I think it has been a gamer’s fantasy for years to create the true space travel experience. Not so much an overall plot but just an open sandbox adventure into space where you get to smuggle, fly, and fight like a true space captain. Many games have tried it and a few have succeeded to an extent. But it would seem that the truly immersive space captain experience that hits all the sweet spots is still lacking. Well the good people at Frontier Development has taken it on their shoulders to give the true experience through their open world game, Elite: Dangerous. I am personally torn when it comes to this game, on the one hand, it is one of the closest experiences to being a space captain I have ever seen… On the other hand it is that game in all the wrong ways. Either way, it is most certainly an experience to say the least.
Elite:Dangerous is an open world, space exploration, sandbox adventure where you take on the role of a guy flying his space craft through the futuristic representation of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this game you can take on various jobs like smuggling, simple delivery missions, black market deals, and of course your fair share of space battles to spice things up. Throughout the game you can buy more equipment to soup up your spacecraft and make yourself known throughout the galaxy.
If there has ever been a game that truly embodies the space captain experience, it is this one. I truly got the feeling that I was some dude in this massive galaxy just trying to make ends meet with my star fighter. It has a very Firefly feel to it and of course I’m digging anything that has the Firefly feel.
There is no strong over arching plot or plucky heroes to fall in love with. There is no space opera to be had. Just some guy, flying through space and doing his “9/5” in order to keep himself or herself fed and free. While I’m sure there are more games that will better embody the experience, this is the best I have seen so far.
It Gives the Option for Single Player
I make it no secret that I prefer single player games to multiplayer games. I like playing games by myself where I don’t have to have a constant dick measuring contest with people over who has the highest number and who has devoted their life to a single video game, sue me. So when I saw that Elite: Dangerous was a game that allowed me to play single player, I was absolutely thrilled that a game would have the clout to make a game for both single and multiplayer games.
This is the type of game that lends itself to multiplayer. It is a big open world that doesn’t have much of an overall plot. You are just space captain guy flying through space. It makes sense that there would be a multiplayer option where thousands of people can fly through this infinitely huge map. But thankfully, so people like me don’t have to deal with the annoying ass monkeys that take joy out of making other people’s game a living hell, I can safely play on my single player screen and tell everyone else to go suck on a railroad spike.
Video games walk a very tight rope. On the one hand, if your game is too easy, people won’t see it as a challenge. If you make it too hard then people will not play the game. Now personal people’s threshold does vary between the two dependent upon what kind of gamer you are, but for the majority of the people, the level of challenge that is required for Elite: Dangerous may not be worth the time spent. This game is about 25% space exploration and combat and 75% flight simulator. Everything from landing, communications, weaponry, even how to operate the fucking cup holder is going to require extensive rounds in the tutorial before you are even ready to play the game!
I can understand a good challenge and enjoy them as much as the next guy. Hell, games like Dead Souls is excellent for being a game that is beat your head against the wall challenging, but offering sufficient rewards for completion of tasks. The problem is that Elite: Dangerous doesn’t seem to have this satisfaction. You complete hours upon hours in ‘flight school’ and your reward is that you now get to play the game without being an abject failure. That isn’t a reward that is tedium that I can get from sitting through a 90 minute lecture on tax reform.
While Elite: Dangerous can be fun, a gamer first must ask how much time they are really want to put into a game and if the answer is ‘I do not want to put in several hours just to finish the tutorial’ you might want to skip this one.
Whether or not you pick up Elite: Dangerous is completely dependent upon the amount of time you are willing to put into it. If you are a casual sort of gamer who just wants to play a fun game and see a good story, it isn’t for you. If you are the kind of person who puts your heart and soul into a game and are willing to learn every facet of the game to truly get the real experience, look no further, your ship has come in.
There really is no wrong answer to this, but this is certainly a game for a niche market. The hardcore gamer among us who loves a good challenge.
Final Score 3.5/5
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