I have only played X Rebirth for a handful of hours thus far, with the video below chronicling my return to the X universe for the first time in several years. It seems Egosoft have pulled their usual stunt of releasing a buggy, broken mess of a game, apologising profusely, and will no doubt rectify the thing over the course of the next few months.
The X universe has always been the stage for one of the more impenetrable space sim franchises out there. The sheer level of detail and scope and depth that Egosoft have continued to bring to their prized series has kept hardcore fans coming back for more, but has also presented a rather steep and immediate learning curve for those who don't want to spend an hour learning and customising key bindings and sifting through endless reams of charts and information.
So here comes X Rebirth -- the first of the exciting "next-gen" wave of space sims that'll also include Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous -- seeking to rectify that inaccessibility somewhat. At first glance, the results are mixed to say the least. I'm in no position to give this game the review its scope warrants just at this stage, but there are some observations worthy of note:
- I've sat staring at space vistas in this game for 15 minutes straight. Seriously, the space-y bits are stunning to behold.
- The layout of the systems adds to this, not to mention the enormous, impossibly-detailed, man-made structures and stations that you can swoop in and out of.
- Seriously, is like bathing your eyes in sci-fi silk. The space bits, anyway...
- You see, NPCs look like badly-beaten shop mannequins.
- The voice-acting is hilariously bad... but the writing is truly, alienatingly hideous. The dialogue options and conversation flow frequently makes no sense. WHO THE HELL ENDS A TALK WITH "Nice chat - NOT!" What world are we living in? What the hell?!
- Your co-pilot will randomly abuse your ship computer for giving you advice when you ask for it.
- Every station's interior seems to be depressingly similar, with NPCs standing rooted to their spots for eternity, sometimes staring blankly at walls and doorframes.
- Sometimes NPCs will tell you to bugger off mid-conversation for no reason whatsoever.
- Easy interaction appears to have been sacrificed to make way for "immersion". This means restrictive cockpit views and having to get up to access menus and maps.
- Where's auto-pilot?!
- I appear to be stuck with this one ship.
There'll be another video diary entry going up towards the end of the week. But here's a little look at the game's opening missions...