With the launch of the “Odyssey” expansion, Elite Dangerous has taken on a new life as a next-generation space sim. It now feels truly unprecedented in scope, scale, and fidelity. Over the seven years since the game’s release Elite Dangerous has impressively continued to grow. The best part of it all is that “Odyssey” is just another step in the game’s ongoing evolution. It all comes together to make a space MMO that is a must-play for any fans of the genre. There is something to do for every type of player, whether they want just to build deadly ships, participate in dogfights, maximize a profitable trade route, team up with friends to explore the unknown galaxy, or whatever else.
The launch of this expansion was far from smooth; there's no denying that. It had its share of issues, with the most significant being the troublesome FPS drops and bugged game loops. However, I've been a dedicated player since the original release, and I've witnessed similar teething problems with the Horizons DLC, which has now earned its well-deserved praise over the years.
Odyssey, like its predecessor, has come a long way in terms of stability and performance. I'm currently running it on my RTX 2060 Super, and it's delivering a consistent and rock-solid 60 FPS. Some players still incorrectly label it as unoptimized, mainly because it performs slightly worse than the previous content. Yet, it's crucial to recognize that the on-foot gameplay introduced in Odyssey boasts significantly higher graphical fidelity. You can visually perceive the increase in polygons and objects within the scenes, especially when compared to bases from the Horizons era. This higher graphical demand is quite understandable. To put it in perspective, I could play the Horizons content with 1.5x super-sampling, but for Odyssey, I need to scale it down to 1.0x, which is perfectly manageable. I would only label it as unoptimized if it suffered from inconsistent performance, marked by sudden drops and stutters on any setting – a common problem in many modern games.
The second wave of criticism often targets the actual content itself. I won't reiterate all the design choices that have drawn the ire of the wider gaming community. While it certainly doesn't adhere to the usual game-design conventions, neither does the base game. In my view, Odyssey brings a substantial dose of that classic "Eliteness" from the base game and Horizons, which I deeply appreciate. Consequently, I find myself enjoying this DLC just as much as the original game, or I'd even go as far as saying I enjoy it more, thanks to its fresh and exciting nature.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is a fundamental shift in how this operates - literally. From space to the ground. Taking those first steps on a planet's surface after having landed there is simply awesome, and is decades in the making for fans of the Frontier franchise. The unfortunate reality however is that the performance is currently letting it down. Serious optimisation work is a necessity to iron out a multitude of issues - albeit it's probably not as bad as some are portraying in the immediate aftermath of release. While the new gameplay mechanics come with some variety for those bored of simple space combat, the shooting on the ground also needs a good deal of attention, with AI, and the general standard of combat, alongside the amount of different locations generated on planets, all in need of work. The thing is, this is a journey; a road map, and this is just the first staging post. Hopefully there's a lot more to come down the line.
While the base game attracted players with the vastness of space, this add-on narrows down the scale and has you complete missions on foot. Sadly, this pretty exciting idea was executed poorly. New tools (e.g. blowtorches and scanners), cool planetary facilities, and procedurally generated missions won’t prevent you from being swamp with repetitive tasks and samey visuals. Additionally, Odyssey is unstable and poorly optimized. [08/2021, p.67]
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is an ambitious addition to the Elite formula that doesn’t quite hit the highs it should. It instead serves as a preview of what the game may be like in 6 or 12 months from now, and is hard to recommend as it currently is. Personally? I’d wait and see how Frontier Developments improves the game. Let’s face it, there’s still plenty to explore in Horizons.
Odyssey is a terrible, unoptimized and buggy experience that has immense potential to become something great in the far future. Now, it is just a wreck with its basic combat, unplayable multiplayer and disappointing interface and mission design.
There are so many other issues that Elite Dangerous: Odyssey suffers from that it would be difficult to catalog all of them, but the primary problems are so widespread that it's already evidence enough that the content needs serious repair. Some have compared Odyssey to the infamous launch of No Man's Sky back in 2016, and it's an apt comparison, albeit one that might be a little too generous. Elite Dangerous didn't deliver upon the many promises that were made, but, whereas No Man's Sky was still a serviceable space exploration game, there is essentially nothing in Odyssey that makes up for its many problems. Elite Dangerous fans shouldn't spend their money on Odyssey until Frontier Developments has made some serious improvements.
Odyssey is currently a paid beta being sold as a finished product. It shows promise, but is utterly lacking in optimization and polish. Bugs and major technical issues mean that machines meeting the recommended specs can expect a choppy 30fps on low-mid settings. The mechanics and global changes are a mixed bag, including the wonky UI layout. A high-end rig may be able to brute force its way past some of the technical flaws, but questionable design choices and rough FPS systems aren't going away anytime soon. This could be a huge boon for Elite when its finished, but it just isn't there yet.
*// FDev pulled a Cyberpunk 2077 with Odyssey. Either wait for incoming updates, or stick with Horizons until after the fall console release. //
*Frontier has cancelled all further console development--yes, that includes the new 4K boxes--to focus upon the PC version. Probably smart from a business perspective, but from what I've seen of the admittedly improved state of Odyssey, you wouldn't be missing out on anything worth your time unless you're a hardcore Elite fan with an extremely powerful rig.
I can't believe someone gave this DLC a rating of 10. At the moment this is alpha. There are so many aspects to the game broken that I don't know where to start. However, the worst thing is optimization. FPS jumps from 120 to 1 (!). Hardware requirements from space. This DLC is cropped on a computer where CYBERPUNK 2077 ran super smoothly on ultra detail. In that state, you shouldn't spend games and charge money for them. It is even worse because the so far operating HORIZONS has become unstable. Ranks are gone, Fleet Carrier doesn't work and the game crashes all the time.
SummaryIn the 34th century, across the vast expanse of an epic, full-scale recreation of our Milky Way, interstellar rivalries flare as galactic superpowers fight proxy wars. Start with a small starship and a handful of credits, and do whatever it takes to earn the skill, knowledge, wealth and power to stand among the ranks of the iconic Elite.