Elite Dangerous: Odyssey DLC – Review
Follow Genre: Space sim, First Person Shooter
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey DLC – Review

Site Score
4.0
Good: Good base to improve on
Bad: A complete mess
User Score
5.0
(2 votes)
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Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Back in 2015, Frontier Developments released their Space Sim Sandbox Elite Dangerous to the world, setting out to give its players the ability to write their own story as captains of a spaceship. Now, 6 years later, a new expansion for the game known as Odyssey has been released, promising enticing on-foot experiences, FPS combat, and even more system depth. Sadly, the expansion fails to deliver on virtually everything it sets out to do, and here’s why.

Story

Based on the premise of players building their own story, Elite Dangerous lacks any semblance of a personal narrative in the base game, with no changes to this in the DLC. The only setup players will get is the tutorial mission, which will explain they’re an upcoming commander looking for odd jobs and random missions.

That said, the game does feature ever-changing lore, affected by the community’s actions and thus, by the player’s actions as well. This lore can be found by checking the Galnet News system, which will keep players updated with current events.

Graphics

The game’s graphics are generally quite good, boasting high-quality 3D assets which especially shine in the detailed interiors. That said, what the game does lack in this department is any amount of variety, with most spaceports, settlements, and even planets being completely interchangeable.

Adding onto this, another related issue comes in the blandness of the planets themselves, these being the focus of the DLC. Other than the structures marked on the map, none of the planets feature anything worth seeing unless required for a particular mission. More specifically, planets usually consist of vast expanses of terrain with sub-par monochromatic textures.

It is also worth mentioning the game is rife with visual bugs and general performance issues. These mainly come in the shape of textures not loading but these can also be worse from time to time, such as nothing but broken text and darkness appearing.

Sound

The sound design added by the Odyssey DLC to the base game is nothing to write home about, mostly consisting of a handful of SFX for the moments the players may step out of their ship. Referring to the soundtrack, it generally does a decent enough job at providing some background sound without aspiring to much more. The game also features pretty good voice acting for all NPCs, although the same voices are reutilized several times. The latter may be expected of a game of this size, however. The lip-sync tends to not match most of the time sadly.

Gameplay

Elite Dangerous belongs to the Space Exploration Sim genre, with some MMO tidbits thrown in here and there. The core gameplay loops centers around the player piloting their spaceship from port to port, carrying out a variety of missions ranging from combat to simply carrying items from point A to point B.

What the Odyssey DLC primarily adds to the base game is the ability to leave the ship and carry out on-foot missions and adventures. The missions players may carry out on-foot are generally the same as those in the main game, with the gameplay shifting instead to a standard FPS. That said, a pair of specific types of missions do change from the base game, these being repair and analyze missions, which require specialized tools to repair settlements or scan the flora of a planet.

The specialized tools required for these missions come with two of the four different types of suits a player may wear. These types include the Flight, Maverick, Artemis and Dominator suits, each providing their own unique benefits aside from the Flight one, this being the basic suit. First, the Maverick suit is oriented towards scavenging, carrying an Arc Cutter to access emergency panels and cut through metal paneling, as well as having more carrying capacity. Secondly comes the Artemis suit, geared towards exploration and including the Genetic Sampler, a tool used to obtain genetic material from different species of alien flora which can later be sold. Lastly, the Dominator suit is oriented towards combat, generally excelling at raw stats and equipment capacity in contrast with the other suits, being able to carry several grenades or even weapons at once.

Sadly, the game does run into an issue by separating which tools each suit carries, forcing players to travel back to a Space Port or Settlement in order to exchange them in the case they might require a different one for a mission. The two other tools suits include, the Energylink and Profile Analyzer, are generic to all of them, the first allowing to transfer energy from and to the player’s suit and the latter being used to analyze and steal identities.

As already mentioned, players will need to return to a Space Port or settlement in order to swap their suits at a terminal. Other services Space Ports offer include the ability to purchase consumables, trade parts, upgrade suits and even obtain new ships. To upgrade their equipment, players will be required to obtain materials from a list, which may be randomly found throughout missions and will often take a good while to find.

Mechanically, the Odyssey DLC doesn’t offer much besides the functionalities of the previously explained tools. The FPS gameplay is painfully standard and at the same time too convoluted for it to be enticing. When fighting an enemy, their health and the player’s will be divided into two parts, a rechargeable shield and the health itself. In order to deal optimal damage to each of these parts, different types of weapons will need to be used; lasers dealing more damage to shields and less to health, bullets being the opposite. What this entails for a player is that they will be required to constantly switch from one weapon to another, which is more of an annoyance than anything else. To circumvent this issue, players may also just ignore the issue directly by utilizing explosive or plasma weapons, which deal neutral damage to both parts of the health. To add to this, the balancing around certain weapons seems questionable, seeing as the plasma rifle is capable of two-shotting most, if not, all enemies.

Besides this, it is important to note the FPS gameplay only matters for certain missions where players may encounter raiders or in such cases where they might decide to partake in a faction war. These faction wars don’t change much, simply consisting of battles revolving around capturing different points while killing as many enemies as possible, which is funnily enough one of the easiest and fastest ways to earn a decent amount of money earlier on.

Yet another questionable decision in the DLC comes in how space travel is handled for players who may not own a ship, forcing them to rely on space taxis for transport. In order to book a space taxi, players will be required to go to the Apex Interstellar menu and request a ship to their destination. Once the ship has been booked and the player has boarded it from the dock, what follows is an agonizing wait with no interaction as it travels in real-time to the destination. While short flights from one planet to another in the same system are generally bearable, taking just a few minutes, anything other than this soon becomes a draining slogfest, where the game might as well be left running in the background while something offering actual content is played. While the general sameyness of the missions is tolerable, the travel times for what would otherwise be a five-minute thing make them near unbearable.

As previously noted during the graphics section, the DLC includes a slew of bugs, ranging from mildly annoying ones to directly game-breaking ones. One of such bugs encountered while playing the game for this review occurred in the Inter Astra in the ship shop. During several sessions the clerk did not spawn, completely preventing the player from obtaining their own ship and getting rid of the need for the woeful space taxis.

Conclusion

Odyssey has the groundwork to possibly be a great expansion to the game, although at the current moment it is no more than an incomplete mess filled up with bugs and sub-par gameplay. With the current absurdly high selling price of €34,99/£20.99/$39.99, the DLC is by no means recommendable to new or veteran players of the game. Even if you’re a fan of the base game, we suggest keeping an eye on bug fixes and updates before you delve into this one.

Personal Opinion

“As dumb as it may sound, I wanted to enjoy Odyssey as Elite Dangerous has been on my to-play list for a very long time and this review opportunity finally gave me the reason to play the game. Sadly, what I found while playing was a clusterfuck of awfully designed and confusing UI, completely awful keymaps and dime-a-dozen FPS gameplay. While I may not be the biggest FPS fan, I do enjoy the occasional game and I have to say playing through Odyssey made me miss something like Call of Duty because of how piss poor the experience felt. Playing the faction war was so mind-numbingly easy I’d just jump in front of a group of enemies and start killing them with my rifle, while hiding behind cover, and mind you, this was probably the most fun I had with the game thanks to the 30 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay it’d provide, free from space taxis. Funnily enough, the way I found about the Inter Astra bug came after wondering for ages how the hell I was supposed to get a ship, assuming I was simply doing something wrong, I decided to ask on the Elite Dangerous forums, only to find out the game was broken for me. This lack of information was also a common occurrence, seeing as I also had to figure out by myself how to obtain new suits, upgrade them and that materials would come in completely randomly since the game could only bother with the initial on-foot gameplay tutorial. That said, it is true there is a Codex with information included, but even then it provided lackluster support, which wasn’t helped by the fact that opening any menu would take a few seconds of input lag every single time due to the generally poor performance of the game when it came to the interface.”

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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey DLC - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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