Ah the X Series. I haven't heard anything good about rebirth the latest installment to the series but this review isnt about that. X3: Reunion Was the game that turned me on to the whole series. In fact just thinking about it now is making me want to sink even more hours into a title i have already sank more than what would commonly be called healthy gaming. Once you get past the steep learning curve and learn how to fly and fight and trade effectively, this game suddenly turns into how you would want to live in a future that affords you your own space oddesy. Space suddenly turns into your own playground and you become immersed in a universe that is fully dynamic.
With that said i think this title, X3 Terran conflict and X3 Albion Prelude were accidental. Terran conflict takes place after the events of this title, and adds a Major graphics overhaul. And prelude again expands on the story of Terran conflict as well as this title adding features and interfaces that were touched on in this title but done poorly. It is pretty evident the beauty of this game and the other X3 titles is the immersion of the struggle you are put through to learn, and adapt to the changes that happen around you all while getting the sense of achievement from overcoming and growing from the experiences you encounter.
What these games lack is a sense of person however. You sort of create a character or take on a storyline however you rarely interact as that character. You never really see the character and the universe usually refers to you as pilot. In Reunion, the main story you play as julian brennan. working along side Elena Kho. Trying to find your place in the universe. There is an extensive storyline and it all seems to fit very well all things considered. The other characters however offer a backstory as to why you start out where you do, and how the other races react to you in the beginning. Ultimately it defines how difficult the game is in the beginning to get started. Once you get on a roll however and you grow all plots start and play out no matter who you play as with the exception of Julian's plot. his has a little more frosting so to speak. Otherwise its all essentially the same. Reunion is also of the three X3 games that has a main character. Terran Conflict and Prelude do not feature main plot character who playing as change the dialogue or offer any additional content.
Dynamic Universe - Everything you do or not do effects the universe in some way.
Rich plots - The back story to each of the plots are very compelling and their rewards give a strong sense of achievement
Diverse spacecraft - Each ship has its own classification as well as strength and weaknesses. Even some that are unique and rare.
Races - Each race is unique in its own way and their ships fit the typical role the races engage in.
Fleets - You can build, or buy your own fleet and wage war against anything within the universe, ofcourse doing so will have consquences such as you may end up destroying something you want later. The good news is there is one race you can attack and murder with extreme prejudice and not have to worry about losing a future trading station.
Voice acting - Its there but at the time this game was released other studios did it better.
Races - While each race is unique there is nothing unique among their individuals. Humans however occasionally have diversity among males and females but you will be hard pressed telling a male or female split, paranid or teladi.
No planetary exploration. The planets in each system are just there to look pretty it seems.
No station exploration. Each station you only dock at and interact with through the ship.
From what i understand Rebirth attempted at affording planetary and staion exploration however at the cost of starship diversity. Further more these features were not done well and as such losing the ability to fly and construct a diverse fleet was too great of a sacrifice against bland cookie cutter stations.