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X3: Lots of space, plenty of time

X3: Reunion: Argon Nova
If good games are all about providing gamers with interesting choices to make then Egosoft’s X3: Reunion must surely rank as a great game. Players are free to be a merchant, industrialist, freelancer, pirate, pirate-hunter or explorer. This is one incredible sandbox with a great many things to do or see and you could easily spend hundreds of hours in the X3 universe if you were so inclined.

X3’s dirty little secret is a lot of grinding is required before players are allowed to make those choices. The tedium and the plodding pace will probably alienate all but the most dedicated of gamers.

That then is the main problem with the sandbox aspect of the game.

X3’s 13 storyline missions are equally problematic. Though the story is engaging, the characters interesting, the lines amusing, players will often be left wondering what they’re meant to do or how they’re meant to go about it. The storyline missions aren’t especially difficult once you suss out what you’re supposed to do but the sussing-out part can be very frustrating as I found out when I played the missions over the past week.

The final few missions are especially annoying. After spending hours upon hours accumulating enough credits for a sexy heavy fighter and spending even more to customise it to my tastes, I was nonplussed when the designers forced me to use the craft they wanted me to use. Why would you give a player so much freedom of choice and then take it away like that?

Somewhere in X3 are the seeds of a great game. It’s truly unfortunate the designers weren’t able to realise it.

Posted in Games, X3.

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