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X3: Terran Conflict review

AT A GLANCE
  • Rich and detailed universe
  • Total freedom of choice
  • Combat is now a real joy
  • Storytelling is still sub-par
  • Lacks character
  • Less friendly than Freelancer

Ah the X series, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways... Every game reviewer has one of these, a game or series that touches them on a personal, intimate and downright naughty level, so enamoring them with their depth, breadth and endorphin-releasing wiles that he will hear no bad word said against them, no minor criticism that won’t be met with a flurry of pre-rehearsed counter points and face punches, no rival comparison that won’t be put down by shouts of “YOU JUST SHUT UP!” through the tears of infatuation as we cradle the box to our chest and run to our rooms to have a good cry.

Yes, we know it isn’t as fast, fun and friendly as Freelancer, never has been and never will be. But we don’t see any sequels to that little number floating about the release schedules, do you? In fact, if it’s in-cockpit, direct-action space simulations you want, well X3: Terran Conflict is about your only current generation option really. Good job it’s still going strong then, eh?

As the title (and ending to the previous game) suggests, we’re on home territory this time round, flying around our own solar system to begin with, marveling at the beautifully rendered rings of Saturn, sighing wistfully at the gaseous beauty of Jupiter, and giggling childishly at the computer’s unrefined pronunciation of Uranus.

The plot doesn’t take long to kick in and, sadly once again, it’s X’s main failing. For all the alien incursions, returns of old threats and attempts at tension, try as they might Egosoft just can’t seem to crack the storytelling nut, and we're not sure it’s one that’ll ever really get solved while we players remain resolutely inside our cockpits. Stories require character development to engage, and for all the communication window talking heads, X’s is a soulless universe. Freelancer scored by letting you stretch your legs wandering around stations, X’s only real star is the universe itself.

More Info

Release date: Apr 07 2009 - PC (US)
Oct 17 2008 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Koch Media
Developed by: Deep Silver
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Drug Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
12+

6 comments

  • Empyrean - November 24, 2008 10:35 p.m.

    X2 is still the best spacesim for me, but Terran Conflict is absolutely awsome!
  • FriendlyFire - November 5, 2008 7:41 p.m.

    Freelancer is still king of the hill for me for as long as a new, GOOD space sim doesn't feature multiplayer are relatively good moddability. Freelancer is still alive and kicking only because of its extensive modding potential and excellent multiplayer. Odd how just about no reviewer seems to remember about that little fact.
  • DarthSeaBass - November 1, 2008 12:49 p.m.

    Hehe i'm so glad i'm not the only one that kept sniggering at uranus
  • Kanuvani - October 31, 2008 11:17 a.m.

    The problem atm is X3 is still full of game breaking bugs and in North America to only way it's available is with Steam and it as a 5 ACTIVATION ONLY drm. Would never buy it cause of it.
  • cart00n - October 29, 2008 11:05 p.m.

    I liked Freelancer in the beginning, but it got old pretty fast - too repetitive...
  • festafreak - July 12, 2009 12:15 a.m.

    I tried to get into X3: Reunion a few times. (Install, try. Fail. Uninstall.) It's a big game, but the time invested at the beginning reaps huge rewards later. If you have any questions, the egosoft/forums have one of the better communities I have come across. This game is a little more user friendly with cues on your next objective and such. True, there were some bugs when it was released. I had no game stoppers, but only one non-important mission was uncompletable (is that a word?!?) But now the game is all patched up and if egosoft does like it did with X3: reunion, they may take off the DRM stuff in the future to make sure you get long lasting joy out of thier game.

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