This Sneak Peek at Elite: Dangerous’ Space Combat Gives Me Goosebumps

The Grandaddy of all space sims has a spring in his step, a twinkle in his eye and fistful of missiles as the alpha test of Elite: Dangerous' combat engine gets underway.

Elite: Dangerous has just launched into the Alpha stage, testing the space combat of the upcoming re-imagining of the space sim that launched a genre, and released a teaser video to mark the occasion.

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Ordinarily, I’d attempt to deliver some impartial and studied coverage with a sensible title, but this one pressed my buttons and made me go all Kotaku. Because it’s the stuff of my childhood dreams.

This was exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye when I played Elite as a child. My imagination coloured in the ships and gave substance to the universe. This was the experience that I’d hoped for from the playgrounds of the eighties.

Good job Frontier Developments. I hope the lucky alpha testers have as much fun as it looks.

The Elite Facebook page published this message earlier today:

Phase one of the Elite: Dangerous alpha is now live! Alpha backers can now download and play Phase One – Single Player Combat.

Once installed you will be able to take to the cockpit of your Sidewinder , with varying weapon loadouts and progress through 8 single player scenarios – initially designed to familiarize players with the controls, gradually increasing in difficulty and complexity.

In your first taster of Elite: Dangerous you will be testing aspects of ship control and combat.

If you are an existing backer then you will have been sent details explaining how you can access and download this first phase of the Alpha process using your previous login details from the Backer’s Web App- if you are a gift recipient then using the ‘forgotten password’ option will send you instructions to get access to your new account.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported us to this point. We hope all of you involved with the alpha stage onwards enjoy the ride, and that together we can make Elite Dangerous the game we have all been waiting for!

Carry on Commanders!

I’m still grinning from my umpteenth watch of this 51 second glimpse of the first-person cockpit-based combat which looks completely faithful to the classic Elite‘s fast-paced spinning and weaving dogfighting and none of that Frontier floaty physics-based nonsense.

Watching the pursuit of an evasive Sidewinder and the strafing of a beautifully detailed Cobra Mk. III gave me goosebumps.

Is that wrong?

A highly manoeuvrable Sidewinder, trailing fumes, evades destruction.

A more heavily armoured Cobra Mk. III gets a warning shot across the stern. 

How long can you hold your breath? A pitched battle featuring multiple ships sees the player ship leaking oxygen.

Elite: Dangerous is due for release in March 2014.


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Author
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.