Space exploration is a daunting prospect, but in a video game I don’t expect it to be.
In Elite Dangerous you’re tasked with exploring a 1:1 scale of the Milky Way, accurately detailed and re-created to its full galactic proportions. Darting off to the deepest, darkest corners of the galaxy should be something you can instantly take advantage of, but instead you’re met with a difficult learning curve.
This might sound incredibly familiar to the upcoming galactic adventure title, No Man’s Sky, but Elite Dangerous places less focus on zippy exploration to unknown planets and instead features an almost simulator-like quality.
You start off in a ship called the Sidewinder, which is your free minimalistic explorer and features basic technology. Before setting off there’s a hefty amount of training to get stuck into, which alone is quite daunting. Elite is chock full of things to do, but if you’re not willing to put the effort in to learn about its intricacies, then you might end up struggling to have fun, such as myself.
I don’t have nearly enough time to fully appreciate the potential of Elite Dangerous, and the prospect of a 400 billion star system boggles my mind. I can’t have fun in Elite because it’s not suited to my tastes.
As soon as I enter a ship there’s a lot to learn, as holographic screens filled with mounds of information face me and paralyse my progress. Aside from cumbersome controls and slow manoeuvrability, the depth of its gameplay makes this title perfect for those with time on their hands, not people looking to jump in for a quick bit of fun.
Exploring the unearthed secrets of space should make me excited, but in Elite it doesn’t. In my path lies an elaborate manual that wants me to care about how complicated and interesting it is. I’m interested in exploring space much like I have in Nintendo’s Starfox or in Mass Effect; no holds-barred fun, complete with an easy to use interface and simple mechanics.
If you’re looking for a grounded experience (pardon the pun), Elite Dangerous is a massively multiplayer adventure that pits you in the shoes of a rookie. Just make sure you don’t have anything else on your plate, because this game requires your full attention.
*Elite Dangerous was provided to Start Replay on Xbox One by Xbox