Sep 16, 2011Don't believe the hype: this is EvE Online without the flowcharts. What X3R tries to do has been done better a thousand times before with more realistic everything. I actually bought this game when it came out many years ago and when the computer I intended to play it on died it sat in a box for many years waiting for a machine that could run it. I dug it out recently (being a space freak) and thought it'd be worth a bash... but was I ever wrong. The learning curve is beyond vertical with no tutorial and no introductions, Just an endless list of email spam the first time you do something new, and if you can't find your ingame inbox you're out of luck anyway. There doesn't appear to be any way to plot a course, you've got to do it from memory and if you happen to forget one of the totally generic and forgettable names along the way you'll get lost or dock at the wrong base, and forget about issuing orders in a hurry if you're flying with an automated ship.
Trading is completely inscrutable, prices don't fluctuate nearly as much as the game claims and the only useful profits are small-potatoes on short hops for minimal returns, add to that the fact that there is no easy way to gain freelance work and no real money to be made off contract and the only sane choice left seems to be piracy. But even then it's such a huge grind-fest the game box may as well have contained a pepper mill instead of a DvD.
The interface is BEYOND disgusting, flight is fine and the addition of inertia to the turns and acceleration is nice, It's not actual newtonian physics but it's nice, but doing everything else that requires doing in a space sim seems to have been made MUCH harder by way of compensating. Navigating the menus seems to require its own manual, and the context dependent keypresses mean that if you're in a menu screen and need to stop in a hurry or turn off the autopilot you're SOL. I have gotten lost in the menus more times than I care to count and it took me half an hour to figure out how to buy stuff, even with help from the game forums.
The storyline is instantly uninteresting. You're dumped into the middle of a universe sometime after the last instalment, your father in a coma after an encounter with the bad guys, and no reason to care about either his plight or their motivations. You're expected to know how to fly (fairly straightforward) but everything else is left inscrutable and unless you do some reading you'll never learn how. the game has some wonderful innovations (like an economy-tracking device) but they're not worth holding out for. I have seen better work done on every facet of X3s gameplay some of them by indie firms producing free software. This game SHOULD get a 1 just for being a space sim, but what it's doing is poisoning the well by the fact of its every existence. If people think 'X3: reunion' when they think of space sims then the game has done a disservice to the genre.… Expand