This time, I’m going into a big minefield. I’m liable to maybe piss everyone off here, or maybe not. This is a very wide topic, and a tougher one, and probably my views will legit piss everyone off, which is a big plus (I’m kidding hold your sea shanties)
Design Defense is essentially me looking at things that people are on the edge of the fence about — or just on edge about — and trying to find a reasonable counter argument to their concerns, if there is one even to be found. This does not always mean I agree with the defense, I’m just trying to find an opposing possible opinion so people can see the other side.
Before I start, I’ve said many times before that I’ve been a player since X2. This was actually incorrect, I did actually play X:BTF, I just don’t remember it all that well (which if you want to get technical, is pretty similar to not having played it). X2 I remember much better, such as cockpits and Kha’ak (and Kha’akpits. Eh? Eh?)
Notice: I feel this needs to be put in bold and italics and illuminated with rainbows: what I’m about to say is going to be comprised primarily of opinions (OP on the periodic table), which means I can’t be right, I can’t be wrong, unless I state a fact. Contrary to the beliefs of the YouTube comment section, these two things are actually independent entities, and should go in the cereal cupboard, not the fruit one. You are also not required or expected to agree or disagree, you are supposed to have an opinion as well, so please do.
WTF Even is an X Game?
This is the part where the universe starts breaking down. Most people who do not count Rebirth as an X game that I’ve met usually use X3: Terran Conflict as their basis for what an X game is. And this is not unreasonable at all actually. TC and its continuation, Albion Prelude, are pretty great games, pretty clearly define what it is that they are about, and filled with lots of well-executed content.
Before we got the pretty space goodness of Terran Conflict, though, there was X3: Reunion. This was a game with some mixed opinions surrounding it, bugs, and the good ol’ Challenge of the Interface. Basically, if you want stable, safe, not-very-changing sequels then you should stay away from X games that begin their subtitles with “R”.
Going all the way back though, there was X:BTF. This game was about having one special ship, and going out and discovering a new universe and generally doing stuff in it. It had trading and building stations, just like the later games.
The franchise essentially progressed more towards technical things and complex designs in the long run. By X3:TC, and later Albion Prelude, you had things such as complexes, the stock exchange, more complicated fleet commands, lots of ships, the bonus pack stuff like CAGs and CLS. I’d never say that any X games weren’t immersive, but for a while they felt more… technical? Close to feeling like a real immersive universe, but have a bit of uncanny valley?
For me, I sure do play X games for empire building. Love it. Stations, fleets, feeling like I’m controlling an economy. I also love the universe. Meatsteak cahoonas, Teladi, the stargates, which even though many sci-fi has had similar things both before and after, the X stargates feel iconic somehow.
Also, rather similar to Elder Scrolls games, the bugs or designs that seem to continue through the games; space pathing, ships just running into everything, silly interfaces that are not quite Dwarf Fortress level but which seem on a similar vector to someone just starting out.
Much Very Dynamic
For me, the only thing I really wanted added in whatever X game came after X3, was it to be more dynamic and “real”. Fully simulated. Be able to affect more. See factions actually doing stuff and expanding and interacting with each other, and for me to be able to interact with, or even destroy them. No artificial pop-ships-out-of-mid-space bullfudge. This is what Rebirth seems to get a lot closer to, or even achieves really.
As far as I can tell, you can actually destroy a faction, say Plutarch (yes yes yes I WILL BURN THEM ALL). The story even hints at ways to accomplish that on your own. [SPOILERS HERE I GUESS] In fact, the plot isn’t even about killing PMC in the end. But the whole way through it looms destroying PMC has a possibility as a goal for you to accomplish eventually, openly, without mission objectives. This feels way immersive.
Also, me and my friends have noticed PMC actually moving further and further into DeVries, if you take too long to continue the story (like in my original playthrough where my freighters were stuck, because 1.0 VERSION YO! They were sending destroyers and such further in, and it was getting problematic. It was awesome as well.
Efficient List for a Drawn-Out Article
To describe all of the features that previous X games have shared with Rebirth (for better or worse), I’m making a list here with pretty colors.
So, why at a technical level would Rebirth be or not be an X game?
Features it has in common with previous X games
- Station building
- Ships pilots that really don’t give a fiddle about the massive objects in their way
- People look dumb, kinda like in real life (heheheuheu)
- Voices are… voiced. Definitely.
- Building and controlling fleets for sending multiple ships flying into even larger objects
- DAMMIT XENON LEAVE MY FREIGHTER ALONE FFS
- MMM DIS INTERFACE ME GUS–actually, with the 3.0 update, this is the menu I can work the best out of all the X games. Plot twist! Much very fast.
- Hidden ships (which I can never seem to find. They hide these too well)
- Starting with one ship, and building a corporate empire (this is primarily what I consider X to be personally, that it features over other space games)
- The prettiest space graphics you’ve ever seen (or at least since the last X game)
- DAT MUSIC THO
Features that are exclusive to Rebirth
- Well… it has awesome songs that weren’t in the other games /\___/\
- Walking around stations
- Seeing the ugly people from all angles while walking around stations
- Taking stuff out of lockers
- Standing on the landing pad of your capital ship while it destroys stuff
- SPACE. SHOTGUN.
- Managers are almost like super CAGs
- All stations are complexes, no more Chef Boyardee in space
- Trade menu makes finding profitsssss much less complicated
- Battles are visually much more epic
- Factions do stuff and change over time
- The normal ships you’ll come across have to actually be built-in shipyards with materials, instead of spawned out of midair
- High level management is more automated
- Ships don’t die from ramming objects/each other anymore
Features that are missing from previous games
- Highly complex and detailed lower level management (such as CLS)
- Most of the known universe as according to X (not to say that Rebirth’s gameworld is small, it certainly isn’t)
- Highly complex fleet orders (although more and more have been added each update, and really I’m happy with the commands right now)
- (At least since X: Beyond the Frontier) More than one personally flyable ship (although there are drones as well)
- Trading normal bulk goods with your personal ship
- Many technical things like statistically detailed weapons (instead Rebirth goes more for weapons that are largely varied in uses instead of stats, fine with me)
- Reiterating an above bulletpoint: capital ships can’t be personally flown by you
- Chef Boyardee in space
Really, Rebirth aims to be a much more immersive game, albeit at the expense of many micromanagement features. You can still do most things that you could do in previous games, and there’s many new things to do as well. You just go about them differently.
Please, whether you agree or disagree, share your opinions in the comments either here or on reddit! Tell me what you think was improved or missing in X Rebirth! Like and follow/subscribe to see more stuff!
–The Great Spaghetti Poobleblabber of Bruce Willis Prime