X3: Terran Conflict Review

Been awhile since my last post, so here we go. I’ve had the above game for quite some time now, but I haven’t actually played it until recently. It’s a pretty interesting game, not for the storyline, but more for the sandbox gameplay.

The first thing I saw with X3: Terran Conflict are the graphics; the game is simply beautiful and stunning. Everything was very detailed, from the ships, to the planets, and simply the space around you. There is a ton of eye candy in this game.

The game is hard to learn at first, mainly due to there being so many features in the actual game and not enough tutorial lessons. It starts off like any game, you have a small ship with basic weapons, and you need to grow and become powerful. The storyline is really only there to unlock special areas and ships/weapons, but otherwise serves no purpose. Again, as stated above, the storyline is lacking and it’s often repetitive. The voices in the game for the storyline and a few other things are so pathetic, to the point where I’m bursting out laughing. Overall though you get used to it though, and it’s gone as fast as it came due to the short storyline.

The game vastly accelerates as a sandbox mode game, (as in a ‘do what you want’ type game rather then ‘follow this story’). You can purchase ships ranging from ‘scout fighters’ all the way up to ‘large carriers’ which is very fun on it’s own, simply because most other games similar to this only allow the purchase only fighters. You can also have more then one ship of course, which means you’ll slowly build up a fleet, then a empire of ships, if everything goes well. Deciding what weapons and equipment to put on your ships also effect the outcome of your battles, you can go for something that breaks through larger ships more, or something more for fighter combat/defense. There are SEVERAL ships and weapons, well more then you’ll ever get in the game, which is great because it brings alot of choices to pick from. Normally you will start off doing simple missions until you can get a few freighters to haul around trading goods for cash, or enough to be able to take on larger combat missions.

Eventually you’ll end up with a large fleet and you’ll begin to wonder what else you can do in the game. You’ll find out you can actually purchase stations ranging from headquarters to resource generating stations. You’ll need to mange the stations properly, and give them the proper resources to create goods (again which is best using freighters to import/export goods.). You’ll also need to protect your stations using your own ships or by purchasing weapon platforms, as losing a station can be a hard blow on your cash as you won’t see the money returned to you if that does happen. It can be difficult at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

Space combat is pretty well on it’s own, it takes a little bit to master when fighting the smaller/faster ships, as they can be hard to target, but it’s not super difficult. You’ll most likely end up dying the first few times you play, so make sure you save often! At the start, you’ll tend to fight a group called the Xenon, which is simply mechanical race of AI. You’ll meet with other races like the Kha’ak, Pirates, and several of the generic races. You can chose to be a hero or a pirate, depending on the actions you take, such as defending there sectors, or trying to steal there cargo. Each race has there own likes/hates towards you, so doing several things to one race won’t affect the outcome of how another race looks at you.

There are a few things that I’ll quickly mention, such as being able to capture ships using marines, having specific wings, using turrets, being able to upgrade speed/turning/cargo, equipment such as mining drills, navigation systems, and combat systems, and other fun things.

One thing that this game lacks is online play, it’s one major downfall that refrained me from playing this game until now. The game however, as a single player game, is still well on it’s own though. The great thing about this game is that you can script mods in game! There are several mods I would recommend, even before playing ‘vanilla’ to help out with balance. The first three mods I would get right off the bat before playing even the vanilla mod would be Ship Rebalance Mod, the next would be X-Tra Ship/Station Pack. The above three mods will vastly help in balancing all the ships and making them unique, it is HIGHLY recommended to get! There are of course, several other different types of mods ranging from anything you can think up, which you can find most of them at the Egosoft forums. The mods themselves will help with aspects of the game, but it’s always highly recommended to get what ‘mods’ you want first after trying the game out, as adding enough mods will most likely break your old game saves, so you’ll need to be careful. Most mods won’t do this however except major mods, like the ones I’ve posted above.

Just a note, if you ‘do’ play the single player quest missions, expect that you won’t be able to complete it by going in a linear path through the whole storyline due to some of the missions requiring large ship destruction, which you simply won’t do with your tiny starter ship. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you this, so you often end up going to your doom. I would suggest doing a mission or two here and there, but solely focus on making your empire in the game before hand. There is also one mode, called ‘DEAD IS DEAD’, meaning if you die, you die permanently, overall it’s just a simple fun way of playing, but in no means would I suggest this mode unless you know what you are doing. Chances are you ‘WILL’ die several times before you learn the game.

Overall the game is worth taking a look at if you have a bit of patience of learning, it will definitely be worth your time if you do. This game can suck up many hours of your life! But — don’t buy the game for a storyline, buy it for a sandbox style game that has many things to do!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 



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About the Author

I mainly focus on Javascript/PHP/C++/.NET applications for everyday and work. I also am working on a remake of Stellar Frontier, an old 2D top down space battle game with a few fellow programmers.