Impressions: The First Few Hours Of X Rebirth

By Craig Pearson on November 15th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Xciting or Xcrement?
X Rebirth is a typical Egosoft game: complex, big, broken in all kinds of ways. I’ve been playing it a bit, as you probably expected. I’ll have a Wot I Think early next week, and you should at least wait until then before thinking about buying it, because thus far it’s been a bit of a mess. Here’s what the first few hours have taught me.

Well, the first lesson is that you can’t judge an X game by the trailers and screenshots that got me so very, very excited. X Rebirth is, as the title suggests, a stab at a renewal: turning a series that was notoriously difficult to new players into a more accessible space game. Until now, it’s been a series that moved at a meditative pace, and one that you’d get the most out of if you have a mind for management and economy. It’s ponderous, and was built for a community that loves the slow, whale-like ships, detailed manufacturing set-ups, and a complicated UI. For everyone else, there is hopefully X Rebirth.

Hopefully.

It’s functionally attractive, full of stars and light and ships and life, and well as being spectacularly pretty. I’ve discovered that the new way it deals with systems, one huge area with several zones around it, has given Egosoft leeway to create massive, incomprehensibly attractive dioramas that dominate the backdrop. The first of these I come across is a cracked open planet. From one of the outer zones, it looks like a moment caught in time: continent-sized lumps flying into space, the planet split open wide enough to see space on the other side of it. But I didn’t imagine I’d be dragged into it, through it, and out the other side, nor that I’d be stopping off at a city built inside the broken body of the planet.

But the care taken over how it looks and feels (it has to be said that the ship is reasonably responsive, though I’ve discovered unbindable keys in the controls), NPCs are basically badly-lit mannequins. In fact, that human element is the root of the biggest strain on my enjoyment thus far. The writing is appallingly low-grade, with chats occasionally ending in: “Nice Chat – Not!”, because Wayne’s World has somehow remained culturally relevant hundreds of years into the future. Worse still is your co-pilot. Even if care wasn’t taken over the random salesmen you’ll encounter, I’d have expected more attention to be paid to your constant companion. She is disastrous: a cliché spouting wreck, voiced by someone who sounds like she’s reading the script for the first time.

This is a real problem that extends throughout the game, not only because it impinges on whatever immersion they’re aiming for (and missed by a mile), but because it has actively hurt my understanding of what’s going on. In order to buy certain items, you need to leave the ship and walk around on one of the many stations, hunting for the correct person to talk to (who’re all unmoving and occupy the same positions in each system’s identikit station design). If you can’t find that person, it’s possible to ask someone for directions. Except they’ll often snap at you and not tell you where you need to go, and for the most part there’s no way of telling how they’ll react until they have. It can be a huge waste of time. I think I’d rather be insulted via the previous game’s menu-driven system. It’s quicker.

It’s strange that so much that was front and centre before is now hidden and awkward to get to, and the reasons for hiding it (immersion) are poorly designed. They’ve stripped a lot of functionality away for the sake of this immersion. In the cockpit, you can see your ammo, ship health, etc. But the view is totally cut down, with lots of solid elements in the way. At a basic level, this makes it tough to keep track of moving targets, and it gets in the way of the oh-so gorgeous world. And if you want a deeper look into trades or the map, you’ll swivel away and look at a panel that extrudes from the ship’s chassis, examining a menu that would be better served as a projection on the main view. And lot of interaction is clearly designed for joypad, requiring you to flick through menu after menu to get to selection that could easily be number 15 on a list.

In some cases, really useful features have been lost. There’s no auto-pilot, so for long trips through multiple systems you’re required to nurse your ship through each jump gate. Yes, it’s not as slow as the previous games, but there was more to it than that: I honestly felt more immersed in the world when I could set my ship going then sit back and admire the AI moving to and fro. That can still happen, to some degree. I can just hang about in a zone and watch, but it’s not the same as setting a course and feeling part of the world. Still, I’ve done that more than once, because sitting and watching the energy freighters manoeuvring, thrumming and fat with cells, is wonderful, particularly around stations: the vast space cities that players can build are like metallic coral reefs, surrounded by ships looking for sustenance. There’s one set of ships (the name eludes me at this moment) who have a little shoal of ships flitting around them. They’re mindless little drones, but I can’t stop crawling along beside their mothership and watching how they fuss over her bulk.

And it scales: I am just at a point in the plot (still the tutorial, really) where a huge battle is taking place, and there’s dozens of ships on screen. Huge, lumbering things spouting out flickering bolts of electricity at each other. There is a phenomenal amount of fury and it looks lovely. Of course, now I’ve said that, I followed a prompt that asked me to dock with a ship, and now it’s not acknowledging that I’m there. I hope I can carry on. Item 151 on today’s glitch list, which so far has included an audio setting crash, and getting stuck in a mission because I followed the prompts on screen and did what it said, which apparently wasn’t the way to do that mission. I’ve not had any real performance issues, though: my i7, 6GB of RAM, and 580 seems capable of supporting huge battles at a decent lick.

But, yeah. I’m a bit lost and sad, and really annoyed with myself that I didn’t see this coming. I’m sorry! I can see what they wanted to do, which sadly means I can see exactly where it’s gone wrong. Who knows? Maybe when I’m done with the tutorial and the game opens up, all this will make sense? Perhaps the UI will magically seem useable, and the chats I have with the annoying NPCs will turn into a stroke of genius? The menu has a ‘Free Play’ option (and like the rest of the game, it’s a cut-down version of the previous X’s multi-choice character start points), so I might just dip into that if the plot fails to resolve/work. If there’s a game under all this ‘immersion’, I intend to find it.

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202 Comments »

  1. Cytrom says:

    The trailers looked like an MMO.. played in single player.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Every MMO looks like a single player game…with more players.

      • Cytrom says:

        Except unlike good singleplayer games, MMO-s without players are just boring dead scenes echoing with emptiness, where every action you make feel meaningless, incosequential and highly repeatable. Actually they feel like that even with players, which is why I don’t play MMORPGs.

        • WrenBoy says:

          To be fair to egosoft, the world seems much more alive than in previous games. At least when you are in your ship it does, the stations are a bit naff.

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          Mmm. Kingdoms of Amalur proved that.

        • BooleanBob says:

          I was really excited to play Xenoblade, but when I finally tracked down a copy at a not-insane price your description above was the exact thing I was met with.

          • Darloth says:

            I didn’t find that about Xenoblade. Even quite early on, there are tons of quests with choices that actually change things – not major things, but they’re certainly not repeatable. Lots is different by the end of the game, for certain – your actions and those of others in the story have had a MASSIVE effect on the state of the gameworld.

          • BooleanBob says:

            Perhaps I gave up on it too soon, then (a mere twenty hours!). I’ll consider having another crack – I noticed I was having a minor impact here or there with quests, but the overall feeling of being the only player connected to an MMO server was undeniable up to the point I played.

    • gattsuru says:

      Given that it’s often advertised by word of mouth as “EVE OffLine”, I’m pretty sure that the lack of players is a problem for a lot of people. EVE’s an interesting sociology experiment, but not everyone wants to deal with scammers as a major part of gameplay.

      I’d rather it have a more alive universe, but the space sim genre’s not exactly filled with ‘living’ universes. Maybe Star Citizen will do better, but a good space-shoot-’em-up and trade-sim has a market at least until that game comes out.

      • iridescence says:

        I actually find the pre-rebirth X games way more confusing than EVE. EVE is actually pretty straightforward, it’s just a game that encourages you to specialize rather than do everything (and if you try to do everything you will be overwhelmed) but with X, I’ve tried picking those games up after not playing them for a while and I’m completely lost again about how the controls and UI works. I’d take EVE over X in a heartbeat, it’s a much better designed game, but not having to pay a sub fee for X is a definite plus and also there’s not having to deal with EVE’s often toxic community which cuts down the drawback of playing alone.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Not just “an MMO”, its EVE: Online: Offline.

      But considering EVE: Online costs a monthly fee and is one of the most insanely complicated and difficult games ever made, the idea of EVE:Online:Offline actually is pretty appealing.

      Alternatively, its Skyrim in space.

  2. phelix says:

    I do hope Egosoft hold true to their tradition of post-release support – often adding tons of new features, as well as fixing bugs and adding polish. The Terran Conflict I played in 2008 wasn’t the same as the one I played in 2012.

    Also: Mod support.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      That was my first thought when reading about the problems as well – Egosoft are pretty good at long term support. The X games have also had a fairly active modding community which the devs endorse and encourage so at least the chances of niggles being sorted out in the longer term are pretty good.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        The reaction from long time X-Fans does so far seem to be “Leave it a year and then come back when its cheaper, fixed and has all the features people wanted in the first place”. Given that this seems to be par for the course for this series, it does seem bizarre that they have opted to sell it at the £35-£40 range. Have to say I am glad I did not pre-order, though those sexy trailers did have me tempted.

        Here’s hoping £40, slightly broken releases don’t become the norm.

        • iniudan says:

          Sexy trailer also tempted me, but was easy to restrain myself, has I need a new GPU first.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          $50 slightly broken games have been the norm for at least two years now.

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          Ham Solo says:

          With games that attract a somewhat smaller audience than the mainstream shooty corridoors it seems to be often this case… wait a year after it’s been released, then buy it. Arma, X, Dark Souls…

          • Crane says:

            No, you should have bought Dark Souls immediately after it was released.
            Then you would have been playing the perfectly excellent PS3 version.

          • sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

            Crane: What’s a PS3?

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Aye. I can imagine modders and patches scraping all the crap away. Still :*(

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Hi Craig. Just curious – are you guys reviewing the release version, or did Egosoft provide pre-release code for you? I was hoping it would be a case of NDA’s lifting and multiple lovely full reviews being published. I’ve even been watching videos in german for a taster [I did OK in GCSE German, but not enough to decipher if the hyperdrive might be leaking or if my character needs a 10 meg pipe]

        • Premium User Badge

          Craig Pearson says:

          No-one had review code. I was given access to the beta, but it was broken.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Out of curiousity how badly broken was the beta compared to the day 1 release?

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Do you think the “no review code” was the product of a company working flat out til the last minute, or, less admirably, an attempt to minimise impact on pre-order and day one sales? Not knowing the company that well I hope it’s not the second option. This doesn’t seem quite as diabolical as say, Colonial Marines but there’s definitely a mismatch between the hype and the delivery.

          • arccos says:

            They were patching it up to the day of release with some beefy patches, so my guess is it wasn’t ready. It really could have used a couple more months. It’s such a shame, because it’s going to get dinged pretty bad for the problems that could’ve been fixed ahead of time.

      • Shodex says:

        Bad voice acting is not likely to be fixed. That said it’s become a staple of the series. The female sidekick in X2 and X3 was cringe worthy. There was a guy named Ban Danna, and a an alien race called the Kha’ak (pronounced Cock).

        It’s no excuse not to improve, but it’s no surprise either. Bad acting is a part of Space Sims for me.

    • mouton says:

      Speaking of Egosoft traditions, it’s nice they still can’t do writing and voice acting. It’s like they don’t take it seriously.

    • frightlever says:

      I hope you’re right, but for a game to be modded to greatness it needs to have a modding community and to have a modding community it needs to be played.

      I held off buying it purely on a price basis, but figuring I’d cave some time next week just before my birthday to treat myself. Now I need a new birthday game.

      I mean, no auto-pilot? I was already sceptical about the immersion when I read on here that you had to wander around the stations to make trades – because that’s how business is conducted, right? There’s no email in the X universe apparently. No auto pilot is just hurting players to feed a vision of a game nobody really wants. Who tests these things and thinks that forcing busy work on a player is a good idea? It’s QTE all over, dammit.

      So sad. Really hope Egosoft pull this one out of the fire. It’s getting annihilated over on Amazon reviews.

      Also, seriously I need a new birthday game. Currently semi-addicted to Guild Wars 2 again. but that can’t last.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        What sort of game are you after? If you like RTS I can recommend Wargame: AirLand battle. Its got deep, layered strategy, its tense and makes you feel clever as hell when you succeed. I am getting quite drawn into it. [Always used to be an FPS guy but got bored, bought Bioshock: Infinite with the free X-Com ... basically played XCom for 120 hours and chucked Bioshock to one side after 3 :) ]

        • frightlever says:

          I’ll look into that. I haven’t much liked RTS since TA but I’m open to the idea.

          TBH I’m liking the look of the latest Humble Weekly Bundle and think Conquistadors might kill some time next week.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Conquistadors does indeed look rather splendid. Thanks for the tip :)

      • KDR_11k says:

        From what I can tell the on-foot trading is only for small quantities of small items or equipment, if you want to trade 10k energy cells you still fly up to a trading dock and input your order via the ship computer (these orders are then loaded onto your freighters, you get some early in the story campaign). The vendors on the station are in addition to the station’s function. It’s a bit convenient, they let you get some missile ammo or a new gun without having to find a station that specializes in those. Of course it’s also annoying when you’re looking for something specific like the hacker drone you need early in the campaign and none of the vendors you find stock that item (I had to fly over to the DeVries habitat station to find that specific drone, nobody in Albion sold that).

      • cautet says:

        The modders are already there. The previous games in the series have been substantially improved by decicaded modders.

        As for no-one playing it – I disagree. There isn’t really anything at all like the X series (except eve) – for those saying Eve or the X series is complicated – I think UI on the X series tend to be more confusing and the inital learning curve can be daunting but the games themselves are not that complex. Eve is a more diificult and deep gaming experience, and more brutal in many respects.

        The advantage of a single player like an X game vs Eve though is the slow pace of Eve and the grind to get to a self-supporting position and to cover losses for the activities you want to carry out. All MMO’s suffer to a certain degree with waiting and with time-consuming activities just to maintain position, and Eve is certainly no exception to this.

    • vahnn says:

      I watched several first impression videos, as well as read a few, and decided I would wait a bit until Egosoft spent some time tinkering with the game, fixing it up, and adding some polish. It was a solid idea.

      Then I drank scotch all night, blacked out, and when I woke up the next morning and decided what to play on Steam, I saw X: Rebirth. DAMMIT!

      I haven’t encountered any of these game-breaking glitches or bugs yet, but I did have one crash to desktop, and the stations… Well, the stations are awful. And your co-pilot is… awful. And the dialog… It’s more awful than previous X games, because in the previous X games, you could speed through it or ignore it all together. In X: Rebirth, they try to give the game a cinematic feel, and the cut scenes and parts where two characters are speaking become the focus… And you can’t ignore it. It’s just in-your-face AWFUL.

      But I still see a lot of potential here, and there is still a lot that feels faithful to the previous X games. I hope they can work out the kinks, because I’d love to spend a couple hundred hours in this beautiful universe.

  3. Velko says:

    What a shame.

  4. WrenBoy says:

    Craig is a better gamer than me sad to say. I got stuck on the trading mission when my freighter refused to trade and gave up long before any grand battle. SadFace.

  5. Rich says:

    “There’s no auto-pilot”
    Say what?!?

    • WrenBoy says:

      And when you are in highways there is even a minigame you have to play if you want to optimize your speed. If you couldn’t be bothered you still have to pay attention to manually select when to exit most of the time.

    • dE says:

      The cynical side of me says: That’s a vast improvement over previous titles. I still have nightmares of trying to never be in the same system as my freighters, for fear of the Autopilot. It had that lovely habit of crashing into stations and jamming capital ships straight into jumpgates (never mind the fully powered jump drive of course, who’d use that, hah certainly not the unmodded autopilot). With the added bonus of pissing off the entire sector, because it kept collecting crater-sized ship debris on its hull.

      • frightlever says:

        You made me LOL. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. In X3 you became the most hands off boss in the world because if you could see your employees, chances were they were being illuminated by a halo of burning debris. Ah, good times.

    • Herkimer says:

      Yeah, that’s bonkers. As dE points out, it’s not like the previous autopilot was, you know, good, but it did function in a way.

      Set the autopilot, hit the time compression button, it’s the only way to fly.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Are…are you sure there’s no autopilot? I’m having trouble believing that because, well, that’s just insane, frankly. Unless Egosoft have made it something you have to buy because, I don’t know, Buying Things Is Fun?

      • vecordae says:

        There IS an autopilot of a sort, though it’s not an elegant solution, nor is it as useful as the previous game’s autopilot.

        If you’re playing the tutorial/campaign, you get a capital-class freighter early on. This can be directed to take you to different zones. You can sit in the hangar and watch through the front window or you can hover over the ship and let it drag you along. Upsides: Pretty vistas moving about. Downsides: Only takes you to a zone, rather than a specific point, takes about five more button/mouse click than it needs to.

  6. Bobsagoth says:

    7 hours in and i had quite great time. Crashed only twice so i must one of the lucky ones and had fun times waiting for cap freighter to dock for hour ( all was forgiven after i watched the maneuvers from said freighters hangar). First (afaik) station after leaving Albion systems was indeed much more than the standard layout things but i won’t be expecting that much improvement.

    “Good” old voice acting with same people kinda brings back memories from years back so i can’t really complain bout that either. All in all i allready had my 50 € worth from this came compared to Brutal Legend that lasted 4.5 hours with price tag of 60 € and theres yet more to be done in this one.

    Games should be shipped ready ofc but after seeing X 3 (havent played much of others between these) grow what it was in the end with help of modders and Egosof,t i can’t wait what will happen during next months/years.

    • WrenBoy says:

      Yeah it seems to me like it will be a great game by the time they release an expansion. Its got lots going for it but its hard to enjoy in its current state.

  7. biggergun says:

    >NPCs are basically badly-lit mannequins

    This was my biggest fear. I still have nightmares about X NPCs, but foolishly hoped that “rebirth” also meant “hiring at least one person capable of doing passable human models and animations”. Too bad.

  8. DrManhatten says:

    Honestly I saw this coming from a million miles away when I saw the first in-game trailer I though oho I am not sure if this is going to be that great. And I played X2 – The Threat to the latest X3 Albion Prelude + a couple of very great MODs. They cut away too much of the good stuff and added too much tedious things like having to walk around and find trading partners that sounded already very bad. X-Game was good because you could streamline the annoying bits. In this one it sounds you can’t. Definitely waiting for V2.0 on this one. Luckily the X community is very vocal.

  9. Dominic White says:

    There are pretty big performance problems on some systems. Even at 720p with almost every detail option set to minimum, Fraps’ benchmark over four minutes of non-combat gameplay told me I was averaging out at 11fps, when my PC is in excess of the Recommended system specs.

    Other people with much weaker PCs are reporting far better performance.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      It seems to be sector dependent for me. I get 50 avg in some sectors, but others such as frozen circuit I was hitting 10fps at one point.

  10. epmode says:

    Well we still have Star Citizen, amirite?

    Dammit, I should’ve taken my own advice and skipped the pre-order.

    • Stardreamer says:

      “…amirite?”

      No. Of all the space games coming at us SC seems the least concerned with giving us a vibrant, dynamic universe to explore.

      It’s the choice of the war junkie, not the serious space geek.

    • frightlever says:

      If the pre-order hype for X Rebirth has taught us anything, it’s that you should wait until release before buying anything. I hope Star Citizen turns out great. I never played any of the Chris Roberts games – I was on a game sabbatical back then – but he seems to have the vision thing, that doesn’t mean that what gets released is going to be any better than what X Rebirth is right now. Again, hopefully not. I’m just saying that you can’t assume a game is going to be great because you want it to be great.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I came close to pre-ordering X-Rebirth, but my wallet chastised me and told me not to be silly after the lesson I learned from a couple of particularly catastrophic past pre-orders. Its worth posting this TB video at this point I think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf5Uj4XIT1Y

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        Yes I have seen a lot of people saying this about SC. The thing is, SC is all just hype and intentions right now, do they learn nothing?

  11. Zenicetus says:

    I’m a sucker for space games so I had to try it, even though I knew from previous X titles what I was in for. I hope the sandbox mode lets me get away from that awful male teenager voice and persona in the campaign, although I fear I’m stuck with him as an avatar. Ugh.

    Something I wasn’t expecting, because it’s not that easy to see in the still frame screenshots, is how heavily cell-shaded the graphics style is. The interior of your ship looks like Borderlands, and I hate it. They took a very different approach here from the smooth, glossy-looking graphics of previous games, both inside and outside the ship, and I’m not sure I can get used to it.

    With all the current bugs, I think I’ll shelve it and come back in a month or three to see where it stands.

    • soldant says:

      I’m not sure what you mean, it doesn’t look cell shaded to me?

      • Zenicetus says:

        All the thick black outlines around everything in the ship interior, and around details of stations and other ships? I dunno, maybe cel-shaded is the wrong term, but it looks like they thought Borderlands was a great game and they copied that style.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      The black outlines are probably caused by SSAO being enabled. The game does not feature cel shading whatsoever.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Cel shading is a graphics style, it’s not SSAO. Look it up. I feel like my ship is a cartoon.

  12. johnkillzyou says:

    But. The coffee. You didnt try to make coffee? In the game there is coffee. Go to your ships kitchen and have coffee. Truly revolutionary game mechanics!

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      It has to be said, I do like coffee

    • crinkles esq. says:

      I like the coffee at Interplanetary House of Pancakes. It’s a tasty brew.

  13. hemmingjay says:

    This is a well thought out and well written article with the best of intentions. However, it means nothing to X series fans. We know the games are a mess on release. We know that they were going to do away with some of our favorite features in order to attempt to fix other issues we have long hated. We don’t care that they have all of these problems. Half of the fun of X games is learning to cope with the limitations, much as a real space loner would have to, and to wait for the free market(modders) to come fix our problems and give us a higher standard of living.

    TLDR – X series is for those with a true pioneer spirit. For those who like the challenge of fixing a game with broken features and untold opportunity. I for one am as happy as can reasonably be expected. It will be $30 just after the holidays with any luck. In the mean time, myself and others will be having fun and will be getting to work on the broken features. Cheers!

    • Consumer says:

      Hemmingjay, really? If you are serious, this is the epitome of paradoxical psychological justification. “Half the fun” of a game shouldn’t be an unintended result of poor development. Sure, modding can be a great part for a community to build upon a game or change it. But if you think that it’s acceptable that a game is released half-finished and broken and any huge issues with the game actually improve your enjoyment of the game, you’re justifying your enjoyment of the game and series from this developer.

      This either seems like an underhanded insult to either the author of this article or to the fanbase of the X series. By similar logic, your favorite restaurant could be one that serves moldy, half-cooked food that you just love sanitizing and cooking yourself before eating. I’m not saying we need to be served perfect portions of software served on silver platter, but what you are describing borders on determination and masochism. So while I applaud the superficial message you seem to be sending and I won’t try to force you to change, it seems highly contradictory and backwards.

      What I will concede is that I, for being impassioned in programming and game development myself, can see how some people would love the challenge and growth of filling in the gaps or completing the puzzle of fixing the game. But this is a highly niche crowd and should not at all represent the “X series fans” this article “means nothing to.”

      PS: Your tl;dr clause is nearly as long as your actual comment. ;)

      • hemmingjay says:

        I won’t bother to restate my point, which you both retort and concede to. Your ability to reject and summarily accept my argument leads me to believe you are intent on finding a point of contention regardless of the content. It is further enforced as you felt the need to critique the tldr as well, albeit likely half in jest, for no good reason.

        tldr: You are bored and looking for a fight ;)

        • farrier says:

          I don’t know, hemmingjay; I think you may have misinterpreted his tone. I think he managed to take a contrary opinion to yours and express it in a respectful and thoughtful way. Seems more like trying to pick a debate than a fight. In fact, he’s empathizing with your opinion. There is something to be said for a community to work on fixing a developer’s mistakes or taking up the rest of the work, being a part of that completion (not growth really, completion), but it isn’t for everyone.

          I’m a huge X fan and love the modding community, but each release coming out as a “mess” just saddens me. I want to build on top of a game, not help finish the foundation. Though again, some people love that part too and should probably get into game development any way they can. But I think you’re implying, though I may have misread you, that a true fan of the X series would enjoy this — not words you used precisely, but that seems to be what you mean.

          I disagree, and I think consumer does too. But to his credit, he did recognize that it was possible to feel otherwise.

          And I would take the “TL;DR” comment as just fun-poking. Before he replied I was going to suggest a “STL;DR” (still too long) addendum, again as a joke.

        • Consumer says:

          Hey, I thought I’d post back to show that I acknowledge your reply. Indeed, farrier pretty much hit everything I was going to reply with.

          I’ll address it more concisely and less aimlessly. I was interested in a sense of cognitive dissonance, Stockholm syndrome, or one or another categorizations that sum up my point. A game should at least resemble a complete, working product–it doesn’t need to be polished to perfection, but it can’t be a pile of rubble for you to mess around with. Because we all know humans can be entertained by what they WANT to be entertained by–they can stare at an increasing number in Cookie Clicker for hours or justify purchases in games like WarZ or Aliens Colonial Marines.

          I conceded to that one particular point because, as mentioned, I DO find those general things fascinating. That’s why I started programming when I was 11 all the way to college and can still find it fun to program in a workplace. That’s obviously not normal, that is, not something that a comparatively large number of people are interested in.

          And yes, my winky face meant that last thing in jest. Thought it was something a little amusing I would point out. God knows I’m guilty of being verbose, anyways.

    • WrenBoy says:

      What gets me is that this represents 7 years of work. If there was only 2 months left of polish why not wait an extra 2 months.

      I mean I realised when I bought it on day 1 that I was taking a risk but since they have been promising wonderful interfaces for months now I thought that would be working at least. I honestly wonder if a single tester was able to get past the tutorial without encountering an interface bug.

      • hemmingjay says:

        Two month of development can represent $200,000 that they might not have had. They probably were many many thousands into debt by this point and needed to release to get money to finish the game. It’s EXTREMELY common. I would bet that many of their employees had gone months with out being paid by the time that they released, which is also common.

        There is no magic button to just finish a game. Sometimes, you have to make due and hope for the best.

        • WrenBoy says:

          Not paying employees for months is extremely common? Read that out loud to yourself just to hear how its sounds.

          Edit: and if they are not paying employees what would the 200k get spent on?

        • kael13 says:

          I’ll make it easy for you, Hemmingjay. Essentially, you’re the most depressing kind of fanboy; the apologist.

          It’s quite sad really. Like the bruised, tearful-eyed wife in an abusive relationship. You just can’t bear to see your precious husband dragged off to jail.

        • yusefsmith says:

          It’s almost as if, they should wait for the game to be ready for release, before releasing the game? SO CRAZY IDEA.

        • KDR_11k says:

          More likely their publisher just said “push it out now, we want those Christmas sales”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      FYI: I am a fan of the X series. I’ve been with it since X: Beyond The Frontier.

    • MultiVaC says:

      The whole point of this game was to get around all of the barriers that kept so many people from being able to appreciate the previous X games. They were really making an effort to have the pioneer spirit be encouraged while you’re playing the game, not while you’re trying to figure out how to even make it work. It’s a huge bummer that it didn’t seem to work out, I was really looking forward to finally having an X game that I would actually be able to get into. I’ve always loved the idea, but the execution has always made it too hard for me to get the hang of.

    • frightlever says:

      Respectfully, you’re being overly optimistic, buddy. X series fans aren’t enjoying this any more than people new to the series. Have you SEEN the Egosoft forums? There are Egosoft apologists on there – you know that’s the wrong word. There are people who trust Egosoft to do the right thing, and I would include myself among them, who are defending the game but there’s an almighty wave of anger going on, including from some notable long time posters. But look, we have more in common than not on this and I think we would agree that the game will be better next month and probably unrecognisable in six months time.

  14. Stevostin says:

    That’s exactly how I deinstalled X3 maybe one hour after installing it. Horrible NPCs killing every chance to get involved in the game.

  15. realitysconcierge says:

    Thanks Craig. I had high hopes that they’d finally nail down accessibility, but it seems that they didn’t quite hit the mark. Ah well :/

  16. cbrons says:

    In my experience games like this are complete trash. In order to make something like this even remotely playable, it has to be developed for many years by a big-time studio. All the of the recent MMORPGs released by nobody studios have been garbage, including the free to play ones. I knew this game was trap because the entire trailers out there were just flying around in a ship, highlighting amazing graphics. To me that said there was more than likely little to no gameplay to speak of

    • gattsuru says:

      It’s… not an MMO, and the combat mechanics aren’t that bad — less dogfighty than classic space sims, but still responsive and blasty, and you can remote control a fighter drone for the XWing feel.

      The problem is that you leave combat, and you’re stuck dealing with terribad voice-acting giving you bad directions to a merchant that shouldn’t be nearly so tedious to find.

  17. Squirly says:

    Anybody remember a game called Battlecruisder 2000 AD or something like that? I rented it for a weekend when I was 12. It had such an obtuse interface that any of the X games will look streamlined. You needed a thick manual to know who to talk to, where to go, what to do and when you finally found yourself in a ship, none of the buttons you pushed made it go forward. It was as untested and unplayed as this X iteration sounds like.

    • Gravy100 says:

      I remember it, but it was mainly due to the saucy jo guest fronted advert. Witness the crimes of mid 90s PC gaming advertising: http://www.granhaug.no/mikael/old/pics/Battlecruiser.jpg

      Also I remember it being dogwank ‘pon its release and avoided it, sorry you had to struggle through it…

    • hemmingjay says:

      It was Battlecruiser 3000A.D. and it was part of a long running series of spaceship sims by the illustrious “Dr” Derek Smart. The game was notable for it’s ambition, obtuse interface and outlandish behavior of it’s sole developer. The game was very cool and awful at once.

      • MartinWisse says:

        Yeah, I remember Derek Smart hanging around in the old Usenet rec.arts.computers.sys.ibm-pc.games.strategic group having massive flamewars with anybody who criticised his masterwork.

  18. Gravy100 says:

    If Egosoft had hoped to tempt new players to their franchise with Rebirth it looks like it was in vain, I was really interested after the tasty trailers but sadly it looks like they rushed this release..:(

    • Premium User Badge

      Rizlar says:

      I’ve never played an X game before, but X-Wing and Tie Fighter were childhood staples and living worlds really interest me. So against my better judgement I’m really tempted to try X-Rebirth.

      Craig does have a lot of good things to say about the game, as well pointing out the half-baked, buggy failings. Guess I will wait for a full review.

  19. Yosharian says:

    That’s a shame, I was really hyped about this game… Maybe it will improve after some weeks’ worth of patching.

  20. thebwt says:

    SHOW ME YOUR WARES, PLEASE!

    seriously, if we could just turn off the voices…

    • Blackcompany says:

      Oh god, they went there? Really?

      When others said its “Skyrim in space” I didn’t think they meant it literally. Why oh why would you copy what has to be one of the worst facets of a game with a lot of facets vying for the crown?

  21. Shadow says:

    I have to say I did expect this. I was still excited, I expected a buggy release and sub-standard performance but hoped it wouldn’t be drastically so, which was the case for X3. Even in its latest incarnation, X3 still suffers from unjustifiable performance issues due to its terrible single-core, CPU-based engine.

    I really hope Rebirth’s technical problems can be fixed, which wasn’t the case for its predecessor’s. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be worth the 50-dollar asking price at the moment. Right now it’s on the same boat as Rome II for me, another game I feel I can’t shell out the cash for until they make it worth the pricetag.

  22. Zenicetus says:

    If any hardcore space enthusiasts from ye Olden Days need one more reason to avoid this game, it doesn’t support joystick control.

    The only settings are for gamepad, so forget using a HOTAS setup unless they decide to support joysticks at some point. I didn’t notice it at first, because I always try to figure out default keyboard controls before mapping things to my joystick.

    I was already at the point of shelving the game for a while, but that was the last straw.

    • Premium User Badge

      Stellar Duck says:

      Yea, that was when I decided to not buy it.

      I mean, I have a pad but why on Gods green earth would I use it instead of a HOTAS? My mind. It boggles. Do they really expect me to suffer through using a pad for that many hours? Not going to happen.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Joysticks seem to work fine in the new x, except when they don´t for some unknown reasons.

  23. Fiatil says:

    Easy tips to maximize your enjoyment:

    1) Turn voice volume to 0
    2) Play Free Play mode

    That’s really all there is to it. The story is a huge buggy horrible mess with the worst voice acting you’ll ever encounter. If you want a giant space sandbox that lets you amass fleets and build giant space structures, this game is great. I didn’t expect the hopes of accessibility to be realized, this is still the X series. The interface isn’t quite as horrible as X3 was at launch, so if you’re willing to spend a bit to crack its shell you’ll have a fantastic time. If you came for anything but the game play and the pretties (in space, people not so much) you’ll be disappointed. This mini wot I think is spot on.

    • thebwt says:

      After playing the story to the point of needing to buy 8 marines (but most of possible civilization being red to me), I’m taking this advice and getting started in free mode.

      Are the gates just on then?

    • Zenicetus says:

      It isn’t “still the X series” unless they restore joystick support.

      I was kinda hoping for TrackIR too, but one look at that cockpit told me there wouldn’t be any point if they did. This is a poorly executed console game, for those of us who remember what space games used to be like.

      • Fiatil says:

        I’m sorry it’s ruining your enjoyment of the game. That is a pretty lame omission for a space sim, but X3 in particular has always been famous for how suited it is to mouse and keyboard controls. With all of the menu-ing I wouldn’t really want to play with a joystick, but I do wish it supported it more for those who care. It seems like something that will be fixed or added in soon, as the controls do say controller/joystick.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Well, it’s worse than just “not supporting joysticks” as it turns out.

          I’m getting a continual sideways drift because the game is reading something off my Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS (even though I can’t configure it). I’ve done a little looking around forums, and some people have managed to kill the spurious inputs by unplugging their joysticks before launching the game. There is no way in hell I’m going to do that, and have to reconfigure my setups in other games like Rise of Flight or X-Plane every time I launch them.

          It’s one thing to not support a controller. It’s another whole layer of fail, to make the game completely unusable if you have an unsupported controller connected. In a PC game, no less!

        • Fiatil says:

          I’ve been reading the same thing and that just makes it sound damn buggy to me. They intended to support joysticks, and just somehow horribly botched it/rushed it out of the door. That seems to increase the likelihood of it being fixed, but obviously still no fun for the time being.

      • Stiletto says:

        I do agree with you on the Joystick support. It’s quite horrible, I must say.
        Yes, I know that it plays perfectly well with mouse+keyboard setup, but I like my space sims with a joystick or even TrackIR.
        I do have a budget Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X right now, it’s simple and has plenty of options for various flight/space sim games. It actually works for steering and thrust on the ship in the game.

        However, when it was time to configure the buttons, I couldn’t even configure the R1 or R2 triggers on the yoke to fire my weapons. They’re apparently fixed to the in-game menu and cannot be changed. So yeah, I’ll leave X: Rebirth collecting some dust on the side until they put in a decent Joystick support.

        Though, I sort of expected for this to happen, really. Considering that I’ve played all X games since the first one.

  24. Awesumo says:

    After trying it I’ll say this – the flight system is okay, though the console commands and menus are diabolitcal.
    enter – 5 – 2 – press mouse on CO… twice… – 3 – 1 , is one of the early wtf control moments that let you know that they have completely failed to simplify them.
    The ‘Off Ship’ moments are decidedly 3rd rate, and yet a seemingly essential part of the game, especially for the story line, and randomly you just steal anything that you can while off your ship… apparently just so that there is something for you to do… It honestly feels like someone said ‘we spent all this money doing the offship parts so I’ll be damned if we are going to cut it!’ When it so obviously is sub-par and should of been left on the cutting room floor.
    .
    Sadly I can’t see a patch solving most the core gameplay problems, though the performance issues and plethora of bugs (I mentioned that it struggles to reach 10 fps at times on my fairly high end pc right?) will be ironed out.

    • WrenBoy says:

      This is hardly the worst UI bug I encountered but for the record I am playing in English but with an azerty keyboard. So all the tutorial tips are laid out for qwerty but the key binding are actually bound for azerty. So when I tried for enter 1 it took me a while to realise it should have been enter &.

      Agree with you on the crumbiness of interiors compared to exteriors but I think you will find that in every X game you were the only one willing or able to loot crates. Its just more obvious when you walk up to a guard, steal 20 spacesuits from under his nose and then lug them off to a bar to hire a pilot who must be pretty fucking drunk to allow himself to be employed by a joker carrying said spacesuits and who is also stinking of freshly pilfered fertiliser.

      • Awesumo says:

        I actually had no problems with bugs. My problems were entirely to do with core game mechanics being terrible. The UI is the first nightmare you meet, far worse than other X games, but after that you find the broken trading and mining systems.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Martel says:

    I agree with these impressions, yet I am also loving it and very happy I bought it. Probably helps that I’m not having any of the technical issues listed, other than some sluggishness. I am pretty close to killing my campaign and just doing free play though, as that’s the reason I got the game anyway.

  26. Caiman says:

    Buying an X game at launch makes about as much sense as buying a new console at launch: it works, but it doesn’t really come into its own until many months down the line when the bugs have been ironed out / decent games have been released for it (delete as appropriate).

    • Keyrock says:

      It’s true. Anyone who knows Egosoft knew (as I did) that the game would be a mess at launch. I pre-ordered it anyway. I guess I’m a masochist.

    • Zenicetus says:

      They must have an amazing cash reserve to fall back on then, or else their financial plans are based only on holding onto the previous hardcore user base. I have a feeling they’re going to get creamed when the reviews come out. Especially since this was touted as the new and improved, user-friendly version of the series.

  27. Keyrock says:

    It’s a good game… or, it will be a good game, eventually. The pieces are there, however, as per Egosoft standard procedure, the game is a mess at launch. Flightstick support is incomplete/broken right now (how the fuck do you now make sure flightstick support is up to snuff when launching a space sim?). People are reporting performance issues (My performance is fine, in line with what I expected of my system). Voice acting is cringeworthy, as usual. Character models and animations are laughably bad. Still, when you’re in space the game is gorgeous. Even having to begrudgingly use m&kb until they get their shit together and fix flightstick support right, the ship controls quite well. Having one gargantuan area rather than a bunch of small sectors is a plus, even if SETA is gone. I have no problem with the cockpit obscuring space for me, but then again, I always played with cockpit view, going so far as to use a mod in the games that lacked it just so that I could have cockpit view. It’s still a big, lovely sandbox where I can build a gigantic trading empire and make profitssss. Plus, the X modding community, as it always does, will make sure that this game gets better and better, plus Egosoft have always been good about supporting and adding on to their games for years to come.

  28. Duke of Chutney says:

    NO AUTOPILOC!?

    Im not surprised that the characters and story sucked. The ‘story’ in each of the previous games has been pretty woeful, and i’ve generally avoided them. I also ways figured it was a risk to inflict more of it upon the player.

    I will probably pick this up at a later date once its been iterated on either by egosoft or modders.

    Is the sound track good? The sound track to Reunion was awesome.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Heh Auto-Pillock sounds like a really douchey transformer

  29. grimdanfango says:

    The X series is one of those where I always wondered how it got so much attention in the past. Especially everyone saying how beautiful it is, as Craig keeps going on about here. It’s not beautiful, it’s busy… they have awful lazy visual design, can’t paint or apply textures to save their lives, can’t build an engine that actually lights things properly, so they just throw in as much stuff as possible to try and draw your eye, and crank up the saturation and contrast so everything looks neon. How does anyone think this looks good?!

    The crappy design has always extended throughout all aspects of the games, and has always been apologised for. Every version that’s come out over the years has garnered praise along the lines of “There’s a fun game to be found if you can ignore the hideous interface, awful attempts at storyline, etc, etc”
    – basically, as a series, it has only ever managed to seem significant by virtue of the fact that nobody else turned up to actually do it properly, so it was the only show in town.

    It’s rather funny that this installment has seen the developers seeking to “streamline” in order to bring in a larger audience – completely missing the point that their game mechanics and interface weren’t alienating in the first place from being too complex, they were alienating because they were designed appallingly. So this time they’ve failed at address the true issue entirely, and simply managed to add “dumbed down” to that long long list of design flaws.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      I perhaps wouldn’t go that harsh, but I don’t find X Rebirth that pretty either. It looks stylized in a bad way, some of the effects and models are decidedly lower detailed than others and yet performance is apparently all over the place. The tone mapping is rather in your face, too.

      Also what in the hell is that gigantic cockpit that’s taking over half the screen? I hate those so much.

      • grimdanfango says:

        It is a harsh opinion I suppose, but I tend to get that way when I feel like things get steeped in undeserved praise. (Don’t get me started on the Elder Scrolls games :-P)

        My issue with the visual design is that it feels like nothing has any sense of belonging or purpose, it’s all just there to look complicated and to fill space. The way Michael Bay designs his Transformers, (and directs his cameras), lots of fuss and confusion to attempt to convince you you’re looking at something worth watching, but actually entirely forgettable as a direct result.

        I’ve never gotten into EVE Online either, but on a pure visual-design level it’s the polar opposite. Everything is clear, bold sweeps, elegance, consistency. Ships are recognisable and distinct, every part fits every other part. You never see a texture chopped off mid-way through some generic copy-paste surface detail in EVE.

        I tend to feel that solid visual design can’t help but go hand in hand with all the other aspects of game design, so regardless of how supposely complex or advanced a graphics engine may be, just looking at the way designers go about lighting and texturing gives away a lot about the whole design ethos.

    • Stardreamer says:

      …basically, as a series, it has only ever managed to seem significant by virtue of the fact that nobody else turned up to actually do it properly, so it was the only show in town.

      THIS.

      Speaking as a person who’s played every X game since X-BTF, and some of the larger Mods, this is my opinion of the series as well. Egosoft are a tribute act in a genre that all the genuine superstars had long since abandoned.

      The X-series has always done a wonderful job of beating a player around the head with limitations until a form of Stockholm Syndrome kicks in. “Fans” are always so eager to share their tips and tricks on how they managed to wring enjoyment out of the game. I’ve always retorted that these things should not be necessary.

      I’m looking forward to Elite IV and Limit Theory showing them how it should be done.

      • Awesumo says:

        Don’t expect much from Elite IV… they haven’t released a game from that genre in nearly 20 years – I don’t doubt that the (small) development team has lots of enthusiasm – but I do know that they lack experience in putting out games that are anything like Elite IV. Minimal to no experience in a project of this scale, minimal to no experience with a high end game engine… So many factors that could cause it to train wreck.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Don’t be so negative. David Braben is one of the two geniuses who design kickstarted the entire ‘living universe’ genre, not to mention the man who refined and expanded that vision for two further classics. Far from not being able to work at this ‘scale’, the monthly development videos show that Braben and his team have an exceptionally keen grasp of the game they’re building. And how do you judge “minimal to no experience with a high-end game engine”? The fact they’ve not released a high-end game in recent years is not the same thing as saying their team has no experience working with high end engines.

          I have faith that E:D is going to be something a little bit special. :)

    • merbert says:

      Grim,

      Well said sir! Couldn’t agree more with everything you said in your OP.

      in relation to “I’ve never gotten into EVE Online either, but on a pure visual-design level it’s the polar opposite. Everything is clear, bold sweeps, elegance, consistency. Ships are recognisable and distinct, every part fits every other part. You never see a texture chopped off mid-way through some generic copy-paste surface detail in EVE.”…As a Vet of 8 yrs I can tell you it’s truely stunning and deep beyond compare. Please dip a toe.

      X : Rebirth me hole…..more like, X : Stillbirth.

  30. crinkles esq. says:

    I haven’t bought the game yet, but it was pretty obvious to me from the gameplay videos that the characters and dialogue were going to be cringeworthy. I’m sure part of this is the developers being German and having limited English voice talent to choose from (though with the internet and all, you’d think they could work with someone internationally). I’m sure another part is that they probably tried to write the dialogue themselves, instead of hiring a scriptwriter to do so.

    Still, this part of the game is never what I have felt compelled to pay money for — it’s the exploration, trading, and building potential of this game that krissed my kringle.

    • WrenBoy says:

      Yeah I was fully expecting it as well. It is funny though. The Yisha actress is barely literate. She pronounces cache as kaysh.

    • KDR_11k says:

      The writing and acting isn’t good in German either (plus some bugs with dialogue lines being cut off early or not playing at all).

  31. MrSean490 says:

    So of all the space games that I’m tracking and are in development now, I found X: Rebirth to actually be on the lower end. It was an unpopular opinion, and I figured it stemmed from the fact I hadn’t played any previous X games before so they simply weren’t for me. But I don’t know, I saw the screenshots, watched the trailers, and I just didn’t really feel good about it, it just didn’t seem like a good game. When I read what the game was about, it seemed good, but the execution just seemed off. Voice acting seemed bad, the combat didn’t really excite me, other parts of the gameplay seemed off.

    Well anyway… Here’s to the upcoming space games that I’m much more hyped for and can hopefully do a better job.

  32. drvoke says:

    So, this was the day I finally turned my back on Egosoft, the X Series, and open universe space sims in general. From someone who owns all three X3 games. Nothing upcoming in the space sim genre worth thinking about. I hate other people, and I’m not very good at games, so Star Shitizen is out. I’ve never thought Elite was fun, so telling me a new Elite game is coming out, you might as well be telling me a new deadly strain of flu is being invented. X gets the closest. Just give me a large universe with lots of things to do, lots of wares to trade, and lots of dumb AI to destroy/harass. Seriously, all they had to do was fix the interface, make combat AI less suicidal and prone to kamikaze attacks, and make mid-game wealth creation a little less tedious (if I’ve spent over 100 real hours in your game and have a dozen universe traders under my command scouring all of known space for a hot deal, and a self sufficient factory loop producing food nowhere near any other food factories, I shouldn’t just be working my way to my first truly formidable combat ship, I should have ALL the ships, ok?), but they apparently made everything worse and even more tedious. Space sims (for the misanthropic and not incredibly skilled) are dead, and the devs killed them.

    • Darloth says:

      Have you looked at Limit Theory? It’s all procedural, safely 1 player, the graphics are elegant and sleek even if they don’t match the technical heights of X (yet. They get better every month) and the developer posts monthly videos of his progress. Have a look when you’re less angry at space games :)

    • Stardreamer says:

      Don’t know if you’re aware but there’s a new Elite coming out…?

  33. Premium User Badge

    MontyTexas says:

    I’ve never felt compelled to go out of my way to make a negative post about a game in 15 years of avid gaming. Most disappointing release I can remember. I was ready for a half finished disaster, knowing the developer, but it is so, so much worse. The design choices are just ghastly. Craig nails a good deal of my gripes, but he is very, very generous. To top it all off, I think the visuals are obnoxious, although I get why they might be a strong point for others.

    Interesting note, I have had no serious performance issues, unlike everyone else, apparently.

  34. KDR_11k says:

    The crappy human interaction is excusable IMO, the standard set by AAA games is so expensive that it leaves no money for making the actual game and we can’t really expect Egosoft to stuff that much money into a secondary part of the game. Having it text driven instead of writing out the actual conversations would probably work better but with the space part of the game as evolved as it is people would probably not like a purely text based conversation system.

    The big bulky cockpit is fine IMO, this is not an FPS HUD, it’s the hull of the ship that’s in the way of your sight. It’s not designed around maximum information in minimum space.

    • Darloth says:

      I disagree. I think we can and should expect this stuff not to be ‘crappy’. I’d be fine with barely adequate, okay, or even not very good, but to be flat out crappy is not, for me, excusable.

      Sure – they focused on the main points of the game, but the ‘actual game’ is (for me) -everything- all taken holistically. If the UI or other interaction methods are bad, and the game makes me use them, I will get unhappy at that whole game.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      “It’s not designed around maximum information in minimum space”. I’m not so sure – in the videos I have seen the Albion Skunk is described in the game as being an awesome military vessel design. A logical comparison to modern tech would be fighter aircraft such as the JSF, whose cockpit is very much designed to give the most information to the pilot as possible whilst preserving sightlines (e.g. HUD’s, computer overlays and wrap-around bubble canopies, or even just clear floors such as those found on some helicopters). The only reason you might allow reduced sightlines in these ships would be if most of the weapons systems were automatic, which they do not appear to be.

      Maybe they should have spoken with Scottie and got the formula for transparent aluminium for their hulls :)

    • Zenicetus says:

      No matter what class of ship they call this, any ship with a fixed gun where you have to steer the ship to point the gun is, by definition, a fighter-class. And fighters have had bubble canopies since the end of World War 2. Even the Millennium Falcon had a better view than this, and that used mobile turrets for guns.

      If a space game isn’t going for actual realism — where you’d more likely be suspended in G-shock gel in a capsule at the center of the ship — then there is no excuse not to give a combat pilot a good view outside the canopy. I suspect the restricted view area has something to do with frame rate optimization more than anything else..

      But wait… there’s more! I didn’t notice it right away, but this is the first cockpit-level space game since… I dunno, black and white PC graphics?…. that doesn’t have a radar screen so you can see what’s around you and behind you. To top it off, no keybindings for cycling contacts, or a “next enemy” key. When they said they were starting from scratch with this new game, they really meant it!

      • Yaksha says:

        You must look more closely, there’s some form of radar system around your cockpit view.

        • Zenicetus says:

          You mean those tiny icons floating around the outside edge of the game? Those are out-of-view contact indicators, not a radar display, or what previous X universe games called a “Gravidar.” I think everyone knows what I mean when I say there is no 360 degree (or simulated spherical) radar display, like every other cockpit-level space game I can think of.

          Contact icons at the edge of the screen are no substitute for a radar screen. Especially since the game has no way to select or prioritize contacts — no “next enemy” or “target in center view” buttons. Considering all the wasted space in that cluttered cockpit, it’s not like they didn’t have room to include a radar display.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Problem with those is that they lack distance indicators so when you’re under fire you can’t tell which of those triangles is the agressor and which ones are sitting on the other end of the zone.

  35. Jimbo says:

    I guess I’ll just wait for X Afterbirth then.

    • schlusenbach says:

      They’re gonna fuck that up, too.
      The X-games have so much potential, but Egosoft makes the worst design decisions ever. It’s sad.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Yes indeed. I think when the reviews come out, this ones going to be at the (pla)centre of a bit of a storm.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Wrongshui says:

    Craig if the mission is the one where you have to board the Tanaris you don’t double click the hangar and click Dock, you double click the ship and click Board, at which point it turns hostile and things get going again. It failed to mention this to me anywhere and found it out by chance. I’m assuming its scripted to be friendly due to it being “disabled”, just has the odd outcome of you being able to land on it peacefully.

  37. Dave Tosser says:

    The Silent Hunter 5 of the X Franchise.

  38. Leafcutter says:

    As a player of all the X games since the late 90′s, I am loving this game as well.

    Yesterday was a bit frustrating because it ran like a dog… but once the forums quietened down I was able to discover that NVidia Optimus was using the Intel integrated graphics processor instead of the dedicated 680M I have on my Alienware.

    By changing the Nvidia control panel to always use the 680M for X-Rebirth, it showed up in the games graphic settings and played like a charm.

    Of course, I do agree than most people click a button on steam, enter a credit card and expect the game to work like on a console, but unlike a console there are infinite configurations for a PC and so some tweaking may be required or patience for a patch with deals with the issue at the source.

    Cheers
    LC

  39. SuicideKing says:

    Well, if this games doesn’t do well because it’s broken and not very complete, Deep Silver will draw the conclusion that “Nobody playz space gamez no more” and with that, any hope of a FreeSpace 2 successor from Volition will disappear permanently (if it hasn’t already, that is).

    • Shadow says:

      There’s Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen coming, plus a number of other minor space sims, to prove the genre is far from dead. So don’t lose that hope.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Or they could look at the crazy amount of money being thrown at Star Citizen, and assume the opposite; that there’s Gold in them Space Hills! Saddle up, and get coding!

      A smart prospective space game developer would see the launch of X Rebirth for what it is — a classic case of what happens when a small studio creates something in a closed bubble, with no outside feedback from existing and potential customers. Too much outside feedback can screw up a game too, but this is what happens when nobody is around to say… “wait a minute, these are some really bad design choices being made here…. maybe you should just put a new set of wheels and a shiny paint job on the last game, and settle for incremental progress.”

    • KDR_11k says:

      They’ve stuck with the franchise for more than a decade now, I doubt they’re going to cancel it because of one game.

  40. Keyrock says:

    Well, back to Terran Conflict for me until this game becomes somewhat playable. The UI is horrendous. Flightstick support is broken and incomplete. Many basic functions are just plain missing (For example, there’s no target next enemy key. How the fuck do you not have a target next enemy key?). On-foot… Why the fuck is this even in the game? It’s horrible and it makes me wish for the days where I just docked with a station and used comms to talk to people.

    With this game, Egosoft managed to both make a game that’s even less accessible to potential newcomers and alienate the hardcore space sim fans. Great job, Egosoft!

  41. 7vincent7black7 says:

    Does anyone know where the menu is to add a ship to your squad? That’s where I am at in the tutorial and it just tells me to do it, and not where or how…

    • Syphus says:

      Click on the ship as you would to “dock” and you’ll see the option there.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Select it and open the comms, then tell it to join your squad. Alternatively you can click the CO button in the 2-2 view and select “join my squad” there.

  42. Premium User Badge

    overthere says:

    Made the mistake of buying this, just don’t bother, trying to get a refund as we speak. All the bad comments you read, that’s how it plays. Do yourself a favour and play a functioning enjoyable game such as Galaxy on Fire 2 HD which is in a weekly Humble bundle at the minute

  43. geldonyetich says:

    Cruel fate has intervened and had me stuck at work for most of the time I wanted to play X Rebirth, but I did manage to invest about 6 hours into it. And the impression I got from those 6 hours is that 6 hours really isn’t enough to form a decent impression about this game.

    X Rebirth is huge, and the campaign moves along at a glacial pace, dropping crumbs of tutorial sparingly for fear of alienating the player, there’s a number of systems I’m not introduced yet, and I’m being whisked along from location to location without much chance to get good and familiar with one place. In fact, I barely managed to perform my first trade run when (to not be too spoily about it) the campaign basically traps me in a whole other location away from the one I was just starting to understand, ripping my freighter from my control in the process.

    I was lucky: technically speaking, the game has been performing like the kind of bloatware that is a legitimate reason to consider an upgrade, and not sloppy programming (as bloatware typically entails). It hasn’t crashed on me once, although it did refuse to launch once after an update (second time was the charm). Also, it seems my freighter rather refuses to work if I’m there to watch it – I guess the captain I hired was shy. The Interface is sort of cumbersome in places, mostly my lack of ability to rebind opening the menu to a mouse button, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about interfaces over the years it’s that is you can adapt to them. Aside from that, X Rebirth was competently executed enough for release, in a “You should have seen Daggerfall at release” sort of way.

    • thebwt says:

      I have also been thinking about bringing this up, 2 or 3 days just isn’t enough time to soak in this game. Free mode doesn’t have the “I am a merchant, I win” mode. So going is rough, documentation is non-existant (I cover to covered the manual). All the things they really showed off as being what this new release is about aren’t available within like 50 hours of play. Sadly this means most people will pass it over and the few that have always been x fans will remain.

      • grimdanfango says:

        If a game is still crap after 6 hours, why on earth would anyone want to sink 50 into it? If they failed in designing a game that is compelling for 6 hours, it seems pretty unlikely they inexplicably got their shit together for the following 44.

        • thebwt says:

          That is a valid argument!

          However, whether it is a good mass appeal game is no longer in question. Now we’re just holding onto hope that it is at last still a good X game (which has all kinds of different and dumb qualifiers).

    • WrenBoy says:

      To me, and to egosoft if you believed Bernds marketing spiel, the beauty of the X games was it’s simulated economy. A big deal was made of ships not being placed in the world by level designers but being placed there by the living breathing world itself. This was the dream I was sold.

      I didn’t expect this to be perfect in Rebirth but as far as I can tell it’s essentially broken beyond repair and by design and won’t be fixed in any patch.

      The overwhelming majority of ships you see flying around are civilization ships, are purely decorative and are clearly placed by a level designer. These have existed in previous games but you didn’t notice them much unlike here. The next most common class of ships are those which only exist to power the highway minigame. They don’t even exist once you leave the highway never mind serve a role in the game.

      The games interface is so bad that it’s hard for me to see the extent to which freighters and raiders actually meaningfully impact the world but given the above I’m expecting another step backwards.

      • geldonyetich says:

        There’s a significant difference between a rough diamond and a polished turd. Personally, given the past 12 hours I’ve sunk into X Rebirth, I think if your judgement of it is, “as I can tell it’s essentially broken beyond repair and by design and won’t be fixed in any patch” then you’re no appraiser of the difference. X Rebirth is a game that is reasonably playable in its current state, needs quite a bit of polish, and once it gets it I’m quite certain you’re going to find something more valuable than excrement underneath the surface.

        As for concern about the “decorative civilization ships,” if you pay close attention to the previous X games, they’re there too: little taxis and civilian transports and whatnot that have absolutely zero economic impact and are just there for flavor – at most, they might distract some enemy fire for you. What X Rebirth does is greatly increase the number of them, and this might annoy some players, but ultimately having a bunch of meaningless flavor ships around is nothing new. The only ships that really make an impact on the economy or gameplay are the ones that show up on your HUD target markers and zone map, just like before.

        • WrenBoy says:

          Yes, those are the ones I said existed but you didnt´really notice much. In rebirth they are the overwhelming majority of ships in the game and are difficult to ignore.

          I am not necessarily asking for them to contribute to the economy either, just to give the impression that they are doing something. At the moment its a never ending conga line obviously doing nothing. The drones unloading huge freighters are cosmetic in a way but they feel part of the world, have a clear purpose and are therefore beautiful.

          Its not even fair to say that all the freighters are contributing to the economy. As far as I can tell the majority of freighters only exist in the highway minigame. These obviously contibute nothing and this is by design and will clearly never change. That is an awful decision and is the exact opposite of what was promised.

          • geldonyetich says:

            Honestly, as far as “the impact traffic has on the economy” aspect is concerned, I’m unable to render a solid judgement. The problem is that X Rebirth seems to conceal this information a great deal more than previous games.

            You see giant space city complexes, you see the docking ports where resources come in and go out, you see that there is an overall storage space of the space station, but you don’t see a direct supply/demand influenced price of each commodity based on current stocks of those items.

            What I’m saying is that it could be that supply and demand engine is still there, but it seems to be invisible to the player. That, in itself, could be seen as a problem: streamlining be damned, stop hiding the important numbers from us!

            Yet, even if supply and demand were in the game still, it would be completely overshadowed by the new “special offers” system. In X Rebirth, it’s not about how much the station has in stock anymore. Instead, it’s about having special inside connections, or perhaps learning there is something unusual going on with the station (like a component in a station is experiencing problems). In gameplay terms, the player sees, after the price, “+30%” or “-10%” or whatever, and that’s your new indicator of whether you’re getting a deal or not in X Rebirth. Like it or not like it, it’s working for purposes of producing a viable trading game.

            Do I like it? I’m of mixed minds about that. On one hand, the simple supply/demand model in the previous X games was nice and slick and worked well. On the other hand, I get the feeling that this new approach is actually a bit more like a real economy is like.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Actually I should point out that I was wrong about the fake freighters in highways. Now that I look again the minigame traffic is all civilian ships. Of course no civilian traffic ever enters the highways so its just crap in a different way.

            I dont have an opinion on the special offers. The only real trading I did so far was in DeVries or whatever its called. There is an easy money couple of neighbouring zones there where one zone produces large amounts of food and the other needs large amounts. I havent yet checked the exact prices but I seemed to make the same profit on every run. Its too early to say for sure but it feels very static.

            I assume there is a fair element of dynamic economy though. The game was oversold but they just cant have lied that much. My complaint is that while the universe looks far more alive than previous games it is not acting that way. That is why I dont think patches will fix it. Cause it wasnt designed to be more real than previous games. Just to look more real.

            The cities are beautiful though. Whoever was responsible for station exteriors did a great job.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      I am expecting it to be negative when the reviews do arrive, unfortunately.

      • merbert says:

        Brilliant name!

        LMFAO.

        I girl I used to know (who incidentally was a complete pain in the ass) spoke with that speech impediment and you reminded me of her all over again….still LMFAO.

  44. Zenicetus says:

    One more quick note on the technical issues here, for anyone who is still using a 4:3 aspect ratio monitor like me. Yeah, I know… but it’s a very expensive calibrated model for pro graphics work, and I can’t afford to upgrade to a widescreen version at this quality level yet (refresh rates for gaming also an issue, yada, yada).

    Anyway, the game will play in 4:3 ratio, but it does it by expanding the view vertically and chopping off the sides, so the view feels cramped. With the already limited outside view area in the cockpit, that’s unacceptable for combat.

    So I’m running it in letterboxed 1600×900 on my 4:3 display where I get the full horizontal view. The trouble is, that this scales down the already small font size for menus and screens to the point where it’s almost illegible. I have to lean forward to my monitor, to see what text info says. This is eyestrain city. They need to add scale-able text to the UI. I can see this being a problem even on more modern widescreen monitors at higher resolutions.

    I’ve had no frame rate issues, so maybe it’s the reduced res… I dunno. The game is fairly smooth on my not-so-state of the art rig. It’s just the UI (and a whole bunch of other things) that suck.

  45. Bimble says:

    So sad about this. I feel a bit betrayed because I watched the Dev videos. :(

  46. Soylent says:

    For a game that uses 10-year-old DirectX 9, the heavy system requirements point toward an inefficient or badly optimized game.

  47. Volrath says:

    It’s been as good as confirmed that this is a failed console port. Another victim of consolitis. Avoid like the bubonic plague.

    • Zenicetus says:

      That seems to be a developing consensus. The only question is whether they actually aimed it at PC’s and just wanted to leave an opening to release it on consoles, or whether it was originally designed as a console-only release, and for whatever reason they missed the projected release date. And then they did a last-minute hack job to release it on PC. You can see the consolitis everywhere.

      It’s amazing, because of all the potential targets they could have hit — casual console gamers, more serious PC gamers, or something that might appeal to both — they missed every one.

      • WrenBoy says:

        A redditor convincingly claims to see references to xbox360 markers in shader files…

        http://i.imgur.com/8H5fsDy.png

        • Zenicetus says:

          People are finding other Xbox360 references in other files too. It just adds to all the other clues, like the gamepad-focused menu interaction, the fact that it’s DX9, and the menu text is too small unless you’re running 720p. I’m also starting to understand why they changed their graphics style to that cel-shaded cartoon look. It helps disguise the lack of reflections and the actual texture quality.

          I’ve been disappointed with games I’ve bought before, and yes, i should have waited for user feedback before buying. But I’ve seldom felt that the developer actually ripped me off. This time it’s different.

  48. Suriel says:

    I have played X-titles starting with X2 and I loved each of them. But I have problems still viewing X-Rebirth as an X-Game. I really tried hard to love that game, I played 20 hours since its release. And it just fails to connect for me. It feel like a chore, while in X3 chores felt like fun.
    Here are just some things that spoil it for me:
    - Only one ship. X was about working yourself up from a single freighter to an empire.
    - The Minigames: They are borderline insulting. Small Talk game: Click left mouse button when slider is at highest point of a graph. Receive a discount. Highways: Anti-Frogger. Stations: Rob dat station clear! Long Range Scanning: Ping ping! Look, fancy circles. Lets fly there for the boxes. Lets not even mention the Station-hunt-for-information game. I wouldn’t play such stuff if it were a smartphone game
    - Not one special character in the stations. Where’s the barkeep? Where’s the young space jockey trying to compete with you? Where is the working girl joking about Ren’s non-existant charm? If you introduce characters, you better give them dialogue trees at least and some stuff to talk about. Hopefully with some consequences. And they could be used as quest givers, making that stupid MINIGAME obsolete.
    - I can’t control my fleet. They either follow me (into their death… at least they are as loyal as stupid…) or they wander off somewhere for no apparent reason. Trade orders cannot be deleted. They cannot dock. They are lemmings, essentially.
    - Yisha the co-pilot… Oh wow… In campaign mode she is annoying. The whole plot doesn’t make sense, but I hated her from the first game minute, where you rescue her and she walks straight into your cockpit and takes over. “Oh, just what we needed. Another of these strong, confident female characters…” It would be ok, if it was believable. But it isn’t.
    - Well, I never played X for the campaigns anyway. I think I finished only two in previous games. Unfortunately, this time you are stuck with Ren & Yisha even in Free Play!
    - The dumbed down trade mechanic… The need to go on these stations… The police cruisers with sirens… (ok, I laughed pretty hard, when I saw the first one)
    - The combat AI: Take a mission to defend a station. Pirates hug station. You can’t kill them without rockets. You’ll lose more standing than you gain! Or later in the campaign: Neutral or Friendly stations blame YOU if you shoot back at someone who attacks you! How dare you ruin their tranquil peace with your aggressive… self defense?
    - It’s too easy. There is a way (don’t want to spoil it) without any cheat to get your (one-and-only) player ship fully fitted within less than 3 hours. And I mean, with the best gear you can get. You’ll laugh about campaign rewards for a looong time afterwards
    - Station building: Just can build in pre-given spots.
    And and and… I could continue forever (and I did on the German Egosoft forum)…
    *sigh* They’ll need a lot more than just bugfixes to get this game back on track and make it a worthy successor for X3. Then again they said it is not X4… I just wonder: Who is the target audience for this title? It is too complex still for someone just looking for a new Wing Commander (and fights are pretty boring once your ship is pimped-up a bit). And it is too diluted for true X-Fans and too tedious for everyone!

    I really hope they get it fixed AND change it into a good game. But I don’t have high hopes at the moment.

    • WrenBoy says:

      With a bit of effort the crate stealing minigame could be fun. They could have made it so each location had a secret area that was difficult to gain access to and which was the only place where you could steal from. It could have been hidden with a puzzle or locked off and doors needed to be hacked to be unlocked by bribing someone or something.

      It could even have been a one two act with the specialised hacker/scanner drones. I actually found flying them around cities and avoiding police to be a lot of fun. It just doesnt serve much purpose at the moment.

      In saying that, the smart thing to do would be to not implement the interiors and get the core game working properly.

      • Suriel says:

        With a bit of work all of them could be fun… Like, by turning them into actual deep gameplay, like you suggest here for the Skyrim-light robberies. ;) So far I feel like I’m playing a smartphone game that is at times interrupted by beautiful space scenes and hilariously easy fights.

        Trade – Eh, nope…
        Fight – Why not… Big ships go boom if I fly into their Hangar and start shooting
        Think – Sorry, I left my brain in X3-TC
        Build – But ONLY where we LET YOU!

      • Suriel says:

        Totally agree with the interiors, though. They should lock those stations. And next time hire someone who knows what he does. (Although I think they were just a lately implemented afterthought)

        • WrenBoy says:

          I would actually say that they were a significant effort even if it doesnt show. I mean, apart from the space cities, everything looks rushed but this is seven years work we are looking at.

          There must be a hell of a story behind this mess. Hopefully it will come out soon enough.

          • Suriel says:

            Well, I’m pretty sure that this “theory” (proof has gone a bit too far to make it a theory; imho… German forums were very active looking into the past, too…) is quite close to the truth: http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=349638
            Their attempt to make an arcardy X title for the XBOX360 fails. The project is put on ice. For a while they survive by putting iterations of X3 onto the PC market. (Nothing bad about that, I enjoyed the iterations…)
            They need a money influx, though. So they get back and try to rework that game meant as a console title for PC.

            I think Egosoft are not the only company who get old code and resources out of the drawer. So we cannot actually blame them for that. The thing is that hastily patched together game is a huge failure.
            Many X-players are not the kind of players that enjoy tons of repetitive Minigames.

            So they in turn cannot blame the many players, that are not happy with the product.
            I have a feeling that this might not only be the end of the X-Series… But the end of Egosoft as a company.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Well I hope the team responsible for modelling the station exteriors lands on their feet. Unless they were also responsible for the character models, in which case, meh.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            @ Suriel – your link now appears not to work

  49. itsonlyme says:

    well craig i understand you are sad
    i have been gaming since 1872 myself and finding my way through your register minigame i guess it wouldnt hurt vent my opinion here
    i actually could find myself in your review but what i observed extra myself most people get around and around and around……. TRADE
    the trade system! i mean, hello! hello?
    and no matter how many mods or, they alter the game, no matter even how its published in a bad state (pretty naive thinking otherwise) the best function of the series experienced the same as some hydrogen rockettank tinkering accident in your garage!
    yep ive tried i gave it a shot even some the bug fixing, bit tweaking, took a peek, tried to be decent, forgiving, optimistic and eventually i figured it out
    its-the-trade-system
    its dumbed down
    you want to mine fine you go mining
    you want to trade fine you trade done click, click
    i have a point, wheres the universe here, trade have a peek this station and so,… those prices,..
    arrange a station,ship,…
    previous x games or not
    u could say are the npcs ugly, isnt it fun, they do all this work
    yes they do
    cause there is none
    i think thats where it went wrong and usually people ignore this issue, couple people dont
    its my conclusion, its the trade system!
    mkay

  50. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    it should of been released as a beta so people can try it out first and give feedback to this game. The reason i say this is sci-fi space games are not overwelming and the ones that has been released lacks in quality.