Elite: Dangerous Early Access Preview

Posted by: 3/2/2015

I’ve just reached the Aristotle Gateway, an industrial outpost controlled by the Allied Yakabugai Liberty Party. It is a little space station orbiting a small planet in a star system. I can’t remember which star system, but by this point, they have become random points on a map. With any star so easily accessible with the 34th century technology I use, each system seems to blend together, except for the color of the dominant star in the system.

While outer space is vast and empty, the space around the gateway contains other ships, like myself, waiting for permission to dock. Each station you enter must give you permission to dock, and you’ll be assigned a numbered landing pad to conduct your business. If all the landing pads are full, you’ll be denied a docking request. You’ll have to wait in line behind other ships wanting to dock.

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The Aristotle Gateway is a small station, but I’ve been to massive ones before. Some that take a few minutes to even find the opening. Each station is bustling with traders and pilots conducting business. They might be refueling their ships, or obtaining missions to earn credits and purchase new equipment, with the end goal of being the most prominent and powerful pilot in the 1:1 replicated Milky Way galaxy.

That is just a sliver of what is possible in the space-flight simulator Elite:Dangerous. As the fourth entry in the Elite series, it is the latest from Frontier Developments. Frontier is headed by David Braben, one of the developers on the original Elite game released in 1984. The modern version of the game features incredible visuals, and a persistent online world.

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In Elite: Dangerous, you take control of one of many fictional spaceships that seem to be taken straight from many sci-fi movies and books. When I say take control, I mean you have full control over you spaceship. This is a game that doesn’t even attempt to hold your hand. As the pilot of your ship, you’re given access to the entire Milky Way galaxy, and it is your choice of what to do.

While some of the content seems scarce in version 1.1, there is still quite a bit to do while confined to your personal craft. You can become a trader; a courier; a pirate hunter; a pirate; a security officer; and more. It is really your choice of what you want to do. You can become a prominent Navy pilot, and once your ship is a worthy opponent, switch to the more lucrative black market trading and assassinations.

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You traverse the Milky Way galaxy using your frame shift drive, allowing you travel at speeds close to the speed of light. Elite: Dangerous likes to present itself as a believable sci-fi space flight game. There is something unnerving when you exit your frame shift drive to enter into a new system. The exit point for each jump pits you on a course to crash into the star in that system, with said star taking up a majority of your cockpit view. It is the small attention to details in the game that make it feel like you’re casually flying around the fucking Milky Way galaxy, something that is unbelievable right now.

With an ambitious road map for Elite: Dangerous, Frontier Developments seems to have an incredibly rich and exciting game in the works. Future updates are said to include the ability to exit your space ship, and land on planets. If either of these features come to fruition, it will expand an already expansive video game.

Expect more coverage of Elite: Dangerous in the future.

PC Previews

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