Eighteen years have passed since FreeSpace 2 and the destruction of Capella, and the shattered colonies of man are finally ready to re-open the jump node to Earth. As the Alliance teeters on the verge of total social collapse, the Security Council deploys the elite 14th Battlegroup to re-establish contact with Earth, and young pilot Samuel Bei finds himself once more under his estranged father's command. Age of Aquarius describes the journey of the 14th Battlegroup as its mission to the Blue Planet goes shockingly wrong. War in Heaven takes place eighteen months after the events of Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius and details the final stages of the civil war between Sol and the rest of her colonies: a war without good or evil, only shades of gray. Built at the cutting edge of the FreeSpace Open engine, Blue Planet is a fan-made conclusion to the FreeSpace saga, a story of sacrifice, triumph, and destiny, and one of the most beloved FreeSpace mods of all time.
Might've been a year since I first played this, but it was amazing. Not only is it fun, but it had immersion. I was a skeptic at first because I found the Age of Aquarius (BP1) to be an above-average-but-not-the-best campaign because the whole magical alternate universe and the deus-ex-machina aliens lacked the human element. War in Heaven, on the other hand, is truly a human conflict. Vishnans were retconned to be a species that can't be fully trusted, and everything that happened can be scientifically (in a way) explained. Everything feels real, even the politics.
While some of the ships look good, the best part regarding the graphics are the effects. At the time, War in Heaven were using things never before seen. In fact, WiH helped influence the Mediavps, the community's graphical enhancement.
The story shines here, and I would say that it is the best in any game I've played. It is very well-written, and the characters are easy to relate to. This is novel. There is no black-and-white. There's just gray. Where a scifi book may have a glossary in the back of the book for special terms, the game's equivalent Techroom database entries is extremely detailed. You can tell that the BP team did their research by the way the characters speak in-game, which is more than what Hollywood does. Oh, and anything can be an allusion to anything.
The gameplay of the first part of War in Heaven is pretty much FreeSpace 2 with a lot of subtle-but-awesome tweaks. The AI is much smarter and does not cheat, for example. Most of the weapons and spacecrafts are useful unlike retail FS2, where you only need to reuse the same three ships to win. And the missions aren't at all repetitive. There's even a mission where you can command a frigate! The only gripe that anyone might have is the long lines without voice acting and slowdowns, but those will be fixed soon.
Of all the Freespace mods I have played, none has been able to draw me in quite as much as Blue Planet. Blue Planet manages to achieve a perfect balance between the traditional Freespace action we all know from the series, and an excellent story steeped in drama and mystery.
While War in Heaven has not been voice-acted as of this review, Age of Aquarius is, and while most of the voice acting (such as that of the main character, Samuel Bei, and his squadmates) is very good, some of it ranges from slightly over-acted to unintentionally hilarious. However, most of the bad voice acting is not enough to affect my opinion of the AOA much, since it's mostly from minor characters that you only hear from once or twice.
The new ships and weapons introduced in both War in Heaven and Age of Aquarius are every bit as fun to use as the ones in the vanilla Freespace games. All of them manage to be strong in their respective roles without being gamebreakingly overpowered (with a few intentional exceptions).
The soundtrack is also amazing in a way I simply cannot put into words. All of it manages to capture the moment in a stellar manner that simply must be heard to be believed. Downloads for the music can be found on the Hard-Light forums, and I highly recommend them.
All-in-all, Blue Planet is an absolute gem of a Freespace 2 mod, with a level of quality on par with games I would easily pay full price for. Any fan of Freespace or space sims in general must, I repeat, MUST play this one.
This is something AWESOME! Each chapter is better, than previous... and it's only make it more awesome. Cool story line, mission's, that can take you to limits... and tactics, that they made out of 3-rd part... i just don't know enough English word. Keep it up guys!