- Alternate Character Interpretation: The true objectives and motives of both the Vishnans and the Shivans drive the greatest mysteries of the plot. And there's no guarantee that any information that's been given about either one of them is true or not. At one point, the same conversation between a Vishnan and a Shivan is shown to two different human characters. The dialogue each heard was completely different, though thematically and topically similar.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome:
- The entirety of the mission Delenda Est and the end of Universal Truth where the Vishnans tell the Shivans to fuck off. However, this may just have been the interpretation that Samuel Bei was allowed to see. You hear a different one in Universal Truth II, and it's... not that reassuring.
- The climax of Aristeia, where the UED Toutatis shows up and displays the UEF version of Superior Firepower against the GTD Hood. Namely: antimatter torpedo spam, all set to "Spiritus Elektros"!
- Any time Spiritus Elektros plays is bound to be a CMOA for at least one side, really.
- Crowning Moment of Funny:
- The navigation mishap in Age of Aquarius:
Corey: Commander, I seem to have jumped in about 10 light years from your position.Taylor: ...crap. I don't even know where I am.
- "MEDITATION WIDGET! YOUR BIOMETRICS SHOW INCREASED HEARTRATE, NOEMI. WOULD YOU LIKE A KITTEN PICTURE?"
- The tech room entry for the GTVA's Chimera-class corvettes wryly notes that living conditions on the ships are not very enjoyable (even taking military standards of crew quarters into account), and the Bellerophon-class corvettes, modified from the same basic design, is little better.
A software error stocked the first example of the class, Pilum, with thousands of identical pre-cooked meal pouches, each one broccoli and tofu - leading to the much-beloved story of the Cooks' Mutiny. Live on a flying gun, the saying goes, and you get treated like a bullet.
- Between missions, Levi tells a story about how he tested his Kentauroi's afterburners while the fighter is still clamped to the docking bay, and recalls Simms chewing him out about it. Everybody calls bullshit, because what idiot would do something so stupid? Not to be beaten, he concludes the story by beginning to apologize to a nearby sleeping Simms, causing her to start ranting at him again at the top of her lungs (confirming the story) whilst still asleep, then promptly wake up by falling out of bed.
- The navigation mishap in Age of Aquarius:
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming:
- Samuel Bei reconciling with his father.
- Also One Perfect Moment from War in Heaven.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Everywhere.
- Demonic Spiders: The powerful next-generation GTF Nyx gives the boot to Federation fighters, especially in War in Heaven. With eight gun banks and a high energy supply to back it, loads of missiles, and good maneuverability, this thing easily eats Federation interceptors and gunships for breakfast. The best counter is the Federation Slammer Area-Suppression Missile, which can deal enough to bring one of these to the ground (if you know how to use it effectively).
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Admiral Steele has gained a heck of a fanbase, who seem consider him the strategist version of a Memetic Badass.
- Even Better Sequel: War in Heaven is generally regarded as such to Age of Aquarius, with a far deeper plotline and more well-designed missions.
- Idiot Plot: The plot very much seems like this until you read the supplementary material (most of which is found in the Tech Room databases, in both the Intel and Ship sections); then it becomes quite good, actually. The fact that it does things to the scale, depth, and dynamism that it does and still remains in the realm of true plausibility is a testament to how much thought went into it. Even more averted upon playing the Third Act of War in Heaven, which shows that this plotline is directly tying into the unanswered questions of Freespace 2, and bringing together obscure references and minor details from all the way back as far as the first game!
- Magnificent Bastard: Admiral Chiwetel Steele is a prime example of this trope. A war hero in his own right, he has contingencies for seemingly every setback, in a pinch he'll even use his flagship to perform a daring raid if he senses an opportunity to wreak some havoc. Even getting ambushed by 2 artillery ships doesn't faze him, as he just calmly comments on a "match well played" before giving them the slip.
Indus: That's impossible. The Atreus was engaged near Luna five minutes ago. He can't jump like that, he'll wreck his reactor, blow his own ship's guts out.
Brie: So it's true, what they say. He's insane.
Simms: Not insane. Reckless, relentless, and lucky. He's a gentleman psychopath.
- Most Annoying Sound: "*BEEP BEEP* Bank One/Two/Three empty", "Warning! Heavy damage!".
- Nightmare Fuel:
- War in Heaven does not sugarcoat war in the slightest, and some of the mid-battle dialogue can get downright horrifying, particularly when it references the fates of unlucky civilians who happened to be in the area.
- Act 1 contains Delenda Est, which goes from a triumphant victory to a straight up slaughter.
"WARNING! INTERNAL TEMPERATURE AT 27,000 DEGREES! DEPLOYING DISASTER BEACON!"— Automated transmission from a ship gutted by a GTVA beam cannon"Oh, God. Oh shit. I can see the bodies... thousands of them. They're still moving! I can see people moving!"— Levi (Wargods Alpha 3) witnessing said ship's destruction
- With the addition of voice actors, this particular battle gets even more horrifying: several ship captain's last words are cut off mid-sentence by the sound of a beam cannon breaching their ship's hull.
- Most pilots die with dignity, or confusion. In Delenda Est, if he gets killed, Levi straight up screams for help.
- Also, explore the jump flash at the end of Ken. Don't jump out right away...
- Universal Truth II. All of it!
"If you turn around, you will never see anything else again. Go towards the light. Go quickly. Do not stop. DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU!"
- Player Punch:
- And how! Most notably the 14th battlegroup seeing the ruined alternate universe Earth for the first time, seeing again how Samuel Bei lost his wife and his mother, the murder of Elder Taudigani, and Admiral Steele executing his plan against the player's task force, the annihilation of the Katana and Altan Orde, the death of every other almost every other pilot, including Levi, and finally the last minute Heroic Sacrifice of the Yangtze, Karen Ng'Mei, and Olefumi.
- There is also shooting down Xinny and Zero, SOC heroes of the Second Shivan Incursion, who were only trying to rescue their commander. At least the UEF pilots have no idea what they are trying to do, given that they think that there were nothing of interest as far as they are concerned in the cruiser's cargo.
- Recycled In Space: Part 2 is an extended homage to the Vietnam War. The far-larger and more powerful GTVA is forced to fight a limited and conservative war due to political divisions and murky objectives, while the much less powerful but more ideologically convinced UEF is simply trying to hold its own and ultimately push the GTVA out by costing them enough blood. Similarly to the Vietnam War, there is no clear-cut good guy.
- Rooting for the Empire: The fandom has a very large contingent of GTVA supporters. This was, incidentally, absolutely intended by the writers, who wanted to portray a war in which there is no obvious "good" or "bad" side
- Tear Jerker:
- Xinny and Zero's radio chatter as you kill them is positively heartbreaking, more so because it's all your fault.
- Delenda Est. Right at the moment of their greatest triumph, the Wargods are suddenly blindsided by Admiral Steele, who proceeds to utterly annihilate their entire task force, with only the Indus making it out by the skin of its teeth.
- That One Level:
- Forced Entry, although it has its fair share of fans as well.
- Also, Delenda Est to an extent, mainly because a leading amount of factors made it Unwinnable by Mistake, even though it's supposed to be failed in the first place. (That bug was shortly patched.) It doesn't help that you most often notice this during or shortly after an incredibly frustrating sequence where you have to destroy all 4 main beams of two Deimos corvettes (which have the second-best anti-fighter defences of any FS 2 capital ship), both of which are parked next to a number of Aeolus cruisers (which have the best anti-fighter defences of any FS 2 capital ship). To make matters worse, the beams are small, hard to see, can only be fired at from a few positions and they are only 4 of the 8 beam cannons on the ship (destroying the other 4 doesn't really help, and there's no way to tell which is which other than placement). The Complete version mitigates the placement issue by assigning a hotkey to the turrets.
- Two missions in Act 3, first is Everything is Permitted which is a Stealth Mission where there are seemingly many possible ways to complete the mission and the game doesn't directly tell you how. The other is Her Finest Hour, in which there are so many secondary objectives that can get players overwhelmed, and so many buttons to press. In both cases however, these are more confusing than Nintendo Hard. They're the kind of missions that depend more on note-taking and precise tactical micromanagement rather than piloting skill. The "BP Complete" rerelease of the campaign addresses this by offering an optional "training" mission before each sortie, allowing the player to get used to the new mechanics.