Tagged: X2: The Threat Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • unmanneddrone 11:36 pm on April 26, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , X Series, X2: The Threat, ,   

    With @angryjedi on this one. Sony, like many corporations, go naval broadside and generally make a mess of situations…and when their platform was compromised, why wouldn’t you turn your turrets on the perpetrator and fire righteous litigation like God was on your side?! Forget the high ideals of the alleged responsible, you’ve got to consider your business partners. All these developers and publishers peering in through the door with anxious looks, asking if “you’re gonna be fine, right? We’re all good?”.

    And these entitled sons of bitches in their basements decide to speak on my behalf, or at least use that as pithy camouflage. Shutting down a global network, because they’re “for the consumer”. Generally, consumers, uh, consume. As in, goods and services need to be available.

    The homebrew scene for any system, bar the GP2X, Pandora etc., is miniscule, almost insignificant. How dare this be used as a justification for what has followed. In the end, the majority of “jailbroken” system wouldn’t have packed simply region-free jigs for Blurays and home-made XMB clocks, it’d have PS3 game images galore. None paid for. I will blame the man who opens the gate as much as the kid who downloads the torrent. You want to develop software? Go open source. Write your linux kernels – oh, but that’s a contentious point! “We did have Linux on the system before, and Sony took it away?!” Move on. Want to code for the machine? Apply for a job at Sony.

    I cannot stand it when utopia ideals are used as obfuscation for self-serving ego-stroking. If I were still listening to Rage Against The Machine and reading the Green Left newspaper – like any teen should, I believe – I might have more sympathy, but as it stands and a fellow who does everything by the book when it comes to gaming, to have my ability to enjoy the services I’ve paid for castrated on account of something that wouldn’t have affected me otherwise…I harbour only disdain and annoyance at this crusade.

    I also harbour annoyance at the reaction I’m reading up and down twitter. Nobody, bar @angryjedi, shares this opinion, it seems. Sony, who otherwise would have been enjoying a nice new age of Steam on their system, cross-platform co-op, people getting down with Mortal Kombat online, is hauled over the coals for not having sufficient security in place to fend off a brute force intrusion that even the Department of Defence might have an issue effectively countering. People are talking about identity theft, credit card details might have leaked, “I hate Sony for allowing this to happen” yadda yadda yadda.

    The fact is, if these basement clowns are truly the digital white knights they claim to be, the details aren’t what’s important. But if something DOES go down, even one out of the million-plus PSN users with details on the servers, then I’ll sit back and reaffirm my stance that these cyberpunk masturbators are simply the sly and shady characters they always were.

    @Shingro Fair point, but as a consumer, I’m well within my rights to say “fuck those guys” because there’s an error message on my PS3 that shouldn’t be there. It might be a layman’s view, but I’m hardline when my consumer rights have been compromised. If anything, I commiserate with Sony. Everything should be running smoothly and I should be playing Under Siege this week. Instead, the isthmus is below the waves and we’re left standing on the beach of kneejerk hooplah, where the corporation who suffered the breach is denigrated as though its completely their fault and the global user base makes angry faces on the shoreline.

    @bowlisimo X is such a hard thing to describe or sell to folks. With Mount & Blade, there’s such immediacy to your actions and you do start being able to hold your own. The slow, slightly helpless beginning to an X game does lack a certain punch, but it depends on how you measure progress. You get to the point in an X game where you’re setting marine training regimes for your boarding frigates, adjusting the onboard tracking modules for your point defence systems on capital ships, have automated cargo and trade lanes between your network of fabricators and colossal space stations. And so on.

    So, I dunno…I guess if you look at it as a sandbox strategy game, where it’s all about finding a niche and using ingenuity to build an upswing, there’s a lot to love. It’s technical, vast and rewarding, but has the propensity to feel dull if you’re unclear what to do or where to go.

    Also, as a man I can safely assume to be a sci-fi veteran, the series has always had superb celestial design. From the ships to installations, to system detritus and so on, there’s lots of ogle.

  • unmanneddrone 3:23 pm on April 26, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , X2: The Threat,   

    @bowlisimo You know, man, to be honest, I couldn’t tell you much about the campaigns of either X2 or 3 – primarily because they’re so open from the get-go. I’ve not played much of 3, simply because I was waiting for the right rig to play it on in all its classical sci-fi glory. I guess if you enjoy self-actualised milestones and goals, these games provide that sense of accomplishment above and beyond (oooh, contextual reference!) what most sandbox games do. It’s a long, long, tough climb to the top, and there’s many ways to get many places. Space Rangers was great in that it was chock-a-block with humour and variety. If there’s one thing that X suffers from, it’s a slight lack of personality when set against particular peers. However, it makes up for that by being the deepest spacefarer sim out there.

    I suppose that’s the most apt descriptor of what X is…it’s about spacefaring.

    Bowley, sir, if you’ve not checked out Distant Worlds, there’s one I’d recommend…it’s a commerce and infrastructure-heavy 4X strategy out of, all places, New Zealand. Super indie, but some of the most intricate governance I’ve seen in a space strat. Lots of interesting interplay between empires, traders, etc. Diplomacy is a bit of a non-event, but otherwise, immense. As a Sins fan, you may very well dig its pace. Other than that, Star Ruler is another indie gem. Think Sins meets GalCiv? I dunno. I secretly call it the unofficial Terran Trade Authority game. Because, goddamn it, we need an official TTA game.

  • unmanneddrone 1:43 pm on April 26, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: X2: The Threat, ,   

    @angryjedi Terrific stuff! Ah X…you niche, niche glorious thing. We want more tales of interstellar trade and hijinx.

    @beige Not wrong on King’s Bounty! I’ll be there with X3:TC when we’re ready to punch the throttle into the inky maw. I’ve got X2 installed with some good scripts/mods, so that’ll keep me busy for the moment.

  • unmanneddrone 12:23 pm on April 25, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: X2: The Threat,   

    @angryjedi Like reading a man’s first jaunt into the Zone, there’s nothing but giddy anticipation to hear a fellow as he plunges into the X series. Deep, vast and nigh-impenetrable. Some of the richest starship and installation designs, even with the original.

    If you’re feeling like having an Adama moment and keen for a bit of a fleet management experience, you might dig Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. More a tactical simulation than, say, Homeworld, but has a nice BSG feel to it with a Euro slant. Actually, both it and Homeworld 2 have BSG mods if you’re feeling adventurous.

    Keep us posted with your X travels. I guess this could be applied to many of the Squad favourites, but with the X series, you don’t play them so much as you envelop yourself within. If you’ll indulge me, I wrote this in regards to X2: The Threat a few years ago. For those not in the know, I feel it begins to paint an early game picture.

    What is found in Egosoft’s creation is a beautifully forlorn sense of utter insignificance in the great maw. From the moment the player toggles the boosters to begin their first trip in the X universe, a sense of distance and infinitesimal context is felt. Great arcing nebulas stream across the vista, tracked through by ponderous freighters and assorted transports, their miniscule forms in the distance only visible by minute drive flares. The cockpits in X2: The Threat are unique; they remain ruminatively dark and appropriately silent, only illuminated by glowing instrumentation and the odd chirp of computer alarms. With full boosters, the player’s tiny M5 ship makes its slow progress across sectors, passing mining stations, solar cell factories, galactic wheat farms and a whole host of other installations. Massive Clarke-esque trade stations slowly rotate above shield and hull-eating gas clouds, the flashes of corvette drives being powered up as the docking bay doors slowly close behind the departing trader.

    The player has the option to use visual magnification in order to view objects at much greater distance; zooming the magnification lens towards a warp gate across the expansive basin might focus on a goliath carrier slowly manoeuvring in the silence, its fighter escort wing mere specks along its body. X2: The Threat offers a contemplative solemnity not found elsewhere, helped especially by a brilliant soundtrack, recalling the mournful synthesizer work of Vangelis in parts. It works beautifully, as the quiet, dimly-lit confines of the cockpit comply effectively in tandem with the boundless vacuum outside the glass.

    The ships themselves are technical marvels, as computer systems can be upgraded with various software modules as the journey unfolds. Take for example the duplex or triplex scanner upgrades. Factory-standard targeting computers have a relatively weak range, but with a duplex/triplex scanner working in tandem with the onboard gravidar target software, distant locations and vessels can be acquired. Other upgrades such as freight scanning, 5km-wide teleportation, non-installation trade and navigation relay satellite links – for remote delegation of the player’s installations and vessels in far distant sectors – are barely scratching the surface of what lies in store for anyone entering X2 space. Each upgrade allows more options to appear in the ship’s onboard computer console – of which there are already many options in a factory standard ship.

    The high-concept interstellar trade magnate lifestyle is a far-off target, but for the time being, drifting through the dark, beautiful universe of X2: The Threat is reward enough.

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