Elite: Dangerous 2022 Review - Is It Good or Bad?

A Cobra shows the local pirate faction who's in charge!

Elite: Dangerous consists of a massive community, located across the internet through both the official Frontier Development Forums, and the r/EliteDangerous subreddit. This review will comprehensively take into account player’s views across the fanbase, and summarise their thoughts into one jam-packed review.

About Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is a holistic space flight simulator combined with an RPG akin to No Man’s Sky and Star Citizen. Frontier Developments released the game in late 2014, as a much-requested sequel to the classic Elite series, dating back to 1984. Starting as a cult fanbase supporting the game through a Kickstarter campaign, Elite: Dangerous maintains a healthy community of approximately 500,000 monthly active players. After five years of development, the game had sold over 2.1 million copies by the end of 2016.

The Elite: Dangerous Story

Recap of Elite: Dangerous's story across 2021

Elite: Dangerous’s story is a complicated matter. While there is no official story for the player to experience, Frontier establishes the in-game universe through a series of news articles published through Galaxy Net, the game’s news bulletin system. The current story arc details the Azimuth Saga, culminating in a mysterious figure named Salvation, and their war against the alien species within Elite: Dangerous, the infamous thargoids. Players can contribute towards the Azimuth Saga, with the achievement of community goals influencing the story’s development.
The galnet display, which serves as your news hub for all of the happenings in the Milky Way! Source: u/DeltaGolfVG on r/EliteDangerous

Other than the in-game Galnet, Elite lacks a meaningful story to serve to the player. Instead, Elite relies on players engaging in the roleplay aspect of the game, leading to the creation of backstories and careers for your character. Inara.cz is a fantastic place to explore stories and sagas created by other players, and may inspire you to create a background behind your own commander. Will your commander be a ground soldier turned bounty hunter? Will they be a child of Imperial Royalty, who left their family to explore the milky way? The story of your Elite: Dangerous experience is entirely dependent on the player.

Elite: Dangerous Gameplay

Depending on whether you’ve installed the recent DLC, Elite: Dangerous Odyssey, you will have one of two introductions to the world of Elite. You will either play through a spoken tutorial on how to fly your very first ship, the trusty Sidewinder produced by manufacturer Falcon DeLacy, or you will have a boots-on-the-ground combat tutorial if Elite’s game launcher detects the Odyssey DLC. Afterwards, the game will guide you through your first few missions, but will allow you to progress at your own pace with complete freedom.
The world of Elite: Dangerous is truly overwhelming. Elite allows for true exploration, with explorers getting lost in the black of the galaxy for months. The entire milky way galaxy has been rendered in game, and you are able to visit every single star that you can see on the map. Each star hosts a system, usually full of gas giants, asteroid belts, and landable planets. Each planet is generated randomly, ensuring no two systems are the same. However, while no two planets are the same, they can often be a plain planet of sand with craters. Therefore, it’s important not to expect to see stunning vistas with each planet you visit. Most of the systems you encounter will consist of RICE - rock and ice planets.
In the base game of Elite: Dangerous, players can explore landable planets with your SRV, a moon buggy that drops from the bottom of your ship. If the player has Odyssey installed, planets undergo a revamp, leading to the atmospheres colouring the skies with blues, greens, and reds. Odyssey allows the player to walk around each planet on their own two feet, scanning samples of alien life in order to earn credits. Unfortunately, this alien life mostly consists of funky looking plants, one fan favourite being the brain tree. That’s right, it’s a tree with brain-like structures as foliage.
Elite allows for the creation of player avatars through Holo-Me, a system that creates a representation of your commander. The character creator involves a massive amount of customisation, and allows the player to fine-tune aspects of their commander’s faces to be perfect to the player’s vision. Admittedly, I haven’t been able to nail the appearance of my commander. But I have seen it done!
It’s also important to consider what kind of commander you want your player character to be, influencing your first few ship purchases. Suppose you wish to be an explorer, travelling to the centre of the galaxy to witness Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole. In that case, you may want to save up for the Diamondback Explorer. The Diamondback boasts an impressive jump range, allowing you to hop between stars across the galaxy in shorter times than a combat-oriented ship, such as the Vulture.
If you wish to be a trader or a miner, the retro-inspired Adder can be a beginner level freighter for novice traders. If you aren’t sure of your career path, the Cobra MkIII is a forgivable multipurpose ship, which allows for trading, mining, exploration, and the first steps into Elite’s spaceship combat.

Elite: Dangerous Combat

Elite: Dangerous is the pinnacle of ship-based combat. There is no limit to how powerful a player can be; there is no skill cap for how well a player can fly. A complex flight model involving Newtonian physics creates the unique freedom of flying without atmospheres, with the dramatic backdrop of burning suns, asteroid belts, gas giants, and more. Combat is a sustainable method of earning money within the world of Elite, and allows the player to become even more efficient at bounty hunting and piracy as their career progresses.
Ships and their load-outs are a crucial part of becoming an efficient hunter, from starting with the Cobra MkIII, to moving to use the mid-range Fer-De-Lance, to buying the world-destroying Federal Corvette. All ships have strengths and weaknesses, with the Fer-De-Lance easily outmanoeuvring the Corvette, despite the Corvette possessing an ungodly amount of weaponry.

A Fer-De-Lance and an Eagle defend a station from attacking Imperial mega-ships. Source: @EliteDangerous on Twitter

Ships can possess a large amount of weaponry, ranging from rapid firing multi-cannons, to slow but powerful missiles. There are three types of damage; thermal, kinetic, and explosive. Thermal damage is emitted mainly by plasma cannons and lasers, which quickly strips targets’ shields. Kinetic damage chips away at the hull of a ship, leading to the ship exploding at 0% hull points. Explosive damage leads to the malfunctioning of weaponry and other modules, such as a ship’s power plant. If a power plant is damaged sufficiently, the ship will explode, regardless of remaining hull points.
There are two fields of combat - PvE and PvP. PvE combat typically consists of bounty hunting against NPC pirates, leading to hauls of up to 30 million credits at the peak of your hunting career. PvP combat involves fighting other players in real-time in an open server, and requires a large amount of skill to defend against the tactics of a ship piloted by another player. You can work alongside your friends and squadron, allowing for larger teams of ships to partake in advanced bounty hunting and conflict zones. Anti-xeno combat also exists, pitting players against the Thargoids. To hold your own against the Thargoids, you must possess guardian-level weaponry, an ancient race who were rivals to the Thargoids. Getting this gear requires a good amount of grinding, so strap in if you want to blow some freaky alien flower ships out of the sky.
You can also give yourself a combat advantage through  engineering, which improves most modules in the game in terms of defence, DPS, reliability, and general efficiency.

Elite: Dangerous Engineering

Engineering is a hot topic within the Elite community. On the one hand, it allows for extreme customisation of every ship, allowing for even the heaviest combat ship to be turned into a light exploration ship to explore the galaxy. On the other, it requires a massive amount of grinding for materials that take many hours to acquire. Engineering requires specific materials to be provided to ship engineers, which are spent as you make your way through the grades of engineering your module.
Modules are highly customisable, and popular engineering blueprints involve making your frame shift drive (which allows you to hop between stars) more powerful, allowing for a more extended jump range, reducing travel times across the galaxy. Engineers such as Todd ‘The Blaster’ McQuinn can upgrade weaponsto be double-braced, increasing their integrity against explosive attacks.
However, you will need hundreds of materials to engineer a large ship such as the Federal Corvette fully. You can gain materials through organic material, but most players resort to farming hotspots, which is often reported to be a boring and tedious process. Frontier developments have signalled an interest in revamping the engineering system to be less reliant on grinding, but the system remains the same as the time of writing.

Elite: Dangerous Replayability

Elite: Dangerous doesn’t possess an ending to the game. Because of this, debating replayability makes for a difficult discussion. However, there are millions of planets to explore, as well as an infinite combination of ships and modules to try. There are several career paths such as mining, trading, exploration, piloting a cruise ship, combat, smuggling, and piracy. 
These aspects mean that the right player can play Elite for thousands of hours, and always experience something new and unique. Elite: Dangerous proves for an extended and engaging player experience, meaning a player can easily sink years into perfecting their commander and their fleet. Through this, the game never really ends. 

Elite: Dangerous Mission System

Players can receive missions through mission boards within space stations. These mission boards display a massive variety of activities, such as transporting goods, taking part in conflict zones, and dismantling a pirate organisation. You will be guided through your missions via your navigation panel on the left side of your cockpit, and you will be rewarded in credits, influence, reputation, expensive cargo, or rare materials. It is often best to attempt to stack missions of the same type, resulting in millions of credits if performed correctly.
In the Odyssey DLC, shady NPCs residing in futuristic bars propose missions to you, such as looting a component, or eliminating a gang from a planetside settlement. These bars have a great sense of atmosphere, but we wish that NPCs weren’t so hostile when you approach them looking for missions. Sometimes it feels like they’ve insulted your entire bloodline.

Elite: Dangerous Graphics

A number of faster-than-light mambas soar past a ringed earth-like world. On the dark side of the planet, players can see the city lights of the human population. Source: Official Elite Dangerous forum post

Elite: Dangerous Developer

The community’s feelings towards Frontier Developments tend to be mixed. On the one hand, Frontier regularly asks for feedback regarding the game, and will prioritise community feedback when it comes to fixing reported issues. Customer service tends to be good, with Frontier fixing any bugs within the game regarding players not receiving the money they should have been owed from completing missions, or reimbursing insurance fees in the case of a ship being destroyed by unintended behaviour. Patches and fixes are frequent, with more significant updates now happening on a monthly basis. Update 9 occurred in December 2021, meaning update 10 will be expected at some point in January 2022, with even more new features.
The base game of Elite: Dangerous has very few bugs, and tends to function as intended for most of the player experience. It can run on most computers, and has relatively low machine requirements. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Odyssey DLC. Odyssey suffered a rough launch, with certain promises not being fulfilled by Frontier Developments. Framerate issues were rife, and crashes were frequent. Luckily, the developers fixed most of these issues updates 7, 8 and 9. Odyssey still suffers from bugs and glitches, and is generally less stable than the base game. It is expected that these issues will be fixed in the following few updates.

Elite: Dangerous Price

Elite: Dangerous is currently available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. As of the time of writing, the base edition of Elite: Dangerous costs £19.99 on Steam, but regularly goes on sale to prices as low as £4.99 on all platforms. Elite: Dangerous Odyssey has a base price of £29.99, but is only available on PC until further notice.
All in-game purchases are purely cosmetic, and allow for the changing of your ship’s paint jobs and livery. A fan favourite is the addition of fairy lights that twinkle in your ship’s cockpit, making your ship feel a little bit more unique and personal. Players can purchase these cosmetics through ARX, Elite’s premium currency. Generally, ARX rates are pretty cheap, with over 50,000 ARX costing just £24.99. This package allows for deep customisation of your ships, especially when combined with seasonal sales on premium cosmetics.


  • Complete freedom 
  • Amazing flight model 
  • Provides stunning scenery 
  • Engaging combat
  • Endless planets to explore


  • Material grinding is not respective of your time 
  • Odyssey is buggy
  • Can be boring due to lack of story
  • Planet generation can be dull and unimpressive


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Kathy Miller is an aspiring robotic wildlife photographer in Horizon: Zero Dawn. She is also a reluctantly good spaceship pilot in the world of Elite: Dangerous, too.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Top 3 Favorite Games:Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Elite: Dangerous, Borderlands 2

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