Elite: Dangerous

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Choose to trade or raid in this epic sandbox sci-fi title that continues the Elite legacy.

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Publisher: Frontier Developments
Playerbase: N/A
Graphics: High
Type: Sci-fi Sandbox
EXP Rate: N/A
PvP: Yes
Filesize: N/A

Pros: +Promises expansive sandbox play. +Multiple sandbox elements and policing system. +Realistic controls. +Meaningful dogfighting.

Cons: -Still in early development. -Can be overwhelming and even cause motion sickness to the uninitiated.

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Overview

Elite: Dangerous Overview

Elite: Dangerous is an expansive science fiction sandbox based on the Elite game franchise. Take the center stage as you take the role of trader, pirate, bounty hunter, team player, leader, assassin, schemer, or more. Though you may start with only a few credits and a ship to call home, you can do whatever you want – or whatever it takes – to become elite.

Fight, trade, and hunt in a galaxy filled with billions of star systems. Make money through trading goods, bounty hunting, or raiding others for cargo. Explore, go on missions, upgrade your ship, and explore endless possibilities.

Elite: Dangerous Screenshots

Elite: Dangerous Featured Video


Full Review

Elite: Dangerous State of the Beta Preview

By Blair Nishkian (Tagspeech)

 

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Recently I was assigned by my editor to have a look at a game called Elite: Dangerous, so I could update the community on the game’s progress since the most recent look at the game by one of my colleagues. I went into this experience knowing absolutely nothing about the game – I never even knew it existed before I was directed to it and invited to explore the beta. For better or worse, I went into Elite: Dangerous with fresh eyes and no bias for or against the game. What follows is an accounting of my experiences with it, in its current beta state.

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Anyone who knows me or my reviews can tell you that I’m an immersion freak. In fact, most of my favorite games are practically simulations. Given that Elite: Dangerous is built to be as immersive as possible, it stands to reason that this game might quickly become one of my favorites. But it’s more complicated than that. With my big monitor and surround-sound setup, do I feel like I’m in the cockpit of an interstellar fighter? I do. I can free look around, see all of the controls, even see my own boobs, or the pull of the trigger finger when I fire my weapons. The entire experience is just utterly rich and engrossing, and for fans of space flight simulators, I imagine the game is abit of a promised land.

 

 

After all, the intentions of the development team behind Elite: Dangerous are to make something with the comparable depth and community espirit d’corps as EVE Online. That’s a tall order, but the possibilities are fascinating. EVE is a success, but often what keeps it from being a runaway success is the alienating, cold gameplay that is quite impersonal and difficult to get into, for most people. Even in its current state, Elite: Dangerous has a far more engaging approach, with gameplay that’s atmospheric, tactical, and action-packed. It’s a recipe for success.

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There’s just one problem! In its current state, Elite: Dangerous is extremely difficult to play. You might be thinking that’s rather the point, it’s a simulation, and not just any, but one that drops you in front of the controls of a complex spacecraft – in space. That’s just it, unfortunately. There’s a huge difference between flying on a planet, and flying in space. In space, there isn’t the constant, reassuring point of reference called the ground. When you’re upside-down in a jet, you know you’re upside-down and have a much easier time re-orienting yourself. In space, there’s blackness everywhere, and it’s terribly easy to not only get turned around, mixed-up, and lost, you’re also likely to get a bad case of motion-sickness. I know I did. It was not fun.

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Nausea aside, this sort of thing usually gets better with acclimation and practice. The game has a radar system that’s meant to help you orient yourself and nearby objects better, but I found that it had limited range, was often difficult to read, and left me confused more often than on target. I hope they put more work into the radar HUD, because it’s absolutely critical to use properly when engaged in dogfights, or even just trying to ram floating containers in the tutorial. There are ways the game can be made easier to play without sacrificing the spirit of the immersive atmosphere, and beefing up the short-range radar and adding some more positional-marking HUD elements would be huge for that.

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This is just the basic gameplay. It has promise. Now, the macro-game is meant to be vast. Allegedly, Elite: Dangerous wants to add in economic systems, elaborate space stations, large corporations and guilds, a complex law and security system, and plenty more. I couldn’t really find much of this in my exploration of online play. What I did find was an endlessly spinning cube that was apparently a space station, and some NPC police cruising around it. My efforts to ‘dock’ in this space station were initially met with death, since I mistook one of its many nooks and crannies for a docking port. It was harrowing and hilarious when I got caught in said crannie like a shoe in a washing machine, and was quickly pounded to death by the rotating walls of the space station.

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When I respawned, I was inside the station in a new ship – that’s one way to get indoors, I suppose. I found that the dock was in fact on the topmost part of the station, rotating in a much more gentle motion, and far easier to slip into. It was a good note for the future. What followed after that was me spotting a red-marked ship scrapping with the local police. I thought I’d have some fun and get involved. What followed was a wild goose chase through the system, with me helping to gun down the outlaw, only to have the police inexplicably turn on me once he was taken care of. Had I accidentlly shot a police craft? Were the laws for interfering with police business in this sector punishable by death? We may never know. What I do know is that I died trying to flee back into the space station. It was fun, and a little nauseating.

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I looked far and wide, and couldn’t really find anything else to the game beyond this small area. Perhaps right now the beta is sparsely populated. I would have loved to pilot different kinds of ships, perhaps something small and nimble, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how that was to be done. I thought about visiting the forums to see if this was all the game had to offer, but that would have killed the point of a glancing review. So here lies my experience, untainted and pure. The takeaway is that Elite: Dangerous has an incredible base to build on. What I played felt more like an alpha than a beta, but this could be because there were many features hiding beneath the arcane murk of the game’s starting experience. Very little is explained. The single-player tutorials are quite rich, though. If only there was something to guide you gently into the online portion.

Previous Write-up:

Elite: Dangerous First Look

By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)

 

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Last week I got the chance to play two of the most promising space simulation games that are currently in development and both these games can only be tested by the backers. I myself am a huge fan of space simulation games; unfortunately there aren’t a heck lot space-sim games on the market and even though a lot in the past have been released, by now most of them are all dated and not interesting anymore. Honestly if you’re not a fan of EVE Online, there isn’t much else to turn to currently in the genre!

While some might have the patience to wait till Star Citizen arrives, Elite: Dangerous offers a far nearer option. Developed by David Braben, it’s been in the oven for quite a while and the results are clear. This fourth installment in the Elite series couldn’t come too soon, as the technology is now available to bring Braben’s vision of a true space simulator to life. Though it’s been a while, as most people reading this might not even be aware of the Elite series. The last rendition of it was released in the mid 90s after all. The goal of the game remains focused on realism.

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Elite: Dangerous will be set around 50 years after the events of Frontier: First Encounters. And just like in the first three games, trading is set as the main setting in this space jam. And while features remain slim in the currnet beta, you can still trade away and influence the market! Currently in the beta you are able to travel to five different star systems, and each one of these star systems has at least one station that you can dock. And before I tell you more about this game, it’s important to know about docking and gameplay controls. Elite: Dangerous doesn’t let you set cruise control and relax while transporting your goods. Actually most find the controls take weeks to reach any level of mastery. Since you are in space and have a space ship full of fuel, you can basically go anywhere. Space has no invisible boundaries, and wild maneuvers in zero gravity are the name of the game. Though the limitations of your ship may determine just how quickly you can accomplish them.

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Thankfully as a new player you start out in a simple ship free of charge, the Sidewinder. With this ship you are also given a simple pulse laser gun and if you crash this tiny ship, you are given a new one without paying a dime for it! This really comes in handy when you are new and still trying to figure out the controls. I highly recommend using your basic ship and getting into deep space to test out your limitations and maneuverability where obstacles are few. You’ll need it when you have an expensive shipment on board and need to dock successfully at a station. As I mentioned, everything is manual so any failure is entirely on your head! Through your communication system you will come in contact with the docking crew, they will give you a landing pad to land on and that is all, sounds easy huh? Well you’re wrong, and if you are new your first try of going through the gate alone is probably going to end up in a big explosion.

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All the stations right now rotate. This means that the gate that is only on one side of the station is also rotating. So when trying to enter the station with your ship, you will have to rotate your ship while going through the gate. That’s the first step to a successful landing luckily, and once you made it inside your ship has a nifty option to connect to the gravitation field of the station to rotate automatically with the core. This makes landing a hell of a lot easier, and even though you can turn this option off, you’d have to be the kind of driver confident in racing down the highway intoxicated to do so. The challenge scales through the stratosphere and I advise players to only untick this option on a dare. Anyway, once inside you need to find an available landing pad to light up your descent. Then the fun truly begins!

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After a few well expected explosive failures, you may get lucky enough to hit the ground in one piece. At that point the station’s market is accessible, allowing one to purchase repairs, buy new ships, or customize ones already in your possession. While this is currently a purely UI system, Elite: Dangerous is aiming towards enabling avatars to allow players to walk around the station on foot, checking out the various purchase options on a more personal level.

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The Elite: Dangerous market system is a dynamic one, constantly influenced by supply and demand. Each station and each system requires a different resource, and it is up to the traders to figure out which one of the resources sell the best and get them there while the prices are still strong. If you are a big fan of trading, I am sure you will love Elite: Dangerous, but I for one am more of an action pirate myself. For aggressive players like myself, Elite: Dangerous offers the possibility of bounty hunting. This will involve hunting down and destroying NPC targets as well as mischievous players as well! There will be plenty of incentive I’m assured to play the villain, ensuring black market zones where dog fighting is encouraged. These battles are the ultimate test of your mastery over ship controls. Just like a car, you break when turning, and use your boost when catching up to a fleeing pirate! And just like in real life, if you spot a pirate on the highway you chase it and shoot his vehicle until it explodes.

 

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Current State: Good

Elite: Dangerous still doesn’t have much to offer, even though it’s further in the development process than Star Citizen. Based on the developer promises, it seems far from finished. Currently it just went out of alpha and into beta, perhaps prematurely due to market competition. I’m sure the team behind this game knows what they’re doing though, and this is the beginning of a long drawn out beta phase to get as many potential testers fleshing out bugs before an end of year launch. I might be wrong for making assumptions but at least the game is in a functioning playable state for now. Elite: Dangerous is definitely on the way to become the best space simulation game, and currently there is more content than its big brother Star Citizen that only recently launched its dog fighting module. For a game that’s behind Star Citizen by a funding ratio of 1:50, Elite: Dangerous still stands as a valid competitor that should find a nice niche of space simulation lovers this summer.

Screenshots

Elite: Dangerous Screenshots

Videos

Elite: Dangerous Videos

‘Elite: Dangerous’ Alpha – Bounty Hunter (Flight Assist Off)

‘Elite: Dangerous’ Alpha 4.01 – Supercruise with Flight Assist Off

Elite Dangerous: Voice Attack commands, Alpha 4.3 (Cobra MkIII)

Elite: Dangerous Teaser

Links

Elite: Dangerous Links

Official Game Site

System Requirements

Elite: Dangerous System Requirements

Coming Soon…

Elite: Dangerous Articles

  • Elite: Dangerous Gamma Available Now - Posted on November 24, 2014
    The Gamma phase is the final stepping stone en route to launch and is open to everyone who helped crowdfund development via Kickstarter or Frontier’s own website prior to mid-December 2013.
  • Elite: Dangerous Launches Beta 3 - Posted on October 29, 2014
    The third stage of Elite: Dangerous’ Beta test has rolled out to players, unlocking even more of the real Milky Way for exploration and introducing long-awaited features including multiple ship ownership and mining.
  • Elite: Dangerous Beta 2 Update - Posted on October 23, 2014
    There aren’t many titles that have kept my attention this year. But since day 1 of playing Elite: Dangerous, I’ve been following news and updates on the game unwaveringly. Gameplay even in the early stages of beta is mind blowing, granted you can handle the disorientation of true space flight simulation.
  • Elite: Dangerous Beta 2 Now Available - Posted on October 3, 2014
    Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV) has released Elite: Dangerous Beta 2 and announces the date for Beta 3. Beta 2 marks a major update to the game, with new ships, new outposts and even more of the galaxy unlocked for exploration.
  • Elite: Dangerous Beta 2 Announced for 30 September - Posted on September 19, 2014
    Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV) today announced the release date of Elite: Dangerous Beta 2 as 30 September.
 
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