Modern space sims, where to start? Is it basically only X3?

Avatar image for mroldboy
#1 Posted by MrOldboy (1048 posts) -

After thinking a bit too hard on whether to buy X3 during the summer sale and then the midweek sale I've become a bit more interested in playing a space sim. I've played a few in the past, freespace etc. but never really got deep into them as I was probably a bit too young to understand the mechanics.

I love the idea of X3, build a space empire sort of deal. But the extreme learning curve really put me off. I probably watched a hour or so of tutorial and beginners guide videos on youtube before I just had enough and said meh, I'll go play some more endless space or SPAZ instead.

But after some thought I do want to try one of the games in this genre out. Is X3 the best there is in terms of a modern space sim? If it is I may pick it up when its on sale again.

Avatar image for jrad
#2 Posted by Jrad (638 posts) -

I hear Evochron Mercenary is pretty good, but I haven't played it myself.

Avatar image for werupenstein
#3 Posted by Kidavenger (4168 posts) -

Never played X3, but looking at the screenshots, it looks pretty awesome.

I will suggest that Sins of a Solar Empire is worth looking into though.

Avatar image for tim_the_corsair
#4 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3053 posts) -

If you want something easier to get into within the genre, I'd recommend digging up a copy of either Freelancer (if you want arcadey, open world) or even X-Wing: Alliance (with mods it can look surprisingly decent)

Avatar image for ubersmake
#5 Posted by Ubersmake (771 posts) -

It isn't the latest and greatest thing out there, but Freespace 2 got a new lease on life after its source was released: GOG is also selling the game (, but if you don't want to spend money, a lot of good stuff came out of FS2 SCP, like Wing Commander Saga and the Beyond the Red Line demo ( Unfortunately, the latter is in development limbo right now.

And if you're interested in something even *less* modern, Privateer Gemini Gold is the venerable Privateer redone with another engine.

Avatar image for mroldboy
#6 Posted by MrOldboy (1048 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair: I actually played freelancer recently, wasn't really what I remembered.

I'll check out some of the newer freespace stuff.

Might look into sins of a solar empire a bit more.

Seems like the short list so far is Evocron, Sins, X3 and then go back to freespace 2.

Avatar image for mroldboy
#7 Posted by MrOldboy (1048 posts) -

Well, I did a bad thing. I found someone on steam that had X3 gold pack in their inventory and they traded me for two copies of the ship and nuclear dawn. He said he gives them away, which makes sense since he had a bunch in his inventory.

So I guess I'll be going down the X3 hole, hope there's water at the bottom.

Avatar image for cbarnes86
#8 Posted by cbarnes86 (681 posts) -

It really depends on what you are looking for in a modern space sim. There are so many sub genres now. Sins is a great space sim with RTS elements. Endless Space is a great 4X space sim. Evochron Mercenary is a great flight sim space sim. I own a lot and really don't have one in particular I like over another. I've considered X3 as well, but never played it.

Avatar image for mikkaq
#9 Posted by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

@Kidavenger: Yeah Sins of a Solar Empire isn't a space sim though, it's a 4X, it's like a strategy game.

I'll recommend Darkstar One since it has good looking visuals. Gameplay is alright, the story is stupid, but it's kinda fun, and you don't get a lot of choices these days...

Avatar image for gaminghooligan
#10 Posted by gaminghooligan (1821 posts) -

X3 looked solid, almost grabbed it on steam during the sale.

Avatar image for ghost_cat
#11 Posted by Ghost_Cat (2042 posts) -

Would Endless Space count? After that quick look, I became pretty intrigue by it (going to wait for a sale first).

Avatar image for jaqen_hghar
#12 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1278 posts) -

X3: Terran Conflict is where it's at. I say despite not getting very far, as in I haven't even built my own stations.

But it is plenty of fun, and can really scratch the "start with nothing but the clothes on my back, then work my way up to riches and glory" itch. Not enough games like that in my book.

Evochron was fun for a bit, but it seemed like it lacked something to me. Not enough stuff you could do or something.

Now, what I want is a game where you start out with one ship and some cash, then once you get far enough you own fleets of ships, space stations and maybe even planets.

Oh! Shores of Hazeron might be something to try out, but I believe it still lags like a bitch.

Avatar image for werupenstein
#13 Posted by Kidavenger (4168 posts) -

@MikkaQ: Ya, I only put it out there because the other two games he is looking at aren't really space sims either.

Avatar image for mroldboy
#14 Posted by MrOldboy (1048 posts) -

@Jaqen_HGhar: Any good guides or videos you found for X3? Or just general tips. I just got it, downloading now.

Avatar image for shanedev
#15 Edited by ShaneDev (1702 posts) -

I always say it but Independence War 2 Edge of Chaos is a great and often overlooked space flight sim with some minor problems like some bugs and design issues. Its open world and has I think 5 different ships you can fly as you progress through the story. You can hijack cargo at L-points from cargo ships then sell the goods or use them to make new weapons or upgrades for your ship. It was released in 2001 but it still looks pretty good even today and if you going to go back as far as Freespace 2 for space sims then you should certainly check it out. Its on for 6 dollars and it's great.

Avatar image for jaqen_hghar
#16 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1278 posts) -

@MrOldboy: This place has plenty of good guides and such. Just follow the green X3T's.

But quite a few of the guides has small errors it seems like, and some of them doesn't explain things very well. One thing to remember is that if you do the Humble Merchant start, you will not be able to complete the beginning flight school, since you don't have weapons. I spent quite some time realizing that the first time...

Avatar image for mroldboy
#17 Posted by MrOldboy (1048 posts) -

@Jaqen_HGhar: Thanks, I'm watching a video series right now. Hopefully I find one that points out the changes in patches and Albion Prelude so I'm not going off of wrong/changed info.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.