Freespace - The Great War (also known as Descent: Freespace, Conflict: Freespace and FS1) is a game by Volition and published by Interplay in 1998. This was played on Linux using the FSPORT that is supplied with Freespace Open (installed using the handy Knossos tool). This is not a blind through of the game, but I haven't sat down to play the campaign in a good 10~15 years, so it might as well be a fresh play because I barely remembered anything other than how to use the controls and a few of the key plots. This game stands out fondly in my memory as one of the greatest space sims of all time, only exceeded by the sequel. To be honest I think it still lives up to that. Gifted with a talented modding community and thanks to the source ports (yay for open source) Freespace looks pretty amazing. The entire game has been revamped with high quality models and textures, improved effects and so much more.
Although the first game suffers from slightly mediocre voice acting and a handful of wonky missions, there isn't much to complain about here. I love the classic feel of this game, even though I'm actually playing with the source port - FS1 just has a charm to it that the sequel did not have. The sense of dread, IMO, is greater in the first game and the first few battles with the Shivans do seem pretty intense. There are a few points in this campaign that bother me a bit - there are a few encounters with Shivan forces that gets no fanfare whatsoever. Primarily I think this applies to the penultimate mission where the Tantalus appears. Like, I took that thing down with just a few fighters and other than being a 'bonus objective' there is literally zero reaction from the Bastion or anyone else. Wow, we just took out ANOTHER Shivan destroyer but it's like, oh well time for bacon and eggs I guess before moving onto the Lucifer? This also happens earlier on where two Shivan cruisers appear (Helions), not long after the whole song and dance about capturing the Taranis. They just get swatted and nothing is said about how efficiently we managed that... hmm I guess I'm just nitpicking here.
Well I can't think of what else to say at the moment, this game is awesome and if you've never played it, you SHOULD! For this playthrough I used a Thrustmaster joystick, which I was unsure about. Although it IS a great way to play Freespace, compared to the mouse it's highly inaccurate. I'd say my accuracy is about 50% worse with the stick, but given that I use a mouse nearly all day & every day I figured a stick would be better for my hand-finger-health. It was! Oh, it was unfortunate I didn't get a chance to obtain the triple ace - There is generally only one mission you can get it, and I'd already been knocked down to 6% hull in the previous mission and I wasn't really up for a restart at that point.
Questions, comments, let me know!
Timestamps are on the video page.
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