Yes, docking does take a little getting used to initially, as your craft has to be facing forward on the scanner which appears once you’re hovering over the landing pad, but it’s satisfying once achieved and, as they say, practice makes perfect. That’s not to say I didn’t have a number of accidents while learning. I’m not sure if, sometimes, I had reverse thrust on, or god knows what, but it was like the opposite of my Fiat Punto’s automatic choke when it feels like it has a mind of its own and you want it to just behave. Posting this query on Twitter, the response came that I wasn’t pointing in the right direction. I also see that some of these landing pads are either ‘zero gravity’ or ‘low gravity’. I’ve still not quite got it, either, but I’m getting there.
Missions mostly revolve around trading regular or nefarious items, but there’s also some involving heading to a far outpost and taking someone’s ship out for a handsome reward. As alighted to earlier, I’m still a bit crap about bumping others off, so any time I get into a fight at the moment, I’m soon shooting off into the distance once my ship is almost dead. Unfortunately, by that point, so am I, really.
While you’re doing all this, there’s both a single-player option to this game, but also the aforementioned zillions of others who are partaking, and Elite Dangerous is the first in the series to feature massively multiplayer gameplay, with the actions of the players affecting the narrative story of the game’s universe.
Dumb things I’ve done while playing Elite Dangerous include running out of oxygen and not realising there’s a “quit” button to restart the game, and at one point I was meant to deliver goods to Wohler Terminal, but got confused and landed at Worlidge Terminal. Once landed, I then realised I was in the wrong place. D’oh!
Elite Dangerous has also inspired many people beyond simply sitting in front of a computer and playing a game. Fantastic Books have published a number of titles in paperback, hardback and even audiobook form, such as Elite: Reclamation, Elite: Tales From The Frontier, Elite: And Here The Wheel, and also the wonderful Elite: Mostly Harmless. Telling the tale of Commander Angel Rose and her adventures in space, it’s written and narrated by the stunning technology journalist and BBC Click presenter Kate Russell, with a guest appearance from Mr David Braben, himself. Since I’m not one for books in their paper form, I reviewed the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed it as you can see in my review, here.
And for those who have read it and/or listened to it, remember DORIS, the sarcastic biscuit tin-shaped robot who accompanies Angel on her travels? Yes, you can even buy a DORIS voicepack for Elite! She’ll talk back when you command her, and I will be checking this out soon, but since I don’t have a headset, and since that is how she is controlled, I’ll need to get the headset sorted out ASAP, then take the abuse of DORIS in good humour 😉
Kate also presented live Twitch broadcasts for 14 days over Christmas 2014, raising money for Special Effect, who have made it their mission to beat physical disability and allow everyone to enjoy playing video games. In addition, 10% of all the sales for Elite: Mostly Harmless will go to Special Effect. Check out the full playlist for the festive fun of Slough Bells Ringing.
Her enjoyment with Elite Dangerous also continues each weekend as she hosts weekly Twitch broadcasts in the Battle For Slough, recently hosting a Twitch Partnership party, to mark the first anniversary of her partnership with Twitch, with games including a Demolition Derby, with the players circling around the Slough Orbital Space Station. Check them out every Sunday from 4pm to 7pm on Twitch, with the videos also posted on Youtube, and below, from about 20 minutes in, you can check out an example of DORIS in action. As soon as I’ve got my headset, I’ll update this review.
In conclusion, Elite Dangerous is an experience like no other. Many games you can pick up and put down and not think about afterwards. This one, yes, it takes a little getting into, but it’s time well-invested, and once you’re in, you’re hooked.
If I had any complaint, it’s that when you pause the game, say by going into the menu or quitting out of it because it’s late and you’ve got work in the morning, it doesn’t actually PAUSE it. The world continues on around you. Sure, other people will be playing the game between now and when you fire it up again, but it would be nice if the missions you were on were still available from the point where you left off. And once, I paused it, and when I came back to it I found my ship had been destroyed. D’oh!
And I haven’t yet found Lave, the planet from where you start in the original Elite game, but I’m sure it’s out there. Somewhere, among the billions of planets. Somewhere….
Elite Dangerous is out now on PC, Mac, Xbox One (preview version) and in due course, PS4. For more information, go to Elite Dangerous.com.
Visit my DVDfeverGames Youtube channel for many more gaming videos.
- Publisher: Frontier Games
- Players: single player, multiplayer: 2-everyone!
- HDTV options: every resolution up to and including 1080p and 4K
Director: David Braben
Producer: Michael Brookes
Designers: Sandro Sammarco, Dan Davies and Tom Kewell
Programmers: Mark Allen and Igor Terentjev
Artists: John Laws, Simon Brewer and John Roberts
Music: Erasmus Talbot
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.