Elite: Dangerous; So you want to be a Space Ace

This is an amazingly detailed title from Frontier Developments, a company based in Cambridge, England. In this lovingly rendered three dimensional galaxy, you will explore distant planets, fight NPC and player pirates, and trade exotic goods- if you can figure out and master the controls.

Before I get into the game itself, I want to make a small comment about the launcher. This probably has to do with the fact that the game requires a LOT of funding to craft the lovingly rendered, huge galaxy and everything in it, but the ads for buying custom skin packages and books about the world of Elite rub me the wrong way a bit. This is similar to what I see in launchers for games such as World of Tanks, which are free to play titles and only make money through the premium shop, while this is a very expensive title up front ($60, which is the regular AAA price for games, but definitely the most expensive game I have reviewed so far). Honestly, I expect- or at least hope, so the ads go away- that a lot of the in game options such as custom skins will become available for free at some point in the future.

When you first start your journey in Elite:Dangerous, you start in a small fighter  called a Sidewinder with 4 units of cargo space and a borrowed pair of pulse lasers. You can make money in one of three ways: combat, trading, and exploration.

Combat in Elite:Dangerous is the usual dogfight style melee, though different weapons allow for more versatility in your combat style. There are areas you can go to farm small amounts of credits for NPC kills, and this will let you hone your skills for later fights against player ships. These skills will be needed even if you are not actively aggressive, as there are pirates even in the single player mode. (As an aside about single player, you must have an internet connection even if you want to play single player, which may be a factor for you when considering this game.) Frankly, the combat did not interest me personally, though for those who want a fight it is well thought out and requires a great deal of skill to do properly.


The second way to make money (and therefore to play the game) is by finding good deals on goods and selling to faraway space ports in other sectors. Buy low, sell high, live the life of a merchant and hope to run from pirates. This is a good way to make some money early on, and to learn the ship controls if you do not wish to go through the extensive tutorials. I would recommend the tutorials, however, as this game is extremely challenging to pick up.

The last way to make money (and the one which excites me the most) is exploration. With proper scanning equipment and a hydrogen scoop, you ca go far off the beaten path, refuel using energy from the star, and explore the galaxy one solar system at a time. If you are the first to discover a system and get the data to a space port that has a Universal Cartographics section in the Starport Services tab, your game name will appear next to astronomical bodies you have discovered. In multiplayer, this means anyone who visits the system will see that your are the one who discovered this system. There will, of course, be players who try to kill you before you can upload your data so that they can claim to be the first discoverer, but that is the risk you take when traveling far and wide.

As I mentioned before, this game is not easy. There is a steep learning curve for the controls, and there are many different controls to worry about. You cannot point and click on menus in game, you must use your wasd keys and spacebar. A nice feature would be a key that let you go into ‘pilot’s mode,’ which would let you move around the ship and click on things with your mouse. Once you master the controls, however, you have a beautiful galaxy to explore, modeled on our very own Milky Way!

Ok, after the freakout I checked my systems. ... how do I launch?
Ok, after the freakout I checked my systems. … how do I launch?
Whoo hoo! Space!
Whoo hoo! Space!

Overall, this is a challenging but rewarding experience if you enjoy the genre of space sims. The physics are well implemented, the visuals are beautiful, and it feels like you are flying a space ship. If this is your cup of tea, you should take a look at Elite:Dangerous!

Personal Game Scoring System:

(Scale of 1-5, one being a hot mess and 5 being amazingly well done)



Update Schedule: 4


Hi! I am Eugene Shenderov, and I am a starting game designer. You can find my website at www.thisandthatgames.com. Send me a message if you have any questions!

Have a great day!

Eugene Shenderov

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