. TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise ALL did bigger and better things after the first few years. If anything, Enterprise's take on boldy going where no man had gone before in the first season or two was refreshing.

IMHO Darth Servo is right with regards to Star Trek, the producers assumed that if they just played things safe and didn't get too creative the fans would keep eating it up. Why shouldn't the fans have been cynical when they were being taken for granted?
I think this entire position is an ignorant griping point for the masses of internet people who don't personally like how something went and need to try to rationalize it in their heads and point a finger. There's not really some fat cat in an office tower directing everybody to be boring so he can make a profit. For the most part, movie makers, game publishers, etc. aren't idiots. They're real people like us, and they have millions of dollars on the line, so they're researching and trying harder than anybody to make their product the best it can be. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

As for Privateer 2, I'm playing through it now and I'm finding it a bit of a mixed bag. I actually like the mouse control in this one, it's smooth and works really well. On the other hand I'm also finding it quite frustrating, it's easy to die and it's very easy to accidentally strafe military ships which, when cominbed with the annoying fact that all fights are to the death, means that it is quite easy to get into a situation where your crappy little shiple with puny guns is pitted against a military destroyer. Not good.

I think Spoony's review was entertaining but not completely fair. I'm assuming he hasn't patched the game given that I'm not experiencing the problems he was, and he really should have. Also, the values of commodities do change where he said that they don't. Well that's just my $0.02 for now.
I think the frustrating parts you're up against now will mostly lessen as you improve at the game, upgrade your ship and find out what works well. This is why we're here, and by the end of the game (after you're exposed to the crazy unique setting more), hopefully you'll be a big fan. There's no mindless followers of the franchise here, but there are a lot of people who work hard to counter the RAGE AGAINST THE THING mentality so common on the internet. If that just ran rampant, it'd have the terribly unfortunate effect of turning off tons of people before they had a chance to try things we think are great.
 

Silanda

Captain
We're talking about Star Trek here. TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise ALL did bigger and better things after the first few years. If anything, Enterprise's take on boldy going where no man had gone before in the first season or two was refreshing.
IMHO there was nothing bold about the way Enterprise did things. It pretty much used the same formula as TNG and Voyager, fine for 1987 but by 2001 it was a little tired. It played things far too safely and took virtually everything from ship design to technical Mcguffins to the lack of story arcs, straight from the TNG/Voyager playbook. It took no risks. Yes the other series also took a while to get going, but this was the fourth Star Trek series in recent times to be created. They shouldn't have needed time to warm up by that point. If totally original series can come out firing, why couldn't this?


I think this entire position is an ignorant griping point for the masses of internet people who don't personally like how something went and need to try to rationalize it in their heads and point a finger. There's not really some fat cat in an office tower directing everybody to be boring so he can make a profit. For the most part, movie makers, game publishers, etc. aren't idiots. They're real people like us, and they have millions of dollars on the line, so they're researching and trying harder than anybody to make their product the best it can be. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
I don't think I really agree, at least I don't think that is always true. When a lot of money is on the line the people in charge often go for what is perceived as safest rather than best. This is true in the creative industries as well as in general business. They don't intend to make things boring or stale, that is just a consequence of their actions when they aren't prepared to take risks, to gamble, in order to keep things fresh. It doesn't make them evil, and when you are in charge of a franchise that is worth millions to your employer it is even understandable, just overly conservative. It also doesn't help creatively when the same people are in charge continuously for two decades.

If Enterprise had tried something truly new and simply been bad I wouldn't criticise the people in charge, I just don't believe it tried anything really original.
Why was J J Abrams Star Trek a big success while Enterprise and Nemesis bombed? Because it tried something different in order to engage with new viewers and, while I know some fans don't like it, I believe it has reinvigorated the franchise.

I think the frustrating parts you're up against now will mostly lessen as you improve at the game, upgrade your ship and find out what works well. This is why we're here, and by the end of the game (after you're exposed to the crazy unique setting more), hopefully you'll be a big fan. There's no mindless followers of the franchise here, but there are a lot of people who work hard to counter the RAGE AGAINST THE THING mentality so common on the internet. If that just ran rampant, it'd have the terribly unfortunate effect of turning off tons of people before they had a chance to try things we think are great.
Well, I'm playing it a lot so I'm taking that as a sign that I'm liking it. :) It's not perfect but then what is?
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
IMHO there was nothing bold about the way Enterprise did things. It pretty much used the same formula as TNG and Voyager
Which should show how high your ability to understand things is. Enterprise is The Right Stuff for Star Trek. Its a very clever, very unusual way to do things - the show is the biggest departure from the material the franchise ever saw.

Why was J J Abrams Star Trek a big success while Enterprise and Nemesis bombed? Because it tried something different in order to engage with new viewers and, while I know some fans don't like it, I believe it has reinvigorated the franchise.
Because Nemesis was a load of crap. Screenwriter Logan didn't know the material - how can an admitted TNG fan leave mention of Lore out of a script that revolves around a new Soong android? - , the director has no concept of what Star Trek is (just listen to his commentary track!) and the villian is a complete waste - though I'd argue if he's any better or worse than Nero in the last movie was.

(Michael Reeves once complained that the reason the Burton/Schumacher Batman movies sucked was because they were movies about the villians. People showed up to see what stupid puns they'd say and what the crime was - not to see the main character. I absolutely agree - and I think thats a major problem with some Trek films too.)

The reason the newest movie did better wasn't because it did anything different - even saying that is stupid enough, yeesh - but that it rebooted the franchise so new people didn't have to know what happened in Seasons 1, 4 or 7 of TNG to pick up on why Picard was flirting with Crusher or any other number of nuances. Its a fresh start with the *characters*, not the material or method.
 

Silanda

Captain
Which should show how high your ability to understand things is.
Is that the best you've got, insults? I could give a detailed breakdown of the similarities, but I'm really not going to waste my time on you.

As for the new Star Trek movie, that was more than just reboot. It was a different type of film both with regards to storytelling and visual style. The generally audience didn't just avoid Star Trek movies because they didn't know the backstory, they avoided them because Star Trek had become known as being nerdy and filled with mindless technobabble instead of good story telling and characterisation. A reputation that latter series had fostered. The new film broke away from these preconceptions to be seen widely as a fun scifi/action film. It wasn't a conincidence that the previous highest grossing Star Trek movie (IV) had also been the one that was furthest away from being stereotypical scifi.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Is that the best you've got, insults? I could give a detailed breakdown of the similarities, but I'm really not going to waste my time on you.
And then here you go responding to me anyway. It appears my statement of you wasn't so much an insult as a very good observation.

As for the new Star Trek movie, that was more than just reboot. It was a different type of film both with regards to storytelling and visual style.
No, it really wasn't. I mean, maybe it was a little more action oriented than other Trek films but it by no means was the huge departure you're claiming it to be. Star Trek IV was also something of a departure - and was a huge hit - but it still had Klingon ships and sci-fi babble and all the crap you cite as evidence. So does this movie.

Visual style and production design doesn't mean today what it meant 30 years ago. No one cares about what anything looks like really. Case in point: the Romulan ship in the latest movie. The only people who might've been bothered with its look are the people already familiar with Trek; ditto the Jellyfish craft Spock flies. All they are is wallpaper to everyone else.

Unless by "visual style" you're talking about the horrible lens flare effects and that nonsense. Camerawork and the like was different in every movie if you know where to look. Sometimes its more overt than others though.

The generally audience didn't just avoid Star Trek movies because they didn't know the backstory, they avoided them because Star Trek had become known as being nerdy and filled with mindless technobabble instead of good story telling and characterisation.
Yeah, this horrible internet habit of throwing statements at people's feet and expect people to stroke their chins and agree with you like you're some kind of genius - that ain't how this board works.

Worse still, you're preaching damnation to the choir. Many of the people here are big Star Trek fans and we're fans with the full knowledge of these flaws you so haplessly point out. Complaining about technobabble? Welcome to 1990. Way to be 20 years behind the curve, buddy.

Good story telling happened in all the series though. TNG had Measure Of A Man, Family, Yesterday's Enterprise... DS9 had The Visitor, The Die Is Cast, Duet... Enterprise had Regeneration, These Are The Voyages, Into A Mirror Darkly... (I'm leaving off Voyager since I cannot comment on it - I don't have it on DVD). Every show had its good parts and bad parts. Same thing with everythng else, ever.
 
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