Wing Commander: Darkest Dawn, Fan-Made Goodness

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Visuals and Gameplay

Wing Commander Saga's visual style takes its cues from Wing Commander 3 & 4's software-rendered polygonal engine. That's a bit disappointing if you loved the richer colors and lighting effects of Wing Commander: Prophecy -- which I did -- but Darkest Dawn's models and textures are amazingly good given the age of the Freespace 2 engine and the game's lack of development budget.

 

Compare where we came from -- that's the Victory (Wing Commander 3) on the left and the Lexington (Wing Commander 4) on the right...


With the TCS Hermes in Wing Commander Saga.

That's just the beginning of the eye candy. Here's a snapshot of some of the game's capital ships and fighters. All images are taken from in-game missions.

  

Two legacy ships (the Ferret and the Sabre) alongside the Longbow bomber from WC4. There's just one mission in a WC2-era fighters, but they're just as lovingly detailed.

   

Here are some shots of the TCS Bradshaw, a Lexington-class carrier. The Lexington pictured above is a Concordia-class carrier, a class that was named for -- but not the same as -- the Concordia you flew off in Wing Commander 2. Confused? So am I. 

 

And here we have the TCS Hermes, a Jutland-class carrier and your new home.

 

 
The Kilrathi Fralthi II-class (above) and a Vaktoth and Dralthi below.

Darkest Dawn isn't just a pretty face; its missions play out in the expanded, multi-fighter style that was the hallmark of the series' later games. Instead of throwing you + a wingman against every flight, most missions pair you up with various fighter wings with specific roles to play, from bomber escort to point defense.


Headed home after defending the civilians on Vega Prime

It's not uncommon to have upwards of 30 fighters (including hostiles) in flight at once, with 8-10 cap ships in total. Capital ships retain their Wing Commander characteristics and pack a wide range of anti-fighter turrets with some classes supplementing this with plasma cannons or similar weaponry. It's technically possible to attack capital ships in a fighter though, much the same way as its technically possible for a chihuahua to attack a tank.
 

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