We need to talk about Elite: Dangerous. Well OK, “I” need to talk about it. You see, it’s been around for some time. Frontier Developments put out the final release back in December 2014. It was PC only then, but has since landed on Xbox and PS4. And OSX. It has seen pretty good sales and has a decent following. The thing is, any time I talk to other gamers in my day to day life, nobody else has played Elite: Dangerous. I’ll give them a bit of insight into what it’s all about, but with a title like Elite, those brief conversations don’t really serve well enough. Luckily, thanks to DarkSpawn Gaming, I can try and fill in some blanks for any curious new comers.
Little of this will benefit seasoned players, but you’re clear to dock on pad 12 anyway, glad to have you with us.
In a Galaxy not so far, far away
So what is Elite: Dangerous? It’s an injustice to consider it a game in the usual sense. Think of it more like a space flight simulator. Just one set in a 1:1 representation of our own Milky-Way Galaxy. You are thrown into the game with a basic space fairing vessel and a handful of credits to your name, maybe a mission or two to follow. Then you’re shoved out of the airlock and left to your own devices. You’re free to be an explorer travelling the stars and mapping out new discoveries. Maybe you’ll earn your fortune as a trader. Perhaps a pirate, stealing and pillaging across the galaxy? You might want to be a smuggler or a bounty hunter. Maybe Mining is your thing? The options available are varied and allow you to play at a pace that you dictate. Some paths are more lucrative, but all viable.
In Space, no one can hear you scream.
Elite: Dangerous doesn’t do much in the way of hand holding. This is something that always gives me pause when recommending the game or not. You’re going to need to bring your own fun along for the ride. You’ll be learning a lot of basics early on. How to dock your ship without smashing it up? How to approach a planet? How to refuel on the go? How to manoeuvre in combat? How to manage your ships systems? This could be a pitfall for anyone just trying the game out, maybe in a demo. It might seem a bit daunting. You’re going to have to put some effort in, if you want to get the most out. Frontier Developments did put some training scenarios in there to help you out. But there’s nothing like hands on experience and more advanced aspects of Elite will not become apparent until much later.
We have lift off
Once you grasp the basics, the ambitious scale of the game is fantastic. When I said earlier that Elite: Dangerous is a 1:1 representation of the Milky Way galaxy, it really is. There’s over 100 Billion star systems in which to do… whatever it turns out that you like to do. Many players are drawn in by the combat. Admittedly, it’s pretty fun. You’ll be shifting power to different systems, trying to maintain the right speed, flying backwards, up, down, left to right and using all sorts of tricks to get the upper hand. Your ships weapon selection can offer a vast range of different builds. Particularly when you get into Engineering, essentially modifying different parts of your ship for various effects.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”
Personally, while I do like a bit of combat, I come back to Elite: Dangerous for exploration of deep space. A lot of it is pretty dull, just like actual space! But then you’ll find something truly amazing and beautiful that just makes all the lonely wandering though the void entirely Worthwhile. Many real, known stellar bodies are out there such as the massive Betelgeuse and our own humble solar system. I’ve flown every ship available at this point. Engineered everything, tried every job and become a billionaire several times over. But I still find myself preferring the smaller, cheaper ships. Although I am currently flying about in a big, slow Type-10 Defender playing the role of a search and rescue hero of the stars.
Ground Control to Major Tom
What I am trying to explain for the uninitiated is, Elite: Dangerous should really be on your radar, whatever platform you play on. I’ve had good times and bad in the game, it can be boring at times. It’s probably not a spectator sport for any family members who may be in the room. But it’s also a huge, beautiful space simulation with breath taking experiences. It’s about making it what you want it to be. Finding your own enjoyment. A while ago I dropped in on a distress call only to find a commander in a disabled ship asking for repairs. At that time, I wasn’t equipped with the right gear to help out. For some reason, I found this hilarious. Flying right up to the little vessel in my massive, fully operational ship, looking into their window a while, then just zooming off without saying a word.
Punch it, Chewie!
Hopefully this helps anyone unfamiliar with Elite: Dangerous, to figure out if it’s for you. There isn’t, in my opinion, much to differentiate between the platforms. That said, a decent gaming PC probably has the best time of it. If only due to controller options. Elite: Dangerous is great with HOTAS. Consoles do have the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas options, PC users can also use things like the Saitek X52, among others. Also, PC players have VR support. Elite: Dangerous looks absolutely amazing in VR. It was what gave me my first “OMG” moment with HTC Vive. Driving the land rover in VR also gave me my first VR Motion sickness, but that’s another story. The Xbox One controller works great when you customise the controls, but I’d say DualShock 4 takes the crown. The track pad adds 4 unique buttons and the gyro can be used to look around.
Anyway, hope to see some new players out there in the near future. If you are a seasoned Elite: Dangerous player, feel free you share your words of wisdom to newcomers in the comments below and of course – Fly safe, Commander o7