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Late-night review of X3 - This game made me reinstall Sword of the Stars by Fortinbras 05/18/2009, 6:33pm PDT
Here's my late-night 2 AM review of X3: The Reunion.

In one sentence: All the sodomy of EVE Online without even a multiplayer component for you to get a free fifty million bucks off lazy, beneficent players.

Graphically the game is quite stable, it runs smooth as silk on a GTS 250, which I know is overqualified for the job.

I started a game on story mode on normal. Not hard, not easy, just normal. It gives you 5,000 credits to start out with and a piddly-ass fighter with about 100 metric units of storage space. There's an introductory first story mission but you don't get paid for it so why the fuck would you care? Fuck that! Come back in two years with 50 starfighters to escort those rookies around the star system. Unfortunately what little guidance the non-paying story missions gives you is completely out the window once you strike out on your own. For all EVE Online's faults, one of them is NOT a lack of information. You can get information on who's selling what for the entire region. In contrast, in X3 nobody knows a goddamn thing. Even in the same star system, stations don't know shit about what other stations are charging for their wares. You can get information on system-wide prices by deploying a satellite somewhere in the system. Well, the price of a satellite is about 6,000$ each, so that's out of the price range of a budding entrepreneur. For when you're just starting out and trying to make money, you're limited to visiting station after station, which takes something you will be investing a lot of into X3.


Sweet fucking jesus, this game has only two settings: Slow, and FUCKING Slow. Your ship comes with some sort of sci-fi device that speeds everything up by 600%, but this only works when you're on autopilot or moving in a straight line, and you have to explore each system manually before you can come back to it on autopilot. And it doesn't help one bit. There are three ways to get ahead in this game apparently: Trading, destroying pirates and scooping up their wrecks for gear to sell off, and capturing pirate vessels by somehow forcing them to bail out after damaging their craft extensively, climbing out of your ship and floating over to theirs, and hacking their computer and putting it under your control and commanding them to head to the nearest shipyard for sale. There's apparently also the ability to run missions, cargo delivery and the like. However they're apparently such shit pay I've never even heard any FAQs mention them. Most people recommend stealing pirate ships to make money.

Trading is impossibly difficult. Cargo space isn't a huge issue, even for a starting out ship, with some commodities selling for 2,000 bucks per unit, but price barriers and widely varying prices are. Since there's zero ability for price discovery unless you do it yourself (which again, requires capital), you're basically going to be moving from station to station in each system until you find a reasonably paced route you could ply. Then you set your ship to autopilot and go read a book or watch TV while it makes the trip.

I tried this approximately once, I used the logic of supply and demand. I buy something from a place that makes it and sell it to a place that requires it. No such luck, apparently I wound up selling it for less than I bought it for, from a place that consumed it in production? Oooook. Look, I wasn't expecting to find a fucking gold mine or anything but I don't reasonably expect to take a loss moving product from a place that produces it to a place that consumes it either. Even breaking even would have been enough to console me.

Pirate-hunting is equally difficult in a stock ship. The risks insanely outweigh rewards. You'll sit around for awhile in accelerated time (oh and you can't leave the computer, because if a customs ship scans you it'll pull you of accelerated time) waiting for pirates to show up. I took down four pirate fighters, none of which had the good courtesy to eject so I could steal their ship, and was down to 20% hull strength by the end of it. I limped back to a shipyard three systems away on 1/4th of my total engine power only to discover that even repairing two percent of my total hull strength would bankrupt me.

That's when I hit quit and UNINSTALL.

Verdict: There's a game somewhere in X3 apparently, but only after you've made about 600,000 to 1,000,000 bucks trading, pirating, or using an FAQ to find abandoned ships out in space for you to steal without a fight. After that you can purchase an absurdly expensive piece of trading software that will allow you to give complex commands like "Buy" and "Sell" to your remote-controlled freighters and they'll begin deducting money from your account and running on autopilot.

After that, presumably once the capital rolls in you can build a bunch of stations that generate products and buy MORE freighters and etc.

This is the first game I've played in quite awhile which seems hell-bent on wanting you to fail within the first 30 minutes. With no in-game help about how to go about making a fortune, and no clearly outlined gameplay oriented towards progression, it's an exercise in frustration. It's in many ways a lot like EVE Online, where people tell you about how fucking awesome it is when you can fly yourself a gigantic battleship surrounded by 200 smaller ships and absolutely blow the shit out of everything. What they don't tell you is how many hours of wasted time you'll have to put into it to get there. Fuck that, I'd rather just play Sword of the Stars or Freelancer or put all those hours I would have invested in X3 into waiting for North Star to come out.

ICJ, a proposition. by Mischief Maker 05/11/2009, 5:53am PDT NEW
    Here's a list of the ones I can cover: by MM 05/11/2009, 6:36am PDT NEW
    Re: ICJ, a proposition. by Ice Cream Jonsey 05/11/2009, 12:13pm PDT NEW
        Re: ICJ, a proposition. by Mischief Maker 05/11/2009, 6:19pm PDT NEW
            It's a deal! YOU are now lost in flatspace ... dot com! NT by Ice Cream Jonsey 05/11/2009, 7:48pm PDT NEW
                Is anybody else excited about North Star? by Fortinbras 05/13/2009, 11:56am PDT NEW
                    Northstar? SOUNDS GAY! hrewhrtewhewhewhrhewhw NT by col.schickn 05/14/2009, 9:00pm PDT NEW
                        Alpha Flight humour :( NT by Jerry Whorebach 05/14/2009, 9:31pm PDT NEW
                            Thought Canadian superhero jokes woulda done better on this site NT by col.schickn 05/14/2009, 11:22pm PDT NEW
                I reinstalled X3 and tried it again. God I hate that game so much. NT by Fortinbras 05/14/2009, 8:07pm PDT NEW
                    Re: I reinstalled X3 and tried it again. God I hate that game so much. by Ice Cream Jonsey 05/14/2009, 11:23pm PDT NEW
                        Late-night review of X3 - This game made me reinstall Sword of the Stars by Fortinbras 05/18/2009, 6:33pm PDT NEW
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