I am a long term fan of David Braben’s Elite series. The concept of making your way in the galaxy is a fascinating one for an old school Trekkie and the general mechanics of Elite (almost) perfectly captures that fantasy.
That said, this entry in the series is automatically going to draw comparisons with the recent No Man’s Sky due to very similar concepts, and I personally found that to be a better game. Strangely my complaint with Elite Dangerous mirrors what I loved about No Man’s Sky.
Where the former game focuses on exploration and always being on the move and discovering something new, Elite is more concerned with trading. Indeed the space stations in Elite are satisfyingly deep. However on focusing on trade I found myself taking very long runs around in circles in a relatively small corner of the Galaxy.
Elite Dangerous is impressively detailed and huge in it’s canvas, but the trading and factions serve to constrain and blunt the edge on discovery that No Man’s Sky offers.
It’s almost too realistic for it’s own good. With no landing on planets and long multi-system hops between trading posts I found my self doing little more than spending 30 minutes to an hour at a time just coming out of warp, aligning for the next jump, and pressing the warp button, over and over.
I’ve never liked combat or mining in Elite, these are area’s No Man’s Sky excel at in my opinion. In all Elite games I find my self opting for space trader route. However the shear scale of the game fights against this. I almost long for the smaller universes of previous games.