Elite: Dangerous (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 12.12.2017

Review for Elite: Dangerous on PlayStation 4

The cockpit of your Sidewinder smells a bit like rust and varnish. Probably from sitting in the hangar so long. As you climb in (or, more aptly, wake up in it), it's clear that the panel in front of you has a lot of options available. This is a critical component of Elite: Dangerous; it's as deep as the console that is your HUD, UI, and mission board. This is about not only exploring, but staking your claim in the universe. Becoming a space pirate, or miner, Elite: Dangerous is a massive experience, which might suffer most from how ridiculously big it is.

Elite: Dangerous is intimidating at first glance… and second glance, and surprisingly even for the first ten or so. Everything is massive. Everything is under your control, though. The player is in charge of accurately managing their ship, which is fine because that's where they spend all of their time. Unlike games like No Man's Sky, there's no walking around to be had (at least yet). Your vehicle is not just a mode of transportation; it is home, it is your health, HUD and UI. It's everything one could possibly need to explore the cosmos.

Screenshot for Elite: Dangerous on PlayStation 4

Elite: Dangerous is a gigantic game; one that has a tremendous amount to not only explore, but to do. Cargo runs, bounties, mining; there's a wide array of missions and activities to complete in the universe, which is good and somewhat terrifying. Elite: Dangerous simply gives the player the tools to survive and thrive, but never once does it tell them how. This degree of freedom is fantastic, as you have been given all the tools needed to become whatever you want to be in this seemingly infinite sandbox.

This is what makes Elite: Dangerous both ambitious and obnoxious. There's so much to do in space, but it's up to the player to figure out how. Given the massive spaces one has to cross to get to each location, it can seem like there are extended periods of time where nothing is happening. This does allow for some interesting moments of spontaneity, like another player popping up trying to blast you out of the sky, or a bounty popping up in the near distance, waiting to be wasted. Still, it can grow a bit cumbersome making these long treks and holding out hope something is going to be happening soon.

Screenshot for Elite: Dangerous on PlayStation 4

However, this feeling fades as you get a better grasp on everything. Elite: Dangerous is not friendly to newcomers; a warning of how the game is trying to be as realistic as possible. Speaking of realistic and not being friendly to newcomers, there's the controls. They are, for lack of a better word, awful for the first few hours. Controlling the ship puts the player at the whim of real physics, and everything from deploying landing gear to requesting permission to land are on your list of obligations to complete. Also, it seems like nothing in the universe breaks - so clip an antenna or misjudge the entry to a hangar, and get ready for a spinout that would make Dorothy and Toto dizzy.

There are tutorials (really good ones, at that), but even completing these can take a long time the first time through. Everything is thorough, because that cockpit is everything. Select a location, zoom towards it, slow down before the ship slingshots past it, and the next twenty minutes are relegated to turning around, lining up, and getting back. Then, ask permission to dock and land on the landing pads. Of course, take too long to do that and get fined for blocking air space. This level of detail is going to draw in players just as quickly as it turns them off of the experience.

Screenshot for Elite: Dangerous on PlayStation 4

If this all sounds like too much, at times it definitely feels like it is. Elite: Dangerous is unbridled chaos, despite generally being a peaceful experience. It is also a game that feels good to get good at sometimes. The question is: Is it worth it? Honestly, it can be, but it won't be for everyone. This is a game where there is no shame in setting it down and saying, "This just isn't for me," because it's a game that not everyone will be able to find something in. Some will find controlling it to be a nightmare, while others grasp the controls with much less issue.

"Space sure is awesome," one states while their friend shouts, "Space sure is boring!" For this writer, it's more of the latter than the former. Still, it's easy to see why someone might get into this title, and it's really exciting to see such a massive game come to fruition the way it has.

Screenshot for Elite: Dangerous on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Elite: Dangerous feels a bit like a lifestyle choice, honestly. Getting good at piloting and traversing this universe takes almost as long as a full length game in and of itself. For those who endure, there's some exciting things happening in space, but for the rest, the price might be too high. This is clearly an example of a niche game, a remarkably thorough space sim that requires patience and tenacity to unearth its many secrets. It also requires caring about the universe you're in, and that can often be difficult to do after extended periods of time fighting with the game itself, whether it be through the controls or long stretches of nothing happening. As Carl Sagan once said, though: "The universe seems neither benign nor hostile; merely indifferent."

Developer

Frontier Developments

Publisher

Frontier Developments

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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