Ryu’s Musings: X-Rebirth

Posted on May 5th, 2015 by Ryu Sheng |

x rebirthTitle: X-Rebirth
Developer: Egosoft
Publisher: Egosoft
Format: Steam/Digital
Genre: Action, Space Sim, Sandbox

 

Synopsis:

 

In the distant future, the X universe faces a period of profound and irrevocable change. While the universe stumbles towards an uncertain future, countless adventures await as new enemies rise in search of power. Enter a young adventurer and his unlikely female ally traveling in an old, battered ship with a glorious past – two people alone against the galaxy, playing a key part in the events to come. The fate of the universe rests in the hands of the player…

X Rebirth represents a spectacular new beginning for the X series, offering loyal fans and newcomers alike a vast, vivid and extremely detailed universe to explore throughout the game. Varied gameplay elements such as action-packed space combat, detailed trading mechanics and high-speed space exploration with fast travel allow players to experience a truly unique space saga that will keep them hooked for dozens of hours. X Rebirth features a whole new user experience – it is easier than ever to start with, and remains as deep as fans expect it.

So, Rebirth at launch, was met with a whole load of anger, steam went into one of its frequent melt downs over it. Whether that was justified or not is irrelevant for this post as I never played it at launch. I requested a review copy from the Dev.’s when they did their big update (3.50), and this is what I’m playing now.

I’ve also never played any of the other games in the franchise as I didn’t own a flight stick. So I’m a total X universe virgin, hoping it’s not going to hurt and I’m in for a fun time….oh how wrong I was, apparently I a closet masochist because this game hurt loads and I freaking loved it.

So just in case you’re not interested in reading all of this post I’ll give you a TL;DR version here:

  • As the game is right now I feel its well worth investing the time and money into it. Yes it has some issues in the single player mode, but those don’t seem to effect the sandbox mode, which is the meat of the game.
  • You do have some significant downtime as you wait for your ships to do deliveries and stuff, but you can go off and do random missions in the area, or just use the time for potty and coffee breaks.
  • The VA in the game ranges from okay to gawd awful, and the reused VA on the ship gets damn annoying.
  • If you’re looking for a sandbox version of Freelancer with a splattering of Eve’s spreadsheets in it. This is the game for you!

Okay, now onto the main post!

As I said the dev gave me a review code after I requested it, I then went on to buy the digital upgrade (purely for that freaking awesome music!) and the Teladi Outpost DLC.

Gameplay

As I was playing the game I found myself being reminded more and more of Freelancer, a game I worshipped and wish there had been more of. What I mean by remind is in mechanics and atmosphere. For example the mouse control feels the same, as do the visual aspects, Freelancer used highways to get around and gates for longer travel, much like this game. It’s also got the free roam aspect and the ability to be whatever you want, pirate, merchant etc. etc.

Flying around isn’t as smooth as Freelancer, but I have to admit that once you’ve spent a bit of time ( a few hours for me) you get used to it. After that I rather enjoyed the flying around, and rather surprisingly got right into the combat.

The combat was fun, ranging from your basic blow shit up, to the subtle, sneaky drones, which frankly I bloody loved. Using drones to hack a station so as I got a better deal on trade goods and stuff was bloody awesome. Especially when it went wrong >.<

What I did find a bit off was the trading, for me I found this tedious as it required me to micro manage to stupid levels. After a few hours of flying to point A, set up the purchase order, wait for the mother ship to come pick it up (which took ages). Fly to sell point B and set up the sell order, wait for the mother ship to arrive, (another age) complete the sale, rinse and repeat.

After a while this got very tedious, and sure, you can do other missions while waiting for your ship to arrive, I found I wasn’t able to. After the bug I experienced in the SP I was paranoid it would happen in the sandbox as well. Which it did, though admittedly this bug isn’t as crippling as it was in the SP, just annoying.

Graphically

This game is bloody gorgeous, with the exception of the characters. Flying through space was amazing, with all the effects cranked to the max it has some of the best looking views I’ve seen in a space game. The stations look really cool, pretty much what I want from the stations. The space visuals were just as amazing, with nebulas, suns, planets etc. all looking amazing.

I liked the looks of the ships as well, they were all really well designed…there just weren’t a lot of variation. That’s the thing I would like to have seen more of, ship variations.

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Sadly this also carries over into the internals of ships and stations. The lack of differing designs was hugely disappointing. I got to the point where no matter what station or ship I landed on I knew where everything would be, for the most part. Sure you got a little bit of variation, but nothing that would surprise you.

The character designs aren’t bad, but they weren’t great either. The aliens and others pretty much all looked the same. Hell at one point I had a full crew on both my Skunk and Mothership that were all clones! On the one hand it’s awesome, but on the other hand: Variation.

The VA for them was pretty bad, especially the canned voices for various elements that frankly just didn’t make sense. After a few hours I pretty much droned them out with the music of the game.

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Dat Option Menu!

This is getting its own spot! Holy shit this game has options coming out the exhaust! This game shows you what an options menu should be. If you can think of an option, it’s probably in here!

HOWEVER, the one thing I will note is that I couldn’t get the game to work properly with my X-52 HOTAS. It would recognise my Joystick, but couldn’t get the throttle to work. However for me, I’ve found the mouse and keyboard to be just perfect.

General Thoughts

This game is covered in shit on the steam forums, weighed down by a load of negative reviews. As the game stands at the moment, with the 3.50 update, I personally feel that the majority of those reviews aren’t justified.

A lot of those complaints seem to be tied to the original build of the game, or to the fact that the developers went a different route with the game. They decided to try and support people who don’t have controllers, and as you can imagine the ‘old guard’ went up in arms over it.

The single player campaign is basically a tutorial leading into the sandbox, and it’s worth playing…until it breaks. I played through the SP five times and in all 5 playthrough’s I encountered bugs that broke the game in some way, all of them tied to reputation. I found this damn frustrating, and got a little angry over it, as I actually love SP games and this one seemed to have an interesting story. But, as the Dev pointed out to me, the game really only comes alive in the sandbox. Which I agree with, creating your own story is always amazing fun, and this game delivers that in spades. Hell it got me writing fanfiction again, something I haven’t felt compelled to do since Freelancer!

Conclusion

So the big question is: Do you listen to steam? Honestly never listen to steam, it’s full of bullshit vitriol.

This game, for me, scratches an itch I’ve had for a long time. Eve Online (trade spreadsheets) meets Freelancer. So no, ignore the steam forums and give the game a go, I’m now 75hours into it and still going, and still loving it.

The thing to remember (and this holds with any game really), is to always keep an open mind with games, even sequels.

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