X Rebirth Review

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3: Terran conflict was one of the first games I reviewed for IncGamers. The release version was fairly riddled with bugs, but beneath the obvious glitches and awkward user interface, there was a solid foundation for creating and managing a sprawling, if rather dour and spreadsheet-centric, space empire. I gave it a 6/10, and in the years that followed, Egosoft released a couple X3 expansions and worked on updates and modders to make the series something much better than the original launch suggested.

I’m not sure if that will be possible X rebirth.

Here’s an introduction to how things went X rebirth since launch. The developers have publicly apologized for the state in which the game was released. There is a 34-page (and counting) thread on the official forums for workarounds for bugs. It’s close to an in-depth guide on how to get a refund out of Steam’s notoriously strict customer service team. If you pre-ordered the game, you might want to bookmark it.

The performance is terrible and has been since the game’s release on November 15th. A significant portion of the title appears to be CPU-bound (which is fair enough), but it doesn’t seem able to properly utilize multiple processor cores or balance the load on the GPU (which isn’t fair enough). The “Level of Detail” slider has scores ranging from 0 to 100, but there’s a good chance you’ll be watching a slideshow regularly no matter where you set it. Zones in which a large number of objects (ships, asteroids, structures) are displayed simultaneously seem to bring PCs of all kinds to their digital knees. There’s no way to reduce the density of objects, and the View Distance slider is about as useful as the LOD slider for squeezing extra FPS out of the creaky, DirectX 9-based engine.

Even more embarrassingly, these framerate issues persist even within the dockable space stations. Nothing rendered within these structures should weigh on a PC made in the last fifty years. I can only assume the FPS will keep tanking because the game is still trying to render the entire zone outside. Quieter areas of space offer some respite from the frame-rate issues, but I’ve still encountered moments where X rebirth will drop into single digit FPS for no apparent reason. Trying to complete simple tasks (not to mention dogfights in space) is impossible in these situations.

Prior to publication, Egosoft’s Bernd Lehahn told us the following in regards to performance scaling:

What we currently state as the minimum specs should be good enough to get a decent frame rate with minimum LOD settings. The graphics settings that have the greatest impact on performance are “LOD” (Level of Detail) and the closely related field of view.

Currently this is not the case. It’s nowhere near the case. Lower settings do very little to boost the overall frame rate, and there have been numerous reports of people with rigs well above the recommended specs suffering from FPS issues. Optimization is therefore a big topic. Given enough time, this aspect should be repairable. This doesn’t help people who are trying to play the game right now, but that’s the point X rebirth that could be salvageable in time.

Now let’s talk about errors. It may be difficult for me to write this because I lost about four hours of my life on a mission involving the simple transaction of 100 power cells and I’m still in therapy for it. X rebirth Players will know the part of the game I am referring to. Set fairly early in the campaign, it aims to teach players the new trading system and it not only reveals the bugs that plague this game, but also the ingrained design issues that will make it extremely difficult to save the title from its fate .

Trading 100 Energy Cells goes like this. The campaign gives you a cargo ship, so that part is done. Next you need to find a captain and a defense officer to fly and protect the ship. The easiest way to do this is to ask a passing civilian ship (by laboriously working your way through a series of convoluted menus) where the next one might be, dock at the appropriate spaceport, wander through some Identikit corridors until you find the find right man Possibly engage in an amazing “small talk” mini-game with them to enjoy horrifying voice acting, then watch a junk cutscene of the person entering your ship’s hold.

If you ever want to own more ships, you’ll have to go through this entire staffing process again (a longer one if the ship needs more staff). a nightmare. It doesn’t matter how good your hired captain is, ships still can’t refuel without asking you first.

With a crew on board, you can travel to a space station that wants to sell the power cells. To do this, you must use the in-game highways that will transport you between zones and systems. For some reason, traveling on these is pretty slow unless you’re rushing towards other traffic in another weird minigame. This gets pretty tedious after the third or fourth drive, but there’s no way to skip it and (to further add to the enjoyment) highway driving tends to be another aspect of it X rebirth that has a vendetta against smooth frame rates.

Once you are at the train station and have bought the goods, your freighter can go and collect them. I say “may” because if you’ve decided to take on the optional campaign mission to escort someone to a meeting while that’s in progress, your freighter could now be terribly confused and unable to complete the task . Even if it did manage to pick up the 100 power cells (which, no joke, can take at least fifteen or twenty minutes in real life) to reach it, it could still be in a state of confusion and forget to get you out of the system to follow to your destination. This is strange, because usually ships follow you absolutely everywhere. Even in dangerous war zones you’d rather stay away from.

There are fixes for the stuck freighter, ranging from being asked to leave and rejoin your squad, to editing XML-saved game files, to making desperate sacrifices to local spiritual deities.

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