X4: Split Vendetta
X4: Foundations is a gaming experience that sucks you in and doesn’t let go. I’d thought that Elite Dangerous was complex when I first tried that game but X4 has it beat (at least for me). The first 20 or so hours of the game involved just learning the basics with regards to the game mechanics. The few short tutorials don’t do the game much justice so I found myself frequently looking online for independent guides, etc.
Once you do learn the ropes, however, X4 opens up into a beautifully-crafted game, full-on plenty of role-playing opportunities and a vast, immersive universe with a completely simulated NPC economy.
One of the other things that I appreciate about the game is that you can pilot just about any ship that you see, from the nimblest scout on up to large capital vessels.
Not one to rest on their laurels, developer Egosoft has recently released the game’s first full-fledged expansion, X4: Split Vendetta. The expansion brings with it lots of new goodies, including an expanded economic system, new diplomatic missions, new ship types, weapons and other parts, and space station modules. They’ve even included new starting positions for those who’ve wanted more variation when it comes to gamestarts.
Other alien races and factions have always been free to build up and expand their empires freely, and the new Split factions are no different. Visually, Egosoft has outdone themselves on designing the new Split ships and space stations—they look absolutely fantastic and are now my favorites.
As always, you are free to outfit your ships and stations with a wide variety of upgrades, including weapons, engines, and other types of equipment which you can see graphically represented on-screen.
Split Vendetta expands the X4 universe greatly and you’ll be able to travel to these more voluminous sections and explore them to your curiosity’s delight. Of course, the universe has always been a dangerous place so you’ll have to keep your wits about you and your piloting skills on point.
Once you begin to accumulate more space ships and hire more NPCs to work for your burgeoning empire (if you so choose to go that route), you’ll find yourself spending more and more time on the sector map. However, since the game is so flexible, you can always go back to being a simple miner, bounty hunter, trader, etc., the choice is yours.
Accompanying Split Vendetta is the free 3.0 update that offers new graphical improvements (X4 is already a stunning game), a new head-tracking system, an X3 retro mode, and thankfully, three new optional tutorial scenarios. The latter will definitely help newcomers get better acclimated to the various game systems within the X4 universe.
Frankly, I’m proud of Egosoft for turning X4 around from its rather lackluster launch. Personally, I’d been having a great time in my role as a “part pirate” and lurking around combat zones, where I’d watch factions blast away at each other.
Afterward, I’d slink in to snag valuable wreckage and parts in order to sell on the black market. X4: Split Vendetta has opened the game up even more so now I’ll have to figure out what new roles I can immerse myself in.
OVERALL SCORE: 87%
X4: Split Vendetta has some pretty good looking graphics that make its science fiction gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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