I had heard that a patch for X3: Reunion was out last year, but only this week was I able to get to it and try it out again.
If you read my previous post over a year ago about space flight sims, you’ll know that I stopped playing X3 originally due to bugs in the game that prevented one from completing the main storyline. I was trying out X3 back then mostly because of my disappointment with DarkStar One and Freelancer.
To recap, Darkstar One was completely stor-based, set in a galaxy with jump gates and such. It was unlike most other space flight sims in that there wasn’t much to do other than the main story, and it had a very linear progression of when you could upgrade your ship, which makes sense given how scripted the main story was. What was neat was that you could choose whether to boost speed vs. weapons vs. armor, etc., making Darkstar One seem like a merging between space flight sims and RPGs. Still, it was an RPG lite, and would’ve been a much better game with a lot more options, imho. (Kind of like how good Deus Ex 2 could’ve been if it was more like Deus Ex in terms of the ways you could level your character.)
Freelancer, on the other hand had lots of stuff in the background like most space flight sims. You could engage in trading goods from station to station, etc. But I found it all rather superficial. They had something like 3 character models, so everyone started looking the same from the get-go, with the same dialog, etc. Not much there there.
Anyway, X3: Reunion is almost too big. Too big in the Morrowind way where things just start being overwhelming and there isn’t much difference between them. Each sector of space, for example, seems molded out of the same template, and there weren’t enough times when I was amazed with wonder, which is what I look for in a space flight sim.
(I remember a game, perhaps it was Independence War 2 or Freespace 2, where you could find interesting things like space creature zoos and interesting space anomalies and phenomena. I’ll have to dig around and see if I can find that game again to remind myself what I miss.)
As mentioned earlier, the main storyline for X3 is now playable, thankfully. Ironically (or maybe not), it didn’t really seem well polished. There were several instances where I was left wondering what I was supposed to be doing (thank god for gamefaqs.com). And the few missions where you had to navigate through a tunnel in an asteroid or escape a space station seemed lame. Those missions pretty much halted the tempo of the story. Better to stick with dog fighting, turret control, or open-space kinds of maneuvering tasks. If I wanted to play a dungeon crawler, I’d play a different game.
Furthermore, the interface is rather clunky. It took me a while to figure out how to load up my ship with certain weapons. After I figured out how to put a weapon on my turret mount, it wasn’t until hours later that I realized my turret wasn’t doing anything and that I had to find the right panel to give it standing orders. I like other games where you can see a visual representation of your ship and select weapons to load into certain spots… the paper doll interface that most RPGs use these days, in other words.
One of the cool things about X3, however, is the scripting and modding one could do with it. It’s quite powerful, reminds me of Oblivion. Maybe I’ll check it out again in another year or so. 🙂