Starlancer is created by Chris Roberts (formerly Origin, now Digital Anvil) who also made the Wing Commander games, and it shows in the graphics and the gameplay : it’s a tuned up version of Wing Commander.
While in Wing Commander there was (originally) an alien invasion, now we have to fight against the communists again. Those Russian “Eastern Block” asshole’s tricked us (the Alliance, aka The Western Good Guys) in believing we were going to sign a peace treaty, while it was only a trap to destroy the majority of our forces ! Those damns fuckers !
So far for the story. Character interaction is less than in Wing Commander, so don’t expect going into heavy dialogues with your roomies or having sex with that oh so great-looking female commander.
You are a civilian called into duty just because many of the Alliance’s forces have been destructed and hey, you can’t win a war without people now can you ?
After some training in the flight simulator (pretty damn good one, it gives good overview of how to use your ship) you go into real battle with about 25 missions going from “protect this carrier” to “kill those suckers”.
Those missions are pretty kewl, until you get the hang of it, and then they can get abit boring. Especially because in those missions there are submissions, and when you think you’ve completed it a new wave of enemy’s comes shooting at you again ! Frustration begins when you’ve almost ended your mission and that last crazy communist shoots at you and destroys your craft. Back to the start of the whole damn mission ! Don’t get me wrong here, Starlancer is a great game if you’re into space combat, but being able to save during a mission would have been handy.
All in all I’ld say that this game is pretty cool, but lacks abit of the interaction we had in the Wing Commander games (especially number 3 -> I completely loved that one ! – You know, the one with the ex-porn star in it) and instead of having very HUGE missions I’ld prefere more and smaller missions which would make it abit easier and less repetitive if you loose one time.
Must-buy for real space combat fanatics.