Developer: Frontier Developments
Platform(s): PC (Steam)
Gene(s): Action, Adventure, Massively Multiplayer, Strategy
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is an FPS and spaceship combat game that is the latest extension of Elite Dangerous. The game is set in a futuristic galaxy where the protagonist flies between galaxies to undertake missions. The galaxy seems infinite. The scale of planets and galaxies to visit is huge. I haven’t played Elite Dangerous in a long time but I was looking forward to seeing what it had to offer and I will delve through the multiple game types and the action feast that is Elite Dangerous: Odyssey.
To start, I mainly played the FPS mission-based game, where you travel the galaxies where you attempt to gain influence and power up your character. It has that classic action RPG style gameplay mixed with a huge emphasis on the action elements. I loved the FPS elements, it’s very action-focused and you have to choose how you negotiate each mission. The FPS is mixed with interstellar travel. Different planets have different temperatures and gravity which mean each level is unique. There is a mix of stealth elements, shooter, all-out mayhem and lots of little clever gameplay mechanics such as specialist tools. I did find the gameplay a bit repetitive without a story to bind your missions together, the game consists of what would be considered side missions. If you like the mechanics of going from planet to planet and upgrading your player then this may be up your street.
The control system does require a keyboard and mouse just with the sheer amount of menus and options available, the controller just won’t be suitable. The regular FPS controls make it easy for anyone to get acclimated with the game. There is an array of menus and side menus that can be a bit clunky, to begin with, it did require a couple of hours to get used to them. The FPS elements are pretty standard and the spaceship does require a bit of time to be proficient. Extensive controls and menus are needed to track missions, spaceships, planets and goals.
Maps, space and levels are all rendered well, this will vary on the GPU that you have but even on my mid-tier GPU, it was awesome to look at it. The frame rate at 1080p was consistent for me and I didn’t encounter any graphical issues. The game isn’t fully an open world. Each area you visit is enclosed and limits where you can roam. The mix of martian, moon and space environments provide a backdrop for the levels. Each level/area has its unique buildings such as factories, outposts, laboratories, refineries etc. It does give a sense of a series of planets that are inhabited, a living world where you drop into different places to complete missions. The whole space theme, ships, environments and outposts are done well. The gameplay reminds me of Mass Effect without the central story to pin it all together, it’s the game I think that comes closest to what Elite Dangerous: Odyssey plays like except a first-person view. Just like Mass Effect, the game is mission-based as opposed to wandering amongst the planets.
There is also a space combat mode that allows you to pit yourself against other online players. It allows for deathmatch and team deathmatch modes. I found this tons of fun and I thought it was cool but I found matchmaking poor and a lack of full games an issue. Though there could be huge scope for an improvement in terms of matchmaking which detract from the game.
Overall, the game is interesting, I love the mix of FPS action-based space action mixed with spaceship combat. I like the use of tools and levelling up your character as you see fit. There is a huge world to explore and tons of missions to boot. The single-player game has elements of massively multiplayer online games too where other commanders are visible in lobbies and stations. The spaceship and deathmatch combat is awesome but I found matchmaking poor and very rarely played with more than 3 people.
The game does suffer from a host of bugs and issues which made the first person game extremely frustrating. The point score of 5/10 is pretty much down to bugs and issues. I encountered multiple mission-ending bugs where I had to do a game reset. I found the most frustrating thing is that I was getting into a rhythm and then some sort of bizarre issue stopping your gameplay. These bugs need to be addressed to get the whole experience. With bugs and issues fixed, I could see the game as being very enjoyable but I was left frustrated most of the time. I was hoping the game wouldn’t crash or just end abruptly. I found the lack of story in the FPS made the game lacklustre and the missions became quite repetitive quickly and with bugs hugely frustrating.