This is an entry for the A to Z Challenge (see the sidebar for more information).  These are just some of my initial impressions on the Steam, GOG, and other online games throughout the month.  It is not as much of a review as it is a summary of my feelings on the game.

Wing Commander 3 is a space flight simulation game.  In it you play as Mark Hamill…I mean Commander Blair.  The game follows a basic storyline that has the occasional branches (mainly revolving around the love interest) that can affect the ending to the game.

Years ago I picked up Wing Commander 4 on the PSOne.  I played through the game long enough to be introduced to the character “Maniac,” and quickly realized that there was a back story that I wanted to know before diving completely into the story.  so I went out and picked up Wing Commander 3 and a joystick controller.  Over the next few months, I had an amazing time.

As I look back on the game now, I’ve noticed a few things about the production of the game.

First, all of the scenes were completely done in green screen, and it showed.  Even with my limited experience with video editing, I quickly recognized the color correction problems and the lack of shadows on the ground.  I don’t think this is a bad thing; for all I know, they did the best they could with their limited budget and technology.  That said, I would have preferred if they would have taken the approach that George Lucas took in Star Wars; build the sets, and then just use green screens for windows, accents, etc.  A lot can be done with the blended approach rather than the straight green screen.

On the other hand, setting aside my complaints about the green screen, I still like the use of live action instead of animated characters.  I’m not sure why; it might just be that it humanizes the characters more.  I certainly felt a greater sense of sadness at the loss of a character, betrayal when a character turned to help the enemy, etc, than I have felt with any other game.  I wish more games would take a risk with actual actors rather than just pigeon holing them into voice acting.

Wing Commander is a game that has a rich storyline, is filled with moral decisions, and a memorable cast.  I certainly recommend that you give it a try.  If you don’t feel like playing it through, here’s a video with all of the major cut scenes.