Posted: April 5, 2013
X2: The Threat is the continuation of the X saga and is, for it's time, the quintessential space game. That is not to say it starts off that great. Most people will quit after a few hours of gameplay and label it a mediocre experience and they'd be right to do so, X2 is not a game that impresses in the beginning, it is a game that requires tremendous investment in time and effort before you start to understand and appreciate the scope of the game.
As the game starts up you're treated to some low quality cut-scene with poorly modeled people trying to cover up their lack of animation, you're then booted into the game with little instruction on how to do anything and a tutorial that is so completely useless at actually teaching you anything it might as well be a deterrent to keep new players from learning the game.
You will spend your first few hours struggling with your flight controls and trying to figure out how trading works stopping every once in a while to curse at the unintuitive HUD and the lazy save game system.
But then, at some point between frustration and throwing your PC out the window you will discover something. This game is awesome once you figure it out. X2 like it's predecessors doesn't want to tell you want to do, it simply wants you to do. Want to be a pirate? Go do it. Want to be a trader? Go do it. Want to be bounty hunter or a mining mogul? Go do it. Change your ship, create a fleet, manage vast networks of trade ships and mining complexes, you are free to do as you please in this vast and open universe.
There is a storyline hidden somewhere out there between the stars. The game starts you off in the classic role as a prisoner getting one last chance at redemption and as you progress through the game a story will unfold, if you want it to. The storyline is entirely optional and most people will probably end up ignoring it most of the time in favor of the open-ended gameplay that is at the core of X2.
The game is quite beautiful as you float between the stars and watch the myriad of anomalies, space stations and ships that make up the various star systems you visit. The character models and the cut-scenes however are of a much lower quality and will often make you dread having to speak to somebody aboard a space station.
All in all X2:The Threat is a great game, if you can get past the insanely steep learning curve.