Elite: Dangerous has been the greatest hit of childhood nostalgia since borrowing a GameBoy Pocket and Pokemon Red from Jeff. X-Wing, Tie Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, and Wing Commander were everyday staples of my younger years, and playing Elite: Dangerous has permanently glued a big stupid grin on my face because it reminds me so much of them. Rightfully so, the Elite series has a long distinguished heritage of space sim games.
I admit I sinned. After viewing a lot of content online about this game I jumped into the deep end head first. Purchasing a Saitek X52 Control System, and the game itself on the same day was a risk but, boy did it pay off. Big. Stupid. Grin.
The X52 has a dedicated Elite: Dangerous control profile ready for download, and it’s flawless. Every single function needed is mapped to an easily accessible button, toggle, switch, or slider on the system. If it isn’t, it’s surprisingly easy to bind and rebind controls to your hearts content. All movement and actions of the system are smooth, and satisfying. I can only imagine out incredible the X55 Pro system must be.
The installation takes a considerable amount of time, and with many new game releases recently they saw fit to have a dedicated launcher/installer which I wouldn’t knock if they worked properly. After the unnecessarily inconvenient installation, this baby runs like a dream on my current system. After doing some research I’ve found that it runs well overall, no matter the system build. Serious props to Frontier, this game is so well optimized, and oh boy is it beautiful. This is the game I envisioned as a kid.
The settings menu is a smorgasbord, nothing left out. The inclusion an FOV slider is wonderful, as I tend to get simulation sickness in games like these. Maxing out all the graphical settings has never dipped below 60 fps. Textures are fantastic, and all models are exquisitely detailed. Little things like battle damage on enemy ships during a fight ramp up the immersion, and make you feel so cool. Flying is a perfect balance between realistic zero-g physics and space airplanes. Thankfully a flight assistance setting can be disabled at any time for the full zero-g experience. Parallels to Star Citizen are inevitable, and I have full intention of purchasing Star Citizen in the future, and I look forward to comparing the differences.
Making your fortune is a winding road. One moment you’re a miner in an asteroid belt refining materials to sell in the local market, and the next moment you’re a bounty hunter engaging in white-knuckle dogfights kicking butt and taking names. Exploration, courier services, shipping contracts, there is no shortage of ways to make your money. And there is no shortage of ways to spend that hard earned dough. The upgrade/fitting system is fun and satisfying. Some have compared the traveling mechanics to EuroTruck Simulator, but I don’t see that as a slight. Traveling is fun, relaxing, and sometimes someone is out to kill you just because. Always on your toes.
Below is some general spaceship gorgeousness, and a few videos showcasing some of the most basic features of the title.