Born of Kickstarter and now available on Steam as well as directly through the developer Frontier Development’s website, Elite: Dangerous is a Space Simulator with heavy emphasis on large-scale open world elements focused around the piloting of deadly spaceships built for combat. Frontier Developments has made two titles like this in the past, but due to disagreements with publishers this latest title was met with much delay and finally put together thanks to the advent of crowdfunding. The game is even planned for release on Microsoft’s Xbox ONE some time during the second or third quarter of 2015. Truly back by popular demand, Elite: Dangerous attempts to offer our flight sticks something incredible – but how well does it succeed?
Immediately upon booting up the game there is a certain level of quality perceived by the player. And although a flight stick or Xbox Controller are highly recommended, pre-flight checklists are a big help for those stuck on keyboard and mouse and thankfully the controls feel well thought out and fluid either way. This is one of the rare titles in the space flight genre which feel right control-wise and don’t take a lot of heavy thinking to pilot. The game’s major appeal draws on players’ ability to accumulate wealth in the Milky Way Galaxy through means of bounty hunting, questing, trading, assassinating those who they disagree with online, or even being a space pirate. Yarr! In addition to the persistent world presented fully in multiplayer (the main portion of the game) players also get access to a single player world filled with training missions.
Space stations are scattered across the galaxy and serve as areas of rest and revitalization in addition to giving the player a chance to purchase new parts for their ship, acquire quests, and determine the targets of their next voluntary behaviors. Gameplay for Elite: Dangerous kicks off nice and quickly with the option to skip tutorials being a nice change of pace from the hand holding titles the genre normally sees. Everything is running on the COBRA Engine which was developed by Frontier in-house and is capable of running titles on a large scale of platforms with the focus on removing unnecessary hindrances from development. Elite: Dangerous is a glowing example of just what can be done with this engine when given the proper attention and skilled team.
Graphically Elite: Dangerous is intensely detailed and beautiful looking. But the real strength of this title comes from its detailed gameplay systems of which I will speak mainly on during the course of this review. Weaponry is very balanced in a game that relies heavily on its multiplayer interactions, which is all players can really ask for. There is a limited amount of power each ship can output towards each of its many parts. Shields, Plasma weaponry, Cannons, Launchers, and other utilities are all taken into account. The amount of fuel players burn through and how much cargo they can hold will also need to be factored. The great user interfaces provided in the title do well to keep this simple on the end user though, and major decisions like this can be made in a matter of seconds by merely glancing at your ship’s current situation with your planned behaviors in mind.
In addition to hunting down other players (for good or evil purposes) and completing missions, players can become a merchant of sorts by keeping track of supply and demand throughout each space station. Although criticized to some extent for being a victim of repetition, this portion of the game can be an easy way to make money with little effort. It would have been nice to see this expanded more in the player to player aspect though. Since Elite: Dangerous is constantly evolving still at the time of this review, we can remain hopeful that such an expansion will still occur.
Exploring the Milky Way Galaxy is as fun as it is breathtaking in this game. Many titles seem to do a poor job of relaying the complexity and diversity of space when making it too easy to navigate through. Elite: Dangerous gives you an incredibly daunting task of charting the statistics for all planets and stars with literally light years required to do so. Of course, there is some form of inter-stellar travel put to work to make this humanly possible. But it’s nice to see the grandiose feeling of navigating the stars not reduced to a quick point and click for once. Expect to get a ton of hours of gameplay out of this title.
Multiple factions in the game combined with the ability to purchase various different ships and upgrade them to the heart’s content are what drives Elite: Dangerous forward. The break-neck speed at which flight gameplay takes place coupled with the slow but satisfying feeling of navigating one of the largest virtual environments you’ll ever experience are what give this game its unique appeal. Some players will want to hit up the tutorials, but these are completely optional for those of us who prefer an open challenge. Overall the game looks as good as it plays, and has the depth and complexity behind it to keep players going once they feel comfortable rather than disappoint them with the incredible amount of time that will surely be spent playing. I highly recommend this title to anyone who enjoys space combat titles taking place in the first person while piloting quick and deadly spaceships across a vast environment.
Overall Score: 9 / 10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer / Publisher: Frontier Developments
Available On: Windows PC
Coming Soon On: Mac OS X | Xbox ONE
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20150402 and was last modified on 20150402 .