I haven't used a flight stick in years, but there's something incredibly soothing about running my fingers over the firm grip of my new Thrustmaster and jumping headfirst into the Elite: Dangerous beta. There are more button inputs than actual buttons on the Hotas X (and it's not exactly short on those), but Elite is a fiddly game that takes a bit of setting up when you first jump in.
Miy first foray into the vast expanses of space took an abrupt turn for the worst when I confused a Federation police ship for the pirate target I was hunting down, and was promptly blown out of the inky black sky, at which point I thought I'd better take on a few of the combat scenario missions to chip away the years of rust, and get up to speed with the nuances of hurling a Sidewinder around the place.
BEHOLD! A little a look at dogfighting in Elite: Dangerous, and some incredibly noobish flying by yours truly. Unfortunately, this got recorded before you all sent your fiendish words in, so there's been no opportunity to fit any of them into the commentary yet, but when we venture out into the beta properly in the next video, I'll see how many I can fit in.
A few quick thoughts on presentation and handling, just from these little tutorial missions...
1. Hot damn this game is beautiful. I especially love the little shield ripples when someone takes a hit. Very satisfying.
2. Thruster feedback is awesome, and mastering the lateral thrusters along with pitch, roll, and yaw is key.
3. I've got to upgrade my Sidewinder as quickly as possible because those swivel guns are rad (Damn you Jon for bringing rad back!)
4. The bobblehead is a great touch.
5. The music is subtle and fantastic. It sort of creeps up on you, I only really reflected how great it was at enhancing the experience when I stopped. It's worked into the experience brilliantly.
6. In fact all of the sound design is lovely (more on that later).
7. Switching power back to weapons after your shield's gone down and you've had to divert all resources to getting them back online is an awesome feeling.
There'll be another look at the proper game very soon along with some more extensive thoughts on the beta. I've started doing a spot of space trucking since making this video, and it's sort of looking like everything I ever wanted from a modern Elite. There's much more to come in terms of content, but what's there right now feels extensive. The first thing you see when you jump in -- that rotating leviathan of a space station -- is brilliant, its glowing slit of a dock gently challenging you. Just getting inside feels like a little achievement in its own right at first.
But I'm jumping ahead. There'll be plenty of time for me to gush about that side of things early next week.