So played a few hours.
I overall like it, but there's an asterisk at the end of that statement. Also I haven't obviously finished it, or even gone very far, so I can't speak of everything there is to do.
The space piloting and shooting and trading is pretty fun. The game does reward a more in depth exploration of places you go, it's a lot less "mindelessly driven from menus" than X3 was. It's more newbie friendly (Though IMHO the menus and tutorial could still have used more work). It also has a more involved story than the barebones stuff from the first time game. Travel is faster paced, you don't quite spend as much time travelling through empty space as you did in X3. Space cities and the various areas make the game feel less repetitive. You fly around some very starkly contrasting vistas. Overall, the core of the game is solid.
A lot of the new features so heavily touted are, well, barebone, bordering or inexistent. A lot of the backlash the game has, I feel, is due to these. I think they'd not bothered putting a lot of this in, the game would've been better recieved, than having it in and be so... blah. The Skunk is your only ship, and its decently customizable (Though not possible to alter its appearance). But its two rooms. Only one of which you can actually walk into (And it does nothing). The Bridge itself exists solely for the sake of animation where you stand and go back to your seat The only crewmember is your co-pilot, and anyone you bring onboard the ship vanishes into hammerspace the moment you bring them in. Listen, if you're gonna limit me to one ship, then MAKE THAT ONE SHIP INTERESTING. At this point, other than the dialogue needing to refer to the Skunk by name, I honestly don't see why the game needs to be set on this one generic ship.
Similarly, the large capital ships you own are pretty much just a hangar, with corridors. For the most part they look identical to stations. No bridge. No chance to see your crew at work. Dock in a ship and find that ship being attacked? Well you'll find all the crew is doing the exact same lounging in corridors and in the hangar as they usually do.
Also all the environments you can visit on foot (Ie stations) are made of the same cut and paste rooms. Seen a bar? You've seen all bars. The only variation comes in the fact of if the station has a bar, and where it is in said station. Some are pretty sizeable, so that's nice - but they all look the same. Nothing inside, say, an energy cell power plant serves to differentiate it from being inside a logisitics dock. But honestly, the station exploring feels so shallow it becomes an hindrance. Looking for crew people for your other ships, or merchants, becomes a chore of running around the same boring repetitive environments looking for where they planted the NPC you're looking for. The NP Cs
are generic and utterly interchangeable too.
There's a conversation system to allow you to get discounts by striking friendships with people that is so bad, it honestly makes the "I compliment/coerce/joke/placate you several times in a row" system from Oblivion feel natural by comparison. The bad scripting doesn't help. Talk to someone about the upcomming Xenon assault and they are only responding about how glib and charismatic I am, rather than addressing anything I've said.
The return of a cockpit view should be a boon, but honestly, I sort of loathe it now. The main screen will switch what it's showing, and I've still not managed to figure out HOW to get it to display the area map. It sometimes does. On its own. Then it changes to displaying nothing.
The voice acting ranges from Meh to Terrible. Weird accents all around. Look, Egosoft, I know you guys are German, but in this day and age, if you're planing to release a game in English, there's no reason you can't do the recording in England or the USA or wherever. Plenty of recording studios can be hired and send you the recordings by the internet. I mean, I don't mind accents, but honestly, it feels like only the PC's comfortable speaking english. Weak voiceacting only outlines the weak writing.
There's also been reports of performance issues. I've not had them myself, except for occasional stuttering during highway segments (And I know those aren't from my rig hitting its limits).
Still, it's not a bad game, I'm enjoying it, and I know Egosoft enough to know most of the concerns will be addressed in due time (There's already been two patches today to handle some issues some people've reported, and Egosoft has a history of massive game changing updates). I can also see the weaker sections being improved by modders, but on the other hand, I do feel it's sort of sad that many of the most expected features turn into liabilities and weaknesses.
If you're one of those who said they'd wait a bit before getting it, it's probably the best move. I think we'll see some improvements come in the future.
edited 15th Nov '13 1:00:56 PM by Ghilz