Well, yeah... the first X was pretty boring. I loved the first part, just when you arrived in the new system though. It had some really nice SciFi feeling.
X2 was more fun. Finally you were able to buy new ships. X3 isn't all that different from X2. It's mostly a way better looking game. BTW X2 still looks awesome too, so I guess you get the idea.
I wouldn't give too much about the reviews. The X games are kinda special. You love them, or you hate them... And there is no game that could be compared to X.
It took me a hour to get used to the most important controls, but even after a few days of playing I found more stuff, I didn't know about. Which is fun sometimes "Ohhhh, I didn't know this was possible. Awesome!", and sometimes depressing "Ahhhh... I've lost a lot of money, cause I didn't know about it".
I hate to read manuals.
X3 is a complex game! It allows you to do very much and therefore is pretty realistic, but that comes at a price. It's not easy to use.
I hate complex games with too many screens and menus, but I still found my way into the game.
I don't want to say it's a great game. I like it, but I'm sure many people do not or wouldn't like it.
If you're not interested in the trading system at all, you shouldn't even think about buying it.