Elite Dangerous is somewhat reminiscent of the bumblebee fake, which for physics shouldn't be able to fly, but he doesn't know it and that's why he flies anyway. The Frontier game is the antithesis of the modern video game: difficult, challenging, very slow, yet here we are writing the Elite Dangerous Odyssey review, his latest pivotal expansion with absolute enthusiasm. The space simulator continues to grow, too slowly as we have described in detail in the special that retraces a bit of the whole story, but it grows anyway, and without worrying about the public and the most absurd requests that would like it profoundly different from how it is and from as it always has been. Recall, for the uninitiated, that the first chapter of Elite debuted in 1984, almost thirty-eight years ago.
Horizons and odyssey
After the Horizon expansion, which allowed us to land in the wastelands of atmospheric planets, Elite Dangerous Odyssey is that long-promised next step that opens up to the exploration of living celestial bodies that are much more interesting in morphology, in the colors and surprises that they will be able to reserve for us. But the most interesting and innovative element of Odyssey is that by exiting our spaceships we will no longer be limited to the SRV, the agile landing craft equipped with six-wheel drive, but we will finally be able to walk on virtual legs, with all that goes with it.
Elite Dangerous thus discovers another layer of complexity that gives the gameplay new variables and new emotions. However, do not be fooled by the weapon in the foreground, by the possibility of jumping between the roofs of the outposts with agile effectiveness: Odyssey does not betray the simulation aspect at the basis of the project and extends its approach to this new iteration with phenomenal results.
Alpha Beta Gamma
Di there are problems. We realized that something had gone wrong immediately, after all, how can you organize a test phase with an alpha version of the game, if then this must be finished and distributed in various digital stores within just a month? Unfortunately what we feared has come true: Elite Dangerous Odyssey has been available for purchase and download for a few days already, but bugs and discrepancies between the game systems make it the very beta that Frontier seemed to want to skip.
But things will improve, they are already doing it: in a few days three hotfixes have been distributed, two quite full-bodied, almost like the real patches that will arrive anyway by mail. After this critical phase, Odyssey will leave a deep groove between before and after, becoming month after month a fundamental purchase both for those who love the game from the first hour, and for all those who, thanks to this expansion, will feel irresistibly attracted to this extraordinary videogame project.
For the occasion, we canceled our bailouts starting from scratch and the new beginning is undoubtedly the most engaging ever. With the new expansion installed, the adventure begins with a tutorial introduced by Odyssey (which can also be tackled without starting over as we did) which explains in detail all the new features of the game, leaving us later on a space station where we can continue the learning phase through the "old" tutorial which will explain the rudiments of space flight, the latter already present for some years.
Once this segment is completed, we will finally be free to choose our destiny, losing ourselves in the infinite possibilities granted by Elite Dangerous, with Odyssey more varied than ever. At the helm of a ship the game remains essentially the same, like the missions present, and even on land there are quests that can be completed through an SRV, as is the practice from the Horizon expansion onwards, which for those who do not know now it is participation for all those who will purchase or have already purchased the base game.
The right dress
Le missions of Elite Dangerous Odyssey are of a very different caliber, and usually have to do with the new outposts that we can find on the infinite or almost planets of the game. And they're not easy at all: expect to fail over and over again before figuring out how to act and advance in these new situations. Odyssey is not Call of Duty, nothing further away, and its mechanics make each intrusion an extremely challenging task to complete. At our disposal we will have new weapons, new suits and of course new essential tools to bring home the result and earn enough credits to cover any expenses.
The suits currently present are four, the pilot one is immediately available to us, while the other three will be purchased at a high price and will allow access to tools designed to cover every role: the Artemis Suit is the most suitable for the exploration and is sold together with a DNA sequencer to study the simple life forms present in the planets, the Dominator Suit is instead designed for combat and is the only one to allow the use of two main weapons, finally there is the Maverick Suit dedicated to scavenging and equipped with a welder that will give access to various types of panels. All suits include a Profile Analyzer which, in addition to studying the different NPCs from a distance, detecting their equipment, allows you to clone their details in order to gain access to initially reserved areas. Another tool that is always present is the Energylink, able to transfer energy from certain devices to our suit or to short-circuit them, a secondary function that can also be used to silently eliminate an enemy.
The suits have a reserve of energy that will decrease over time, much faster if we use the equipment just described or when we activate the fundamental shields to survive the opponent's blows. We will be able to recharge the batteries through special terminals, or using portable batteries that can be purchased, just like medkits and grenades, in the stores present in the ground bases or in orbit. Of course this equipment it can also be found on the spot, but the risk of being pinched to steal is always very high and if you want to act in a certain way it is better to aim for self-sufficiency.
The rules that manage the IA in fact they are subject to numerous variables, primarily those dictated by our reputation with a particular faction. Moving through a peaceful outpost also needs attention: an NPC may request an inspection and if we don't allow it, stopping waiting for the tools to do their analysis, this could become suspicious and react accordingly, even activating a compromising general alarm.
The outposts are divided into several buildings, each with its own clear function. In the last mission that we tried to carry out, we were asked to steal a given item hidden in an area of the science building. In order not to get noticed, we landed the ship about a kilometer away, on a well-protected plateau, and from there we approached aboard the SRV, then parked behind a small hill close to the base. We went to the opposite side from our goal where with the EnergyLink we shorted some systems, which attracted the attention of a group of soldiers who immediately started looking for the cause of the malfunction, reactivating the systems off and leaving in the meantime, the area in which we were called to act was discovered.
During this time, we have knocked out a scientist with a third level access, we have cloned his identity and with that gained access to the target building. On entering, however, we were caught in the act by another scientist who managed to raise the alarm before being knocked out. The action was supposed to remain anonymous, and the event effectively made the job impossible to complete. Although the missions still don't seem to have the variety of those that can be tackled on a spaceship, their course includes many variables, allowing very creative approaches.
I shoot you and confuse you
What makes Odyssey missions extremely fun is also theEnemy AI. This is not omniscient like in other games, and will decide what to do based on the last position in which we will be spotted, instead of always knowing our position unrealistically. A not insignificant detail that allows you to constantly change tactics, to confuse enemies in order to get around them or to allow us to escape without a scratch, a fine or even worse, a bounty on our head. In the midst of a shooting it is necessary to stay in motion, making the most of the agility granted to us by the jetpack at our disposal, so as not to be surrounded and shot down in no time.
The AI knows how to behave and above all how to move: like us, it will soon learn to exploit the roofs of the various structures to have a tactical vision of the battlefield or more simply to take us by surprise with a dangerous barrage. In any case, much more than what happened when traveling and fighting aboard an SRV, the day and night cycle will drastically change our approach. Just like in space gameplay, the geopolitical simulation of the galaxy will be able to trigger conflicts on the planets, giving life to hilarious combat zone in which to take the sides of one of the two sides. In these cases the number of enemies on the screen is quite high, putting even the best equipped soldiers to the test, as well as the most armored computers.
Lights and colors
As you can see, and they certainly do not end there, the additions are different and all substantial compared to the classic Elite Dangerous with the Horizon expansion. Elite Dangerous Odyssey also introduces tons of it materials different objects to collect, resell or use to engineer suits and weapons that, just like spaceships, can be improved and improved again. Two steps forward, and one step back, have also been made from a technical point of view. The generation of planets, for example, has not always led to substantial improvements and once extremely fascinating stars now appear flatter, less mysterious. The lighting has also been revised and although in some situations the improvement is tangible, generally the game appears too dark, to the point that we doubt it may be a choice of the developers but a real bug affecting the new shaders used.
Nothing to worry about, other planets have acquired an unprecedented charm, also thanks to the presence of the atmosphere that illuminates the skies once dominated by the black of the universe with color. For example, we landed on a planet whose atmosphere was 100% oxygen, a place where it is not recommended to light a cigarette but which a perpetual purplish glow and iridescent made it unforgettable. And what about the emotion of finding yourself for the first time under an intense blue celestial vault, very similar to that of our Earth? The planets with an atmosphere now also have more or less rich vegetation, procedural but based on simulation algorithms that make their presence surprisingly realistic.
A base for everyone
To combine the contents of Odyssey with those of the classic Elite Dangerous we think the bases, now explorable and usually equipped with a bar (where, however, damn you can not sip drinks), a shop where you can buy weapons, suits and consumables, terminals for missions and a kiosk where you can book a trip on the new taxi system, plus other surprises that we are happy to let you discover. Here, at least in the busiest systems, it is also quite easy to meet other players, with whom to organize expeditions or simply chat between missions. All of this gives the Frontier game a renewed variety that makes it more exciting and engaging than ever. Being able to go ashore, admire your ship through this unprecedented perspective, feeling so small, insignificant and fragile, psychologically acts on the user, thus introducing not only new mechanics, but also actually new, extraordinarily powerful emotions.
With Odyssey, Elite Dangerous finally has all the features you need to grow freely in every direction. For this reason, in addition to expanding and refining the mechanics introduced with this new expansion, calibrating and balancing the new weapons and enemy artificial intelligence, it is more than ever essential to carry on the project by looking at initially unworkable functions, reviewing in depth what in previously it was not possible to offer in a more interesting and functional form, such as the co-op mechanics that even in the case of Odyssey appear unnecessarily cumbersome and problematic.
In short, more courage, even financially, is needed to bring Elite Dangerous where it deserves to be, allowing us to touch with the wing of a Sidewinder or a Cobra MKIII that sidereal cold that is at the same time human goal, technological victory and spiritual satisfaction. Net of the bugs, which will be fixed as always, Odyssey is already a victory, but it is from now on that it must be able to prove that it is not just an expansion, but a real change of pace.
CommentTested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam Price 34,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Elite Dangerous Odyssey is a fundamental addition even for those who do not plan to spend who knows how much time on the planets of the Frontier simulation. The expansion introduces new mechanics, as normal as it may be, but above all it gives the project greater breadth, that depth that is gradually becoming less apparent and more and more consistent. From here it is impossible to go back, but it takes courage to look forward. Will they have enough?
- Excellent AI, even if it needs to be calibrated better
- Very complex ground missions, but in a good way
- Shooting better than expected!
- Who turned out the light? The game is now too dark!
- New planets are not always better than they were before
- Cooperating with friends shouldn't be so uncomfortable