Monday, November 25, 2013

X Rebirth Impressions

X Rebirth has been out for about a week now, so I figure it is a good time to give my initial impressions of the game.  It's important to note that the game is called Rebirth for a reason and not X4.  It shares a good bit with its predecessors but is also a fresh start.

Graphics.  The space graphics are pretty cool.  Stations are huge complexes which look great.  The lighting is also amazing.  My GTX680 has been keeping up so far, although I have not witnessed any large fighs yet.  The environments are also outstanding, with a lot of variety between areas.

Bugs.  Sadly, the game is pretty buggy.  I hit one issue that prevented me from continuing the main plot line, that is until someone figured out how to correct it by editing the save file.  I shouldn't have to do that.  To EgoSoft's credit, they have been diligent about releasing patches.  During my time playing the game, I've had a few CTD's, so saving often is highly recommended.  F5, quick save, is your friend.

Console.  It is pretty clear that X Rebirth was meant for a console.  In fact, I use my xbox 360 controller to play the game.  The menus scream console.  It would also explain why it seems like some of the depth which made earlier games is gone.  Now the question is, which console and when?

Plot.  No spoilers, but the plot line has been pretty slow so far.  I've been doing a lot of flying, and not much of anything else so far.  Hopefully it'll pick up soon.  I'm really just using the plot as a tutorial before I get down to the real draw of the game: free play.

Trading.  Trading was one of the major features of previous X games and it is again in Rebirth.  The problem is, it is not very user friendly at the moment.  To start, you have track down all the traders on a station since there are usually multiple.  You can purchase a Trade Computer which will gather all of the merchant info for a station by getting close to it.

The data you gather is only temporary.  After 2 hours it will disappear from your trade list.  Unlike previous games, there does not appear to be satellites which can be used to keep getting updated data.  That means you'll have to revisit all of the stations to add them back to the trade list.

Stations.  In Rebirth you can now dock with and walk around in stations.  Sorta.  They use the same ~3 interiors for every station.  You can then walk around and find vendors, folks to hire and mission objective NPC's.  I think this was a completely unnecessary feature and doesn't really add much to the game.

Skunk.  In Rebirth, you are limited to flying one ship, the Albion Skunk.  In previous games you could fly almost anything.  I always thought that was a great feature, so I am sad to see it taken out.  Your ship is pretty limited in what it can do.  For example, you can't trade goods, you have to have a freighter to order around.

Combat.  I haven't done too much fighting yet, but what I have done has been fun.

Modding.  The modding community is alive and well in X rebirth.  They've already released mods which change the game in significant ( and sometimes better) ways.  I will be going over some of the mods in future posts as I use them.

Overall.  I have to say I am a bit disappointed in the game.  It seems to be much more restrictive than the other entries into the franchise.  It just feels like a step backwards.  That's not to say there isn't potential for it to be a good game, it'll just take some time and a lot of patches.