X2: The Threat
X2: The Threat thrusts you immediately into the wilds of space inside the X universe. You play the role of a criminal who is rescued and starts gainful employment as a transporter. From there you can choose how your character plays the game. You can continue to work for the company, delivering goods around the Universe, or you can ignore them and trade for yourself. You can become a space pirate, attacking other ships and stealing their cargo, or just fly around exploring space.
You’re given the chance to pilot many different ships, each with its own handling and weapons characteristics. One feature that separates X2 from other similar games is that, once you have a fleet of different ships, you can control them remotely, sending them on simple missions while you pilot another ship. In this way you can, should you wish, build up a trading empire.
The game’s graphics are excellent, although they can be a bit sluggish at high detail levels, even on our G5. But that said, they still look excellent at the lower levels of detail and resolution. Hulls of ships look like real textured metals, and the lighting effects coming from distant stars look spectacular. When playing the game you play from inside the cockpit, and each different ship has a different cockpit, which is a nice touch. The interface can be a bit confusing, as can the map, owing to the lack of orientation in space. When accessing the ship’s menus, the game does not pause, which adds a realistic touch as you try to navigate the menus quickly for fear of getting lost.
The game really is expansive, but thanks to the use of warp gates and a time-compressing button you can get to your destination fairly quickly. There is also an autopilot function that will you fly to your target, which sometimes takes a strange route and gets a bit confused, but it does mean you can sit back while it flies across the skies.
The controls can be rather difficult at times, owing to the number of shortcuts that are on offer, but they are well laid out and most of their functions are easily accessible through menu items anyway.
Unfortunately the game did crash a few times, which was quite annoying. The game autosaves whenever you dock with another ship, so you don’t lose much progress. We hope these issues will addressed in future updates.
It’s easy to become immersed in this game, with the interesting sound effects and music that comes and goes as you dock into other ships. Your character can exit his ship and take a spacewalk into another ship, which adds another element to the game, allowing you to change craft easily, but also making you feel more as if playing the role of the person rather than just controlling the ship. X2 can sometimes feel a bit long-winded as you traverse the same landscapes again and again, but the freedom you have to trade gives opportunities for variety, and the variation in enemy ships and pirates adds excitement.
All in all, it’s a very good game, with excellent game play and detailed graphics. It is immersive and intense, although some may be put off by the time required for it.