Elite and Dangerous, this is one space-sim not to be missed.
Elite: Dangerous is space simulator set in the year 3301, and developed by Frontier Developments. Far from straightforward, it’s very open-ended in its gameplay; you can make your millions trading commodities, you can travel the galaxy exploring new star systems, you can hunt down wanted criminals, or even do the opposite and become the wanted criminal. That’s right – if it’s a pirate’s life for you, then Elite lets you live that life!
Playing Elite: Dangerous (from now on I’ll refer to it as ED) can be daunting at first. There are so many game mechanics, that there’s a pretty large learning curve. Frontier assists you in the learning process however, with about half a dozen playable tutorials ranging from combat basics, to docking in stations, to using a cargo scoop. I started out by completing missions via the bulletin board, which is accessible at all space stations and platforms, until I could afford a hauler. Then I could perform the larger transport missions. Eventually I made over 400k credits and decided to buy a Cobra MK III and get into bounty hunting, which is where I currently am.
ED is considered an MMO, but from my experience, it doesn’t have that MMO grind about it. I find that I am constantly learning new things about the game, which really helps to hold my interest too. As far as the multiplayer though, the game has a solo mode (which still requires an internet connection to update market commodity prices), a private group mode to play with friends, and an online mode.
In any of those modes, the scope is incredible, as ED contains the entire Milky Way galaxy and boasts a total of 400 billion star systems(! -ed). If that fact isn’t impressive enough on its own, to add to it, all of these star systems are accessible. It also has TrackIR and Oculus Rift support.
Now, it’s time for audio! Oh my god! The audio in this game is beautiful. Even the engines on the Sidewinder (the starting ship) sound incredible. As I flew other ships, I realized they all didn’t have the same engine sounds, which furthered my joy. Technically, there is no sound in space because in the large empty areas between stars and planets, there are no molecules to vibrate and carry the sound, or something along those lines. Any sounds made by your ship will be heard, of course (since there is mass for the sound to travel through), but anything else won’t. One explanation I have read for this, is that the ships technology will simulate the other sounds to ensure the pilot is able to keep situational awareness, since hearing is such an important sense when in combat.
The graphics are also insanely stunning; the stations, ships, the explosions (Michael Bay would be proud)… all fantastic. To be honest, the whole reason this review is coming so long after launch is my severe addiction to this game.
Currently ED has 13 ships implemented, but there will be up to 30 playable ships down the line, plus some other non-playable craft. The ship types are a little less expansive though and clock in at five that cover all the bases- freighter, combat, explorer, multi-purpose, and passenger.
Elite: Dangerous had a very successful launch technically; one of the best of 2014 in my opinion. There was no server stuttering, and I managed to play on launch day without issue, all day! (Not really something I’d like to admit, but I spent the entire launch day addicted to this game… and most subsequent days.) The community is great as well, and sites like Reddit and the forums can be great sources of information for any new players. The dev team is also very quick to fix any major or minor issues, and I would personally like to congratulate Frontier on a great launch!
I’m going to keep this review short and sweet. Even though I would love to get more into things and further detail my own exploits, I want to leave many of the surprises for you to discover on your own; the game even contains a couple Easter Eggs. I do have some minor issues with the game, like sometimes the missions/quests don’t feel like they matter, but this game still gets a solid 9/10 from me. It’s absolutely incredible, and it’s only going to get better with age. Like wine, cheese, and even women!