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X3: Terran Conflict

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Egosoft
Developer: Egosoft
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Simulation/ Themed


Graphics & Sound:

I have heard it said that, "Going out in a blaze of glory is still just going out." That may be true in life, but X3: Terran Conflict is doing just that. I have always enjoyed space simulators. That's the point of simulators, right? To be able to do something you wouldn't be able to normally. The "X" series has provided thousands of hours of pure simulation entertainment. It also has presented a good and long-followed story. Sadly, the end is nigh with this being the last installment. Where I am saddened by the end of the X-universe as we know it, I am more saddened by the possibility of this being the last good space simulation I am going to get to play for a long time.

All things being equal, when you look at graphics across a wide variety of gaming machines and video cards, the game is beautiful. The scale is epic and awe-inspiring. All of the customizable content for the ships and your corporation look great.

What would a space game be without the slow, melodic pace of a synthesizer piece? I liked the music actually. I am fairly picky when it comes to ambient loops, but this was just the right tone to help with the immersion. The one thing I will pick on is the voice acting. It did come off a little stale. I did like the soothing robotic informant. It's not the voice so much as I just felt like Glados from Portal was my co-pilot. Well not really, but one can pretend can't they?


Gameplay:

X3: Terran Conflict is just plain beautiful. Your place in the story is that the earth has been cut off from the rest of the galaxy. There was an A.I. plague that we created, and it has taken root all across the galaxy. Isolated for years, we had to deal with the mess we created at some point, and thus was born the Terran Conflict.

You can start off playing any one of four games. Each one of these games is represented by a specific pilot and their role during the Terran Conflict. There is the Terran Defender, Argon Patriot, Humble Merchant, Bankrupt Assassin, and of course, there is the custom Game you can load. Each archetype has its own story, and thus again, each pilot has their own role to play. Replayability is obviously a goal here. Once you have chosen the game you wish to play, you are thrown into the vastness of the universe to explore.

This exploration begins with an opportunity to go through the flight school training. This tutorial gets you used to how you maneuver your craft. This is just the very tip of the proverbial iceberg. I downloaded the game off Steam, so it did not come with the paper manual. I am also not one to waste paper. The PDF manual was 61 pages long. I am so glad I am not responsible for the forest leveled to make it. The information inside the manual is not fluffy nor wordy, so it is jam-packed with all of the things you need to know to be successful in this game and have fun.

There is room to create your own path in the universe. You can create your own Corporation. This is tantamount to creating your own country or planet. Create ships, factories, and bases. Create commerce, war, or peace as you see fit. You can also create and apply your own content.


Difficulty:

X3: Terran Conflict is a very deep, rich game. It takes no part of its simulation lightly, and neither should you. In many ways, this a giant galactic sandbox. You have a lot of freedom, and you may find a niche for you to easily fill, given whatever type of game you decide to play. Carving out a place for yourself in the universe takes time, patience, and persistence. As I have mentioned above, they didn't create a fluffy manual. There is a lot of material to take in and you may find this type of immersion and simulation a little trying. They are not afraid to teach you the errors of your decisions through death, namely your own. Take time to go through the flight school in-game. Read and understand the information in the manual. Then, you should have a rich and rewarding experience with the game.

Game Mechanics:

X3: Terran Conflict has taken care of one of the only complaints I have ever had of the game, and that is its interface. Getting info from the game was like pulling teeth sometimes in the earlier iterations. I always played it off as the fact they were just trying to make it harder so you felt this sense of accomplishment when you can remember what command did what.

Just as a sign of the times, I was surprised to see the XBOX controller listed in the manual as one of the available input devices. I had just set up my joystick out of habit and was settled in for some space battles. I HAD to try it out on the XBOX controller. After some command changes in the Options Menu, and general fidgeting, I am very surprised at how I enjoyed the controller over the flight stick. Don't jump on my case just yet; here is why. The battles are not as intense as some of the dog-fighting games that I enjoy having a flight stick for. The battles are not so much slower, but it didn't require that laser sharp reaction all of the time. Besides that, you do not spend the entire time fighting. I enjoyed leaning back in my chair during flight instead of sitting up at the ready all of the time.

Am I a fan boy of the X series? Yes I am. Does that affect my scoring? No. This game has everything that you need for a great simulation. If they had used pirate ships and called it the "X3 Pirates Booty Cruise," I would still say that it has every aspect of a working and vital economy. It has space flight and battle. It has diplomacy and open exploration. It provides a sense of integration into the universe. It has it all. I am sorry to see the world go, but there is still many, many hours of gameplay to be had here for years to come.


-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:



MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Microsoft (r) Windows (r) XP (SP-2), Vista SP1(tm), Pentium(r) IV or AMD(r) equivalent at 2.0 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 256 MB 3D DirectX 9 Compatible video card, with Pixel Shader 1.1 support, Soundcard (Surround Sound support recommended), 10 GB free hard disk space, DVD-ROM Drive, Mouse and Keyboard or Joystick, (optional support for force-feedback) or Gamepad

RECOMMENDED CONFIGURATION

Microsoft (r) Windows (r) XP (SP-2), Vista SP1(tm), intel(r) Core(tm) 2 Duo or AMD(r) equivalent at 2.0 GHz, 3 GB RAM, 256 MB 3D DirectX 9 Compatible video card, (not onboard) with Pixel Shader 3.0 support, Soundcard (Surround Sound support recommended), 10 GB free hard disk space, DVD-ROM Drive, Mouse and Keyboard or Joystick, (optional support for force-feedback) or Gamepad

 

Test System:



Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Windows American McGee's Grimm: Master Thief Windows American McGee's Grimm: The Singing Bone

 
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