If you’ve been paying any attention to Elite and the Elite community over the last few years, you would of heard of ‘space-legs’, the feature coming soon and most prized and wished for my Elite players. Elite Dangerous: Odyssey finally brings ‘space-legs’ to the space exploration, combat, trade sim, although with so many bugs and disappointing design choices it’s hard to recommend in its current state.
Elite allows you to explore the Milky Way like never before, experiencing a scientifically accurate representation of the galaxy made tangible through clever procedural systems for handling the four billion star systems. It’s a remarkably vast game that focuses on three core experiences: ship combat, trade, and exploration, and each of these experiences are deep and rewarding, keeping you busy for countless hours. Elite Dangerous: Odyssey means to enhance the Elite package with on-foot exploration of planets and instillations with first-person combat and exploration.
Initially this is a wonderfully refreshing change, allowing you to explore from a different perspective and engage in different missions based around the core concepts. You might pick up a mission to steal something, requiring you to acquire a temporary identity so to move freely around an installation. Get caught, however, and it becomes a frantic rush to escape, first-person combat kicking in and the excitement building to a triumphant getaway in your ship, or (more commonly) you being killed or you ship being destroyed.
It’s a great potential enhancement to the experience that came before, all from a new perspective, and making the game feel more alive, and more of a complete sim. Unfortunately, there’s a whole heap of problems with the new content that threatens to utterly ruin your enjoyment.
The aforementioned scenario ending in your ship being destroyed is a frequent problem. The problem isn’t that your ship can be destroyed but that your ship can be destroyed so easily by ground forces. It hurts the illusion of the sim. More egregiously, mission rewards are poor, giving you a poultry amount of credits for highly dangerous missions. Moreover, missions are also a repetitive grinds, especially the alien biology sample collecting, which has you gather samples from organisms across a planet’s surface but with so many organisms providing poor sample data this mission takes forever.
Then there are the bugs. Collision detection is spotty, leading to enemies and players bouncing around on a planet surface. Some mission’s completion doesn’t trigger correctly, forcing you to abandon a mission in progress. Other times progress wasn’t saved correctly or server failures kicked you out of the game. Performance was also an issue, especially when multiple players are in the same area. There’s also an issue with repetitive locations, specifically interiors. You’ll travel hundreds of light years only to end up in a room that looks identical to the room you left, even down to the NPCs.
Frontier have made a public apology for the expansion’s state at release, and have shared their intention to resolve the issues and further enhance what’s on offer, and based on the rest of the Elite experience I’m inclined to believe that everything will be alright in the end. Right now what’s on offer is a teaser of what could be with ‘space=legs’ and all the experiences this opens up. The bugs need squashing, more variety is longed for, and rewards could be made more generous, and with a little luck we’ll see these in the near future. Until then, unless you’re absolutely desperate to experience ‘space-legs’, it might be worth holding off on the Odyssey upgrade.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey
- Huge potential
- The new perspective is wonderfully refreshing