Imagine traveling around in a realistic recreation of the Milky Way. Tracking down bounties, mining, trading and partaking in political wars.
Welcome to Elite Dangerous.
Elite Dangerous is a space simulator that has been available for some time for PC but is now available for PS4 and Xbox. It has an accurate 1:1 scale recreation of the Milky Way galaxy. Which means you can travel to any star in the galaxy. That means somewhere around 400 billion stars and billions upon billions of planets.
The space flight mechanics are the very best I have seen in a game. It is a ton of fun simply flying around. Roll, pitch, yaw, primary and secondary thrusters, landing gear…. it’s all accounted for. You can even divert power in your ship to your systems, your engines or your weapons which comes in handy if you end up damaging something in a dogfight.
So what is it like to actually play?
Its a sandbox. There is a story going on but it is not something that is placed in the forefront. There aren’t any grand cutscenes or mass effect style character drama here. But there is a lot of lore and the overarching story of current events in the Milky Way are largely dictated by the player base and what they do.
For instance, most of the galaxies population is based around The Bubble…. which is a zone around Sol where all of the factions are vying for territory and power. Here is a shot of the bubble:
Looks like a pretty big play area right? It is. Thing is….. the bubble is only the tiniest fraction of the playspace in Elite Dangerous. You can leave populated space and simply explore the galaxy…. finding things no other player has seen before.
See the tiny icons? That is the bubble….. everything else is fully explorable, though you will need a fuel scoop since the space outside of the bubble is not densely populated. The fuel scoop allows you to scoop up fuel by flying around stars in close orbit. Just don’t stick around too long or your ship will heat up and explode. The sun does that.
Combat in Elite Dangerous is ridiculously fun. It’s dogfighting world war 2 style in close proximity a lot of the times. Except you have miniguns, cannons, torpedoes, rail guns, mines, heat sinks, seeker missiles, dumbfire missiles, pulse lasers etc. you can also target specific subsystems on a ship for a desired effect…. like targeting a ships power supply and leaving it dead in the water (err space).
all of this is incredibly immersive thanks to some of the best graphics I have seen in a space sim. All of your information systems come from your dashboard and your onboard computers. When you go to plot a route you use the computer to your left. When you are responding to an in game Text message from a friend it’s to the top left screen. To view your rankings and set fire groups for your weapons you use the computer on your right.
its amazing and it really pulls you into the experience and makes you feel like you are flying your own space ship. The other graphics are amazing as well including combat effects, explosions, stars, black holes…. everything is awesome in terms of graphics.
If you buy the horizons expansion you can even land on planets. You can’t land on planets that have an atmosphere though. Good news, however, is that tons of planets in the galaxy don’t have an atmosphere. So you can land on thousands and thousands of planets. Maybe even more.
missions on planets include mining and disabling power grids for enemy base structures and more…. I haven’t gotten into this portion of the game too much though so I don’t know all of what it has to offer. But there are bases on planets as well as some cities to land in and you can explore them if you wish in your SRV, which is basically a space buggy.
there is no on foot exploration or combat on foot as of yet. The creator has said he wants to implement these things. But IF he can do it, he said it would be much further down the line.
So Elite is kind of like an MMO except you CAN play solo if you want. But it is always online. You can fly in wings with your friends and explore or do bounties or whatever. The multiplayer is connected pretty well and there are lots of players out there that have put together various groups, like one that will fly to you and bring you fuel if you go and run out of fuel light years away from civilization. You just send them a message on their site and they’ll try to get to you.
So what’s next for Elite Dangerous? There has been a mystery players have been working to solve for months. And the mystery is finally coming to a head. The return of the Thargoids is about to happen and nobody really knows what to expect (I’m pretty sure some shit is gonna get blown up).
Imagine suspecting an alien invasion is going to occur for months in game and you’ve been trying to find the aliens themselves but aren’t successful…. and all of a sudden you get pulled out of hyperspace during a jump, lose your systems power and look up to see this thing staring at you:
It’s awesome. The new patch will begin a narrative involving the Thargoids and their interactions with humanity. Nothing is known about the Thargoids other than the fact that they are alien, way more advanced and they are coming. Players aren’t even sure if they are a threat (I’m pretty sure they are and they are going to fuck shit up).
So that is your badass game alert for now. If you like space simulators and science you will probably dig this game. Or if you have another BADASS game to tell us about post it below!