X Rebirth Review

Written by Rick Lane

November 21, 2013 | 09:13

Tags: #review #x-rebirth

Companies: #egosoft


And waits..

Nothing is happening. Otani brings up the ship computer's menu to check on his property, and discovers the Rahanas is sat in a sector miles away from where it should be. At that moment, Brian pops up on the screen. "That deal is all sewn up now!" he says merrily.

Er, no it isn't Brian, you lemon, thinks Otani. You're in completely the wrong sector, and ship's HUD is still instructing me to sell 100 energy cells to this station. You've mucked this up royally, haven't you?

X Rebirth Review

Mercifully, Otani is secretly a space wizard, possessing the magical ability to turn back time, commonly known as "Quickload". Unfortunately, he hasn't yet learned the Runes for "Autosave", so when he Quickloads, he finds himself on a mission some way before selling 100 Energy Cells, where he still needs to find a Defence Officer to accompany Brian on the Rahanas.

"I guess I'm going to have to do all this again," mutters Otani. So he searches for a nearby Defence Officer in the most efficient way possible. This isn't using some kind of interstellar search engine or straightforward menu database of local Defence Officers, of course. They don't have such things in the future. Instead Otani does this by flying around the sector individually asking other ships if they've seen any defence officers hanging around.

Sadly, everyone in the future seems to be prone to becoming incredibly aggressive when they don't know the answer to a question. "Go boil you head!" shouts one sour-faced pilot, when asked if he knows of any Defence Officers looking for work. "Nice chat, Not!" sneers another, in a similarly incongruous manner. Maybe he's a relative of Yisha's. Otani can't believe his ears. If this had been a script for some kind of computer game like they had in the past, it would have been a phenomenally embarrassing one.

X Rebirth Review

Eventually, a pilot points the way to a Defence Officer located at a nearby station, so Otani docks at the station and leaves the ship to seek them out. While searching, Otani is reminded of how bizarre it is that, while on the outside the galaxy's space stations are beautiful, varied and detailed, inside they're all constructed using very limited variations of the same dull flat-plan, and is baffled as to why anyone would do one properly but not the other.

After a brief search Otani finds the Defence Officer. Unfortunately, her hiring fees are far too expensive for Otani to afford, as are those of every Defence Officer he encounters for the next hour, despite him having the same amount of money he possessed when hiring one the first time around.

"Looks like the only way out of this is do some sort of side mission,". Otani grumbles. Still, following his primary mission directive hasn't exactly gone amazingly, so perhaps stepping off the beaten path will provide a refreshing distraction.

And there's finally some good news, as there are quite a few to choose from, ranging from sector patrols to or hunting down galactic criminals, or even boarding capital ships using a troop of hired marines.

X Rebirth Review

Otani chooses one that involves defending a space station from an assault by a Capship and several fighters. This turns out to be the most fun he's had in three hours, as the Albion Skunk is well fitted for combat. The targeting system is straightforward and intuitive, and weapons such as Masers and Plasma Cannons have satisfying snap to them. Torpedoes meanwhile are devastatingly effective, causing enemy fighters to explode in a most agreeable manner. Fighting a capital ship is a thrilling, terrifying prospect, as you streak alongside its vast hull, firing torpedoes into its hull, watching your own shields fail and your cockpit spark and smoke as you take flak from the Capship's impressive armaments.

Although the half-hour battle is an awful lot of fun, several smaller enemy ships become stuck in the wrecked hull of the Capship, which Otani cannot penetrate with his weaponry, meaning he is unable to complete the mission. Seriously frustrated, Otani decides to try another side-mission, this time an escort mission. Yet despite successfully escorting a water freighter across a sector at a pace that would infuriate the dead, and fending off several waves of enemy fighters in the process, Otani is also unable to complete this mission because the freighter is incapable of docking with the relevant station, bumping helplessly against it like a baby whale attempting to suckle for the first time.

X Rebirth Review

Now genuinely feeling a bit like crying, Otani decides to try a couple of easy patrol missions that involve travelling around the sector using the Space Highways, and shooting down whatever enemies you might come across. They're a bit dull to his taste, but at least they work properly. That said, it hasn't escaped Otani's attention that, while the Space Highways might make it faster to get around the galaxy, it does rather spoil the sense of freedom of exploration the galaxy had in its heyday. Surely there's a better solution for navigation, like a galaxy map that actually makes some form of logical sense.

Finally though, Otani has earned enough money to hire a Defence Officer. He also finds one fairly quickly, and it turns out this one he could have afforded with his starting money anyway. After banging his head against the cockpit displays for only five minutes, however, Otani is back in the game, and heads to a sector highway, which is a bigger, bluer version of the inter-zone highways, in order to return to Cold Peaks and try once more to buy 100 Energy Cells.

Shockingly, something goes wrong halfway along the highway, and Otani's ship is catapulted to the very edge of the galaxy, literally one and a half million kilometres from any form of civilisation. Staring at the tiny pinprick of light ahead that marks his home, Otani quietly lays his head on the cockpit's dashboard, and dies.


X Rebirth Review

We could go on, and of course we did go on, for far longer than this game frankly deserves. But this four-hour segment of our time with X Rebirth epitomises our entire experience. Rebirth is an incredible thing to look at, and as a universe to explore and do battle in it is certainly enjoyable, but almost every other aspect of the game is either currently broken or shoddily executed. The voice acting is awful, and the script is even worse. The trading system is agonisingly slow and makes no sense, while seeking out crew-members manually and individually is equally tedious. Not being able to pilot other ships, or even look freely around your own ship, makes this enormous, open ended game feel claustrophobic and restrictive. And the bugs are huge rampaging Xenomorphs that will make your chest burst in sheer frustration.

Egosoft are known for their post-release support efforts, so maybe in a year's time this will all be fixed. Maybe. But that can hardly justify the hideous mess X Rebirth is as it currently stands. Rebirth was perhaps our most anticipated game of the year, and consequently it is also the most disappointing.
Discuss this in the forums
  • Overall
    35 / 100

Score guide
Where to buy

Overall 35%
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04