Thankfully, Red Sun
has the gameplay to back up the franchise. You are Valdemar, participating in the fight between the League of Free Worlds and the Imperial Navy, but never truly picking a side. Along the way, your destiny as the savior of the universe unfolds, both in pre-mission briefings and pre-rendered CG. And it all has to deal with the majestic Red Sun, a massive starship with an unknown purpose.
Sound good? It is. Although the plot is pretty much spoon-fed to you, and the crazy branching mission style of the previous Colony Wars games is lost, Red Sun certainly delivers on the gameplay. You’ll be flying your fighter both in space and over planet surfaces, on a variety of odd jobs for, well, whoever’s willing to pay you. Each location presents you with a list of possible jobs, and as you complete them, you rack up both money and ranking. Money allows you to buy upgrades to your ship weaponry, refill expendable ammo (missiles, flares, etc.), and even buy new ships. The higher your ranking, the niftier ships and weapons you can purchase. It all works out really well, and makes you really explore each mission for as many enemies to take down as possible, so that you get the most cash and the highest ranking possible. The additional fun of being able to tweak your ship, adding heat sinks, new guns, or whatever you like, is also quite fun. And the missions themselves are usually quite intriguing, from protecting a convoy to blowing the utter crap out of baddies in space.
Unfortunately, the game just doesn’t feel as complete as it should. Some of the in-game text looks like it was written at the last minute, with odd typos and lack of pronunciation. And, despite the addition of purchasable ships and weaponry, the game is really an old sheep in a new growth of wool.
Thank the gods that the old sheep kicked so much ass, eh?