If you don't want to read any back story - please skip to the big text saying "My Review".
[I'm not a professional reviewer just decided to make a post in here. Might make it a regular occurrence... Who knows.]
As many of you already know, I’m the Site Administrator for EcchiDreams, but in my spare time (what little of it) I play a lot of video games. I’m a PC gamer myself (Preferably with a 360 Controller. The best controller, in my opinion, in existence – Today anyway), I used to play on the Xbox 360, and I grew up playing games on the Basic Amstrad CPC464 (First ever PC, 1994), Amiga A600 (1995) and eventually a Windows PC (1996+).
One of the first space games I ever played was in 1998, (Just 8 years old) and I had to code a DOS program to be ran at the startup of my PC (because I had Windows 98, not good for running old DOS games). So basically I edited the autoexec.bat file in my C: drive (I believe) and injected my own script to run making the machine a multi-boot with MS-DOS with HighMem, and Windows 98 for my other games. It was a lot of fuss but it was what I went through to start playing Frontier Elite 2 (David Braben), and boy once I got it. I didn’t stop playing it. Then in 1999, I had to severely upgrade my computer just to run X-Beyond the Frontier (Egosoft), as even the though my machine matched the recommended requirements it still wasn’t enough, but it was so worth it when I finally got the components and was able to start playing it (And believe me I played for a long time).
(Thanks Dad! Whenever he upgraded his PC, I got the hand-me-downs. Useful because I ended up building lots of computers and start experimenting!)
I truly believe at the time that it was the most realistic thing I had ever experienced in a game! To some degree I believe to this day that it was ahead of its time and it is! It still looks somewhat good even today especially when compared to Frontier Elite 2, my only point of reference.
Frontier Elite 2: 1993 – David Braben
X-Beyond the Frontier: 1999 – Egosoft
I really felt my nine year old mind being fully immersed in what was going on, a part of the story line and Ban Dana of the Argon One was my brother and leader into the battle against the Xenon. I had to spend hours and hours of my childhood gaining the trust of the Peaceful Kingdom of Boron’s assistance in the fight, The Paranoid Forces of the Paranid, the Warrior Clans of the Split, Even the Greedy Scales of the Teladi to unite all species to work together to achieve a common goal. To stop the Xenon. (Only it hasn’t really stopped them at all.) But it’s uniting the known universe for the greater good that was the main focus point and I believe that was well achieved. Of course then there was the building of the Factories to get a constant stream of Credits for weapons. It made it challenging, worth it. I replayed that again when X-Tension came out unfortunately there was no sight of it in UK shops, I couldn’t get a copy. Even when getting it off eBay it turned out to be a copy boy was I ever pissed. Nowerdays I have it on Steam, cost me fuck all (Humble Bundle) and yet when I see how easy it is to get a copy now compared to back then (two years I spent trying to get it!)… Oh the memories.
I know at the time back then there was a massive hoo-har about it being “Unremarkable” as it had no plot. No story line. But I see and understand what Egosoft were trying to get at with this “Extension”. It was just a no-bullshit addon for X-Beyond the Frontier that added a TON of new things. I’ve never actually played it at length though… Never got round to it because in 2003 Egosoft released another game. X-Tension is slightly more improved in graphics to X-Beyond the Frontier.
X-Tension: 2000 – Egosoft
X2: The Threat 2003 - Egosoft
X2: The Threat, I pre-ordered without question. Damn it I wasn’t going to miss another game, by this point I never played X-Tension at all so I was pretty psyched to get it a day before it was actually due to be released (Thank you Amazon for Premature Ejaculations of Games.) I got an upgrade and remembered what I learnt from X-BtF (X-Beyond the Frontier), go above the recommended specs! Despite all this the game just never ran I didn’t get it to run until after I moved home, and was in school (So about May 2003). After getting a hold of updates (Which I had to download at school due to not being in a broadband area) and patches from Egosoft (which I had to download at a friend’s house because Egosoft.com was blocked at school, well until I hacked the shit out of that… But we will leave out how a secondary school student in the UK was able to access porn at school shall we?) I was able to update my machine and play it. In my naïve mind I didn’t see that this was a sign of things to come, now Egosoft are renown for releasing shit, fixing and ending spectacularly which is hardly ever disastrous. </sarcasm>
Needless to say there was a fuckton more to explore, and I had great fun. Sticking into it pretty good and spending more time on my PC than out there “Socialising” to be honest I still prefer it today honestly. The fact that I can do both now is something I’m still… Getting used to.
I spent a lot of time starting up my space empire, I found unknown sectors, (Boldy gone where no one’s gone before!) and decided to set up shop there, (Until I discovered some drained shields or ate hull) so once reloading a save I set up shop again in a good Unknown Sector and started my empire eventually having enough credits to expand until I had a space station in nearly every sector, and fleets in nearly every sector. I was quite proud of myself, honestly.
Then 2005 I decided to give Egosoft another chance, X3: The Reunion which I preordered. This time I got it a day late, by this point I had already started reading the reviews coming in for the game. I remember the negative ones still and the fans who were defending it. This is why I stear clear from that whole area and think upon what I THINK of the game not what a group says I should think. That said it installed properly and I could play it… For a little while. It was bugged to fuck.
I had to wait for a few months for Egosoft to make patches which I downloaded and tried out. Luckily; those patches were effective and I got used to a whole new interface, and I didn’t like the no cockpit thing at all at first, but I don’t know it’s grown on me. The fucking graphics though! ~low whistle~ DAMN. Then 2008 the BEST game ever to come out from Egosoft with Graphics that’d make anyone just want to pick up a spliff and relax at.
X3: The Reunion: 2005 – Egosoft
X3: Terran Conflict: 2008 – Egosoft
I don’t recall getting any problems with X3: Terran Conflict; it installed perfectly, ran perfectly and I had a pretty beefy PC that was capable of running it perfectly, and I got into it hard. Even when I moved to my Acer Aspire 8930G in 2010/2011 I was using it play this game. This was meant to so much to me that I literally included it as a major part of my EPSI Federation piece in the Andromeda RP. It was the “Framework” I used to build and shape their history and included actual game play in with the RP. Just keep that in mind, because the in a bit there is a head turner. I mean the Graphics... Wow.
I’ve spent a good few hours in Albion Prelude (Although have not really being taking part in story line) but that’s just an addon in my opinion to X3: Terran Conflict. This was all before I used Steam (Started 2012).
TRADE. FIGHT. BUILD. THINK.
They actually meaned something to me. The whole point of these X Games, all in space. Now that’s a game.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this trailer for X-Rebirth:
Please watch with sound/subtitles. At the time of writing this there were no annotations or links throughout the video.
I was so excited that it went straight to number 1 on my wish list and a friend of mine was very generous in getting it for me as a pre-order. I was (and still am despite the nasty experience with the game) very grateful to them, but this person is a private person and wishes to remain anonymous so I can’t thank them publicly but I have thanked them several times personally). There’s only two things I looked forward to this year; X-Rebirth and Doctor Who.
WOW! THEY TOPPED X3: TERRAN CONFLICT?!
No. They didn't even top Frontier Elite 2 in my opinion.
Now for my review...
I think X-Refail is an appropriate title to this review. There have been some on Meta Critic that have called it X-Stillbirth, I’d never be so offensive in publicly calling it that, but it’s fairly accurate as well as offensive, unfortunately. So well played in my opinion. Oh and yes I truly feel awful for thinking that.
Yes! X-Rebirth was an unmitigated disaster, despite Egosoft calling it a success. Yes it reached number 1 in sales on Steam, but I wonder how many of them will be calling for a refund? Oh wait…
I know I shouldn’t have expected X4 and I wasn’t but for fuck sakes… What the fuck is this?! THIS TOOK SEVEN YEARS?! Holy shit, sounds like you need The Doctor more than I do! There are so many bugs in the game that people haven’t even been able to play it yet. I have but only to a point; you see there are several large game breaking bugs in it. They’re so bad I think all of current progress is useless (I’ve been compensating by running around picking up loot and selling it oh then I cheated. I decided to start editing my save game to try and undo some of the damage that’s been done. Then I came to realisation as I came away from the story line. This game has worse problems than the fucking awful bugs and these can’t be fixed with a quick and simple patch. Something went fundamentally wrong in the creation of this game, and how no one spotted the bugs is beyond my current understanding at the moment. I blame either subjective blindness or stupidity to be perfectly honest. It doesn’t even feel complete and a lot of core features (ones that made the game so good were stripped!) It feels like a dumbed down version of an X-Game but like before X-Beyond the Frontier or something. Then logical explanations found by fans shed some light on it. The theory goes; The Game was designed for Consoles then for some reason Egosoft decided to scrap that and port it to PC. Which doesn’t make sense seeing as all their games have been PC based (then Linux/Mac I believe) not console basically. You can’t replicate that kind of complex system on a console and to be honest I’d never play a console version of an X game. PC vs XBOX vs PS bullshit aside, I PREFER to being able to upgrade parts in my PC than to buy a new console which (No offence) doesn’t even compare to my PC.
The trailer made some pretty start demands. I felt betrayed when I realised about this (Thank you Steam User: Mr $team [http://steamcommunity.com/id/cerealkilla007/images/?appid=2870] for helping me remember this). Egosoft outright lied (some say) worse than Electronic Arts and even more so blatantly.
"…your actions truly matter when every ship and every space station is a part of a fully simulated universe…" Be honest, really most of these ships are just cannon fodder and it doesn't make a blind bit of difference (Perhaps only in reputation with factions) if I start fly swatting, really. It’s even more noticeable when these ships are coming out of these ridiculous highways.
Also... "manage your empire with help from people you hire aboard gigantic space cities" What Gigantic Space Cities? Where were these? I recall some docks on a space station, but not actual cities. I wasn't expecting the Citadel from Mass Effect (Another EA reference) but geez. Frontier Elite 2 had a more functional (and variant) space dock, at least it had a BBS. This FELT like a joke.
In every X-Game since X-Tension you’ve been able to pilot more than one ship, let’s face in even Frontier Elite 2 got that dynamic right. It makes a game feel more customisable if you can pick your own ship and what parts go into it. If I want an Argon Titan (Lord knows why) all loaded with shockwave generators then fuck. Then that’s what I’m going to make and pilot! We got to customise the ship based on our abilities and what we were good and not good at it’s what made it fun and exciting.
This… FEELS like a console game. There’s no denying it. This guy sums up much of my review and quite honestly I share in his frustration.
If I ever meet this man, I’d buy him a pint.
The campaign (Story mode) is fucked to buggery to be blunt, and the lack of space stations (Nothing stopping from having small stations too was there?!) was insulting. I never completed the game, I got snagged on a Gamebreaker, that’s the bad type of bug that usually comes with a shit storm of angry computer smashin’ fun. [No didn’t allow it to get me that far. Close though </joke>] SETA has been ditched (Yay!) and replaced with some weird Freelancer feeling type shit. Ugh. It felt like a rewind back to the last decade or so; and that’s bad because a decade or so ago they were beyond their time and each time they did this over and over again, and this game has only set the bar backwards. Hell a re-release of X3: Terran Conflict with elements of this game would have been a much better implementation of all this.
Egosoft have been rather good at recovering from disastrous releases, they’re able to patch bugs quickly and show some of that fine German Efficiency at doing it. But this is different, I feel if all the bugs were fixed the game would still be extremely incomplete, from start to finish I have been very disappointed and disgusted about being lied to and offended that they see this as a success. I made this point on their Facebook, Steam and Site and I’ve ran into Fan’s that question my Fandom of the series as a hole. I’d say I was an Egosoft Fan but I’m not a part of the Fandom if that makes sense at all. I probably sound like a rambling hipster now. >_<
Bringing up what I said earlier, I incorporated their games into a creation of mine to help build it up. I don’t expect anything from it, of course; but I’d say that makes me qualified to be a fan, personally. Being a fan doesn’t mean I will take part in the silly debate going on, on Steam. It also doesn’t mean I will push my beliefs in other faces. Instead I decided to make a thread on my own site, and if people want to read it then fair play to them. Likewise if not; then whatever. No hard feelings.
This is why I hate fan groups. I don’t see myself as better than them by all means but I just don’t see the point in arguing about it. It’s all perspective. This is my perspective.
Summary: X Rebirth is just a pile of wank, except that at least leaves a nasty mess for someone to clean up this game is sadly a bit Beyond that Frontier. Egosoft admitted [http://www.incgamers.com/2013/11/egosoft-apologise-for-the-state-of-x-rebirth] that there were nasty bugs in the game and are already working hard in patching it. But as people have stated quite clearly already patches can only do so much; nothing can quite fix the mess that was released on the 15th November 2013. Egosoft in my opinion have to answer for a lot of questions from their loyal (and crazy*) fans. What went wrong? What happened? Why were we lied to? Why did we get rid of what fucking worked and expanded on in X3: Terran Conflict? Who passed off this game? The list goes on… Then I found out that there’s only a very limited amount of sectors overall. Wow… Fuck-this-game.
I suppose the DLC for X Rebirth will be 2 more sectors for £14.99, or 4 more sectors for £24.99. <- At the time of this post, it was intended as a joke.
Some people have said that this will probably be the end of Egosoft, and there’s no doubting they’ve lost a lot loyal fans trust over this, myself included. Some are fine with it, and in my opinion, that’s good for you. But I’m not fine with it. Nothing’s stopping you from putting up a positive review.
Oh and I discovered I have a twitchy finger with this game. I use the keyboard and mouse, because in other games the X-Box controller doesn’t work with it and honestly… I accept that. This game does work with the controller found out today. Apparently easier to use too. Fuck. Anyway every so often I’d just left click to make small adjustments to movement when all of a sudden, twitch, I’ve opened fire on a space station.
The storyline likes substance too. PMC and Albion whatevers are supposed to be hatin’ each other? Why aren’t they fighting? Why are they living side by side each other and shit? Why am I the one singled out and attacked by PMC? Come to think of it when a PMC dickwad starts shooting at me, none of my Albion friends come to my aid? In the previous X-Games I could at least hail a station and ask for assistance, in this game I fucking get told off and punished by Albion when I return fire on a PMC ship? But if these sides hate each other wh-? You see, that’s console logic. That’s why I play PC games. This game has poor graphics considering the standards Egosoft keep raising, even worse voice acting than ever, shittier music and no value in terms of game play. I can't write this review and remain unbaised as best I can with how cynical I am. There's nothing nice to say and the only things that there are is force feeded my cynicism. So I guess I failed here just like Egosoft failed with this piece of garbage.
And Update: Unconfirmed reports of 360 code has been screenshotted from a shaders folder installed with X Rebirth; this is significant because it shows why the chose to stick with DirectX 9. Some have said it was like they made it for the 360 found it wouldn't work and booted it out the door for the PC instead, which is really shameful behaviour in my opinion and if this is true I think we're rightfully owed an explanation. If this was the case the best moral thing Egosoft could do is stand up and admit they screwed us, answer our questions and learn from their feedback. Sales have also fallen sharply on Steam but then again there is apparently an AAA title up there at -40% off. Perhaps someone somewhere is burying this game back into a blackhole where it belongs, in my opinion. Can Egosoft fix it? Well they think they can fix the bugs at least. I still think it's a little beyond that personally. If it does get better and my opinion changes and perhaps I can put something nice in, then I'll come back to this with an addition review (This will remain here) until then lets see if David Braben's Elite IV: Dangerous can make a stunning return as well as RSI's Star Citizen (I should bloody well say so with over $27 Million funding it. Can't wait to review that. But I don't think I'll preorder anymore, and I'll hope my outstanding pre-orders pay off.
*Crazy and its meaning are meant as a perception orientated observation. >_>
Please note that this article was originally posted up on November 17th 2013; we have since redone our articles system and moved the review - which has given it a new "Published Date". Apologies for the inconvenience.