The swan song of the X-Wing series takes it out with a blast.
X-Wing Alliance marked a shift away from the multiplayer focus of X-Wing vs Tie Fighter and a return to the single player campaign focus of the previous 2 games. This was a good decision as Lawrence Holland and the team at Totally Games were able to tell a good story, using inventive scripted mission design to immerse you in the plot of the mission.
The story puts you in the role of Ace Azzameen. The little brother of a trading family, who through the machinations of a rival family are forced to flee their home and join with the rebellion who they have covertly aided in the opening chapter.
This gives you the opportunity to fly two freighter craft as well as the standard Rebel fighter craft throughout the course of the campaign. In order to give reason to this, occasionally you are called on by your family to perform a mission for them outside of the standard rebel operations. But the main meat and bones still lie with the combat in the fighters of old.
Being a long time player of the series I was impressed with the new graphics engine that was created for the game. After the disappointing graphics of the previous title, which were not as accurate in modelling some ships as I would have liked, this felt the closest to taking part in one of the movies. Little glitches spoilt the effect like the wobbly cockpit on higher resolutions when flying the YT1300 freighter (think Millenium Falcon but not as powerful).
The missions were as inventive as ever, but because the game added the ability to hyperspace between sectors within a mission zone it didn't feel as focussed as it should have been. The combat was as visceral as ever, and if anything the game as a whole was much tougher than before but I felt that some of the magic of the single location zones was lost.
A welcome return was the use of imuse rather than the streaming from CD of X-Wing vs Tie meaning that the music was always changing to fit the situation, cranking up as you battle the Imperial hoards and dying down in the quiet moments.
For me I would have to say that I preferred to play the original two games in the series over this one.