Introduction

Much of the focus in PC gaming these days is centered around action-oriented games and first-person shooters. While we are very much into these kinds of games, we are always interested in the different kinds of game genres there are out there. Games like Battlefield 2 and F.E.A.R. seem to be the types of games as of late that compel most gamers to upgrade their graphics hardware, but we've been lucky to see some strategy and simulation-type games (i.e. Black and White 2) that also make good use of some of the high end cards available now.

One genre, which gamers tend to either love or hate, is the space simulation. Of course, there are varying degrees of these types of games, with one end being fluffy Star Wars/Star Trek type games and the opposite end being games like EVE Online and Homeworld 2. Games like EVE Online, in particular, are incredibly open-ended and include features like complex in-game market systems and economies as well as industry and combat elements, all in a massively multiplayer online world.

Recent space simulation games tend to rely more heavily on graphics than in the past, and as technology has improved, so has the looks of these games. Arguably one of the best looking space sims out now is the newly released installment of the X series, X3: Reunion. While not an online multiplayer simulation game, it still features open-ended gameplay that has a lot to offer.


X3 Reunion

Egosoft is most known for a series of space simulation games based on the X universe, X: Beyond the Frontier, X2: The Threat, and their most recent X3: Reunion. The storyline in X3 continues where X2 left off, with the threat of an invading alien race in the X universe. Originally, Egosoft was going to offer an expansion pack for X2, but it eventually evolved into a sequel. While there is a storyline, the game has a "sandbox" type feel, in that the game can be played in other ways than just completing missions associated with the storyline.




While there were some technical issues with X3 when it was first released, specifically with massive frame rate drops during the game, the X3 rolling demo runs very smoothly and without any bugs. The demo incorporates the four major aspects of the game (fight, trade, build, think) in order to reflect gameplay accurately. The scenes are very similar in style to X2's demo, with multiple ships of different sizes flying around, orbiting structures, sometimes battling each other. This is all set in front of an impressive space setting with beautifully rendered planets and stars, as well as the realistic-looking explosions from the ship battles. All of these images combine to create a very effective and immersive future-space environment.

Performance Tests
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  • feraltoad - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - link

    It supports widescreen. 1680x1050 Was available for my monitor. Reply
  • Shooks - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    any idea if there is something you must do to enable SLI for this benchmark, because I am getting the same #'s that a single 7800GTX got. I chose multi-gpu rendering from the nvidia panel, but still no luck! Reply
  • alexhall50 - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link


    I don't have SLI myself so can't answer specifically. I know this has been discussed on the Egosoft support forums and people have mentioned how to make the relevant profile.

    regards

    Alex
    Reply
  • Diasper - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    As more patches are released for X3 the more performance is improved - so this demo could well be using older code that later game patches have optimised/improved.

    One interesting thing about the X series of games is that they come out incredibly buggy (developer involvement I suspect) but that the patches after correct it immensely such that by 1.3 it's pretty damn good (currently the 1.3.1 beta patch) but by 1.4 pretty much everything is fixed with plenty of added content from the original.

    Egosoft are good developers like that. Probably means now is a goodish time to pick up X3 - if you buy it from their website is it cheaper?
    Reply
  • Samadhi - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    Where were the screenshots of the demo in action. There were a number of comments about how beautiful the graphics are, so it would have been nice to have had a couple of examples to see as well. Reply
  • SLIM - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the complete lack of screenshots for this uber beautiful magnificent looking game...

    I guess I can download it when I get home tomorrow, but a screenie or two in the review would be nice.

    JM
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    ...

    if(your_wish == our_command)
    postScreenies();

    ...
    Reply
  • feraltoad - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    ? I guess I've been spoiled by the demos of late (e.g. Bf2, Fear etc.) I was kinda expecting to get 2 play a little see if I liked it. :( Just rolls through some footage of the game, albeit beautifully so. :) U certainly won't regret downloading it. O and it actually has widescreen support! 1680x1050 was an option, like it should be! Reply
  • Shooks - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    Does this program take advantage of SLI? I ran it and I got the same scores for a single 7800GTX 256MB? Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    You did two things that are terrific to see at anandtech in this review, short as it was:

    1) You tested on a very wide range of cards, no SLI/Crossfire or X850 series, but still almost all of the newer single card solutions

    and

    2) You tested with different CPU speeds.

    I don't know how much longer this took, and I would obviousely like to see CPU speeds combined with video card speeds, but this is still a great step in the right direction.
    Reply

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