Published on October 30th, 2015 | by James Wright
Elite Dangerous XBox One Review
Summary: The PC classic and remake successfully transitions to the Xbox One console as players are given the commander's chair in a brilliant space epic
The massively multiplayer space epic Elite arrives on the Xbox One that allows players to discover the vastness of space as you explore over 400 billion star systems in search of fortune, glory or justice. As a history lesson, Elite was launched in 1984 that allowed players to explore the galaxy in glorious 3D wire-frame graphics as they attempted to bring either order or chaos into their personal universe. It was really a classic game and probably one of the boldest titles of this era.
So as players commenced their career as the commander of a Cobra Mark III with 100 credits to their name, Elite gave the player full control over their destiny as they were given the choice of a variety of missions from trading to bounty hunting as they traversed the galaxy making their own destinies. Although Elite Dangerous was released on the PC late last year, it’s time for the console world to enter this amazing universe that is filled with both wonder and danger.
However unlike the original 1984 version, this new incarnation features some beautiful next-gen graphics that makes exploring the universe a true virtual treat on the Xbox One. The console version also includes a new PVP matchmaking arena that can be quite a challenge as you attempt to upgrade your ship to get the upper hand over your enemy.
As mentioned, Elite Dangerous boasts 400 billion star systems and one hundred and fifty thousand of them are actually based on real-world astronomical data from the Milky Way. So yes, Elite Dangerous is a very time consuming game, however the scope is quite unparalleled to any other game that we’ve played. The game is also set in the same universe of the original with the year being 3300 and like Elite, players are once again given a handful of credits and a basic ship called the Sidewinder in order to start their career in this diverse gaming universe. From there, players can then shape their destinies as they explore the universe, upgrade their ships and more importantly bring those credits in for either heroic or nefarious purpose.
That’s also one of the main reasons why the original game was as compelling as it gave the player some unprecedented choice which is mimicked in Elite Dangerous as you can tailor your space experience. But the biggest difference of Elite Dangerous is the MMO factor that allows players to form either friendships or enemies in their aim to tame the savage universe. Lone wolf players can also keep to themselves but the universe is a very dangerous place, especially while exploring by yourself. If you don’t have access to Xbox Live, the game can be played solo but where this title shines is with other players and if you played the PC version, it’s a lot more exciting when challenging and being challenged by other gamers.
So before jumping into your Siderwinder, you first need to learn the mechanics of the game and the tutorials created by the developers give you enough knowledge to fly this spacecraft. However not all aspects of controls are touched in these tutorials but if you persist, Elite Dangerous does become quite a rewarding experience due to the scope of this massive gaming universe. On that I do strongly suggest you complete the tutorials because it makes controlling the game a much more pleasant experience on the Xbox One opposed to be thrown in the deep end. Sure, you are thrown in the deep in but at least I had a bit of help when I completed the tutorials.
In terms of combat, the game is called Elite Dangerous for a reason and while you might be minding your own business in the vastness of space, there are plenty of enemy players who want to increase their kill scores and steal your precious cargo. Furthermore, the game does not boast a permadeath feature per se but if you lose a battle in the coldness of space, your ship is gone and you basically need to start again. However if you have saved enough credits from previous missions, this makes the pain considerably less but nonetheless it’s a huge risk when you start exploring those systems away from protected spaceports.
Battling other NPC’s and players is a joy in Elite Dangerous, especially when you start upgrading your ship as you get involved in this dog-fighting dance of life and death, hoping that the other player makes a mistake first as lasers, bullets and missiles are fired. Thankfully you have a shield because more often than not, there is someone a little bigger and more powerful than you and I’ve managed to slink off on more than one occasion to lick my wounds.
Another great nod of the hat to the original is that if you prepare your weapons near a spaceport, you are fined and if you decide to attack in this area, you’re insolence will be addressed by the local authorities. Furthermore, upgrading is dependent on how you want to play, whether you want your ship to carry more cargo or you need a faster ship with more weaponry to bring down those dastardly space pirates, it’s all up to the player.
There’s also quite a bit of political intrigue and turmoil throughout the galaxy that include corporations, federations and alliances which make exploring this title such a treat. However it’s all about control and thankfully these are well mapped on the Xbox One controller and it truly makes full use of it. So if you don’t learn the controls, early and when you encounter that big space fish, you really need to fly out of harms way if possible and this can only be done by a master pilot.
Graphically Elite Dangerous looks amazing on the Xbox One and this is one game that must be played on the biggest TV possible. The galaxy and vastness of space looks beautiful as do all the planets, galaxies and various astronomical creations like nebulas that you visit. Lighting is another highlight but unlike the PC version, there is some slowdown on the Xbox One due to the amount of detail like asteroid fields. Audio does take a back seat but hey… you can’t hear in space.
Elite Dangerous is quite an impressive game on the Xbox One due to the amount of content it is rendering. Given that, it’s probably one of the most intensive games on this console and really showcases the architecture of this console, not to mention its limitations. However this game is not just a space sim because there’s quite a bit of political intrigue. The only thing the game doesn’t do well is teach the player but thankfully there’s enough content from the PC version to help overcome this because the gamer is a true drop in the ocean while playing Elite Dangerous on the Xbox One.