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I have to agree with Xenon - this game is still fun to play after all these years. Yes, it is slow to start. But after just an hour or so you should be able to buy a SETA system to speed up play and an also expansion of your cargo bay. Another hour or two should see you making enough profit to buy your own energy cell fab. Then you will start getting in to the game, buying better shields, buying weapons, having your engine repeatedly tuned to improve the speed and maybe doing some bounty hunting. Plus don't forget to mine those asteroids and explore the systems. X: Beyond the Frontier is not a game for people who simply like to fly and shoot. But it is a winner for those willing to spend the time on playing it the way it was meant to be. I enjoy it more than I do its later sequels.
Find time to play it
Although old, this is still a very enjoyable game. Instead of comparing it to something else, judge it on its own merits. The XBTF universe is huge and one can spend many days on this game. The weapons trading system was designed for a reason - to make things harder. Just get used to it. Even though I have had XBTF for years, I still get it out some times and play it. That tells you all you need to know. If there is any fault, it is in the lack of guidance, which leaves you struggling at the beginning. But once you have figured that out, play takes off and gives you a genuine challenge.