Elite: Dangerous Reviews

  • RDSRDS#5610308,094
    02 Jun 2016 28 Oct 2020
    21 4 12
    REVIEW IN PROGRESS: Elite: Dangerous is a massive game and deserves a review which tells something about all aspects of the game. I'll continue to work on the review, especially when new content releases, but this is the base.

    History of Elite: Dangerous
    Elite: Dangerous (abbreviated E:D) is the third sequel to the 1984 game Elite, which is considered a revolutionary game because it was the first-ever sandbox game. Players had the freedom to trade, explore and fight in a massive galaxy, with a narrative of sorts to keep the storyline focusers interested. Many games have been influenced by Elite in some way, with a notable example being Grand Theft Auto. Development on Elite: Dangerous was already in progress for a few years under the work title Elite 4, but the project was nearly cancelled because Frontier Developments couldn't find a publisher willing to co-operate. In 2012, Frontier took matters in their own hands and started a Kickstarter campaign, with the goal to raise £1,250,000 in order to fund development. The campaign turned out to be a success, with well over £1,500,000 raised. This enabled Frontier to release the game on both PC and Mac and add 10 more ships in the game as well. Elite: Dangerous was released on PC on December 15th, 2014. On June 15th, 2015, Microsoft announced the so-called Game Preview Program and also announced that E:D would be available through the GPP immediately. October 6th, 2015 marked the definitive release for E:D on Xbox One, with the first season of expansions Horizons released on June 3rd, 2016 after being released on PC December 15th, 2015. Horizons was made free with E:D on October 27th, 2020.


    Elite: Dangerous banner (image didn't format well)

    What you need to know
    Elite: Dangerous is a specialized space simulator/aerial combat light-MMO where players fly in an open Milky Way with the possiblity to travel anywhere they want, as long as they have enough fuel. Players can engage in combat against other ships, trade between stations and explore unknown star systems, much like it's iconic predecessor. Although the game has no storyline at all, it gives players one goal: get the knowledge, skill, power and credits to rise through the ranks and reach the legendary Elite status in whatever path the player wishes to take.

    External image

    Elite rank symbols - this is the Elitist achievement icon

    The game takes place in the Milky Way and distances are vast. It would be very tedious, if not impossible to travel anywhere outside a starport or a star system at normal speeds. But thanks to the Frame Shift Drive, faster-than-light travel is possible, with speeds of way above 500 times lightspeed if your FSD can compress enough space in front of you. Interstellar travel goes through hyperspace, which enables players to jump to a star system which is lightyears away in mere seconds. The Galaxy Map is a very useful tool when plotting interstellar trips and it can be intimidating at first, particularly when zooming out. Zooming out on the Galaxy Map generally gives a feeling of insignficance and makes us realize that we're just in a small area of space and that there's so much what we haven't explored yet.

    All activities you can do earn you credits (the currency of the game) and those credits can be used for buying and customizing ships and trading goods. The trading system goes very deep, with an ever-evolving economy which reacts on actions from all players, whether they are on Xbox One or PC. Combat is tricky, with some of the higher-ranked NPC's (or players) forcing you to use advanced tactics. Advanced combatants will target various ship systems to achieve their goal, something which can give players the edge over their opponent. As a pirate, you want to target the cargo hatch of your victim to make them drop their cargo. As an assassin or bounty hunter, you want to disable a ship's power plant or life support to destroy your target faster. If you feel like exploring, you can fit discovery scanners and a fuel scoop on your ship and fly out of human space to discover unknown worlds. All activities are balanced, with no specific activity earning significantly more credits than others.

    External image

    A shot of the reviewer's Asp Explorer

    On June 3rd, the first two parts of the Horizons Season Pass were released for Xbox One: Planetary Landings and the Engineers.

    Planetary Landings
    Planetary Landings include landing on airless planets (doh!) and exploring them in a surface recon vehicle (SRV Scarab). Other features include planetary starports and settlements which are guarded by drones as well as regular ships. On planet surfaces, materials can be collected for various uses, such as refilling your SRV's fuel tank and giving your space ship a temporary jump range boost. SRV's can be used to combat the aforementioned drones (called 'skimmers'), to just drive around on planets and gathering materials or to race on the surface against other CMDR's.

    The Engineers
    Engineers are individuals which can enhance your ship's modules to have special effects, such as a Frame Shift Drive with extra jump range or a weapon which deals extra heat damage. These upgrades are paid for with materials and data gathered from ships and on planet surfaces. Each engineer has unlock requirements such as reaching a certain rank or claiming a certain amount of bounties. To make full use of their services, you must donate certain items to them, such as credits or certain commodities. Engineers have 5 grades of upgrades, with each grade being better than it's predecessor. Upgrades from a higher grade also require rarer materials than the more basic upgrades, but provide better statistics in return. Rarer materials can be very hard to come by, sometimes maybe a bit too hard. The strong effects associated upgrades get with those materials can far outweigh the cost however.

    If you care about your completion percentage, Elite: Dangerous isn't a game for you. All achievements are obtainable over time and with skill. Some achievements will take over 200 hours to obtain, with Triple Elite being the most iconic. Other achievements will require you to compete in certain activities, such as mining, trading, combat and CQC. A few achievements will come in naturally when playing the game, such as the achievement for destroying a ship. The bane of completionists in the list, the achievement for completing all the tutorials, has been made easier in the latest update and is now obtainable with enough skill and practice. Overall, the game takes much time to complete, but my advice: don't focus on achievements.

    Verdict (subject to change as the review's updated)
    +Big open galaxy
    +Much to do
    +Planetary landings give a host of new options to do
    +Much more to come
    -Engineer materials can be very hard to come by

    As a decimal number, I'll give it an 8,8/10

    Ethics Statement
    The reviewer has spent approximately 1750 hours flying through the galaxy, reaching all three mainline Elite ranks and obtaining 218 out of 225 achievements. A copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer.

    If you have feedback, please let me know in the comments!

    Fly safe Commanders
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    Z Squared91No worries, Red. Sometimes you gotta take a break. Another question, are all the DLC achievements connected to specific DLC activities within the game? Because looking at some of the DLC achievements, it seems like progress could be made with them without having to purchase the DLC. Or, for example, are you only allowed to land on planets, to unlock the below achievement, if you have the Horizon's DLC?
    Elite: DangerousAny Landing You Walk Away From is a Good OneThe Any Landing You Walk Away From is a Good One achievement in Elite: Dangerous worth 8 pointsLand on a planet
    Posted by Z Squared91 on 27 Apr 18 at 15:31
    RDSEverything under 'Title Update' DLCs is earnable with just the core game.
    Posted by RDS#5610 on 27 Apr 18 at 16:38
    Additionally; everything will unlock retroactively, so if you've made progress on achievements in DLCs you haven't downloaded yet they will count.
    Posted on 28 Apr 18 at 00:27
  • RoCkEtSoDRoCkEtSoD160,500
    10 Sep 2015
    9 8 7
    Elite: Dangerous is an open ended MMORPG set in the milky way galaxy. It is a cockpit view (1st person) space sim but may have 3rd person option coming at release (November).

    The thing which appeals to me the most is the LACK of story, yes you read correctly, there is a narrative of sorts but not a story that you have to be involved with!

    There are 3 areas in which a player can progress:
    1. Trade - buying and selling, moving stock around the galaxy by contracts or your own trades.
    Your own trade routes (private) you'll need to buy where they have a high supply and move it elsewhere to somewhere that is in demand.

    2. Exploration - go to systems, scan them and all the bodies, go far away and sell your data!

    3. Bounties - Go to place A, kill target B, and then get paid.

    You get 'quests'/contracts on the bulletin board at each station, which are for the above, some mix together.... "Go to 'place C' kill 'target G' and steal their cargo.

    The game takes some getting used to with a steep learning curve from the beginning with combat being particularly 'different'.

    Depth of the universe 10/10 (400 billion systems to visit!)
    Graphics 10/10
    In-game content 6/10 (still in development)

    People will either love or hate it, defiantly try a Demo before buying it so you know what you will actually be getting!