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The X series of games has been around for some time now and yet is still relatively unknown to many people. X games are as series of space combat/empire building games that are set in an open-ended universe much like Freelancer (see my review "Oldie but goody").
In X3: Terran Conflict, an stand-alone expansion of X3:Reunion, the story continues on from where x2: The Threat left off and yet works well as a standalone adventure. You play a member of one of the different races in the X universe (Boron, Split, Terran, Argon, Teladi) each with a different starting point in the universe and ship. From then on, it is up to you. You can take part in one of the many story-based missions for each individual race or explore the many sectors in the universe looking for freelance combat or trading missions.
The sheer scale of this game is immense and I have often found myself engaged within the X universe for hours on end. With space pirates that try to steal your wares or hijack your ship, you cannot just let this game run in the background with autopilot engaged. With this said, the time some ships take to cross a single sector is a little annoying. Frigates or capital ships for example can take up to 10-15 minutes to make it from one side of a sector to another and considering there are more than 100 sectors you will spend a lot of your time flying around. With the ability to purchase and upgrade all the different ships from the multiple races as well as the ability to build up stations and complexes for trading, the possibilities really are endless.
Performing on the spot missions in a sector belonging to a certain race will gain you notoriety with that race. This means that you will be able to purchase better weapons and ships as well as being favoured by the race as a trading partner. Furthermore, after gaining a set amount of notoriety you will be able to join the police force of that particular race. However, if you wish to take a walk on the wild side you can destroy stations and ships belonging to a race or pirates to make them your enemy. Once this occurs, they will hunt you down across the galaxy as well as launching attacks against your stations and trading ships.
As amazing as this game is, there are still some drawbacks that are worth a mention. Firstly, the voice acting is pretty shoddy and the high-memory it requires to run this game may cause your computer to lag in certain sectors (even mine at some points and mine is top of the range).
I feel that the game would be far better with the ability to dock at the planets you see as well as the 1000s of stations you have access to at the moment however, with an active modding and scripting community as well as the ability to mod and script to enhance the AI yourself (such as enabling sector takeovers and wars between races) this game will never get tiring.
If you buy this game i'd suggest you move all of your amenities into one room as you'll he glued to it for months. Definitely my favourite PC game of all time.
X3: Terran Conflict is a brand new stand-alone game set in the universe of X3. It's the culmination of the X trilogy, with a grand finale that takes the player way back to Earth's own solar system. Gamers can take on the roles of different characters from the X universe, or that of a Terran military pilot and experience a multitude of stories in the largest X universe ever featured.