Elite: Dangerous Horizons is the first major expansion to Elite: Dangerous and it’s shaping up to basically consume my entire life, even more so once I get my hands on a VR headset. I’ve got a limited time in the game so far and focused my time purely on entering the planet atmosphere, landing, and trying the buggy out.

I don’t have a lot of experience yet, with only about a day’s access, but I do want to talk about how awesome this small bite of the game is and, more importantly, how it was great even though my character had a Cobra and about 50k credits, versus on the live servers, where I have about 20 million in net worth.

Planetary Landings

This is actually pretty neat and is very seamless. Like, crazy seamless, like, wtf levels of seamless. Even ramming at full cruise speed into the planet results in some very, very, satisfying gameplay. This is how you do a landing. You enter into supercruise, find the planet you want to visit, slow down and then enter the atmosphere. From here, you continue going down until you reach the cruise barrier, at which point you’ll glide at super speeds for a bit more until you enter atmosphere thruster style flight. From here you can land on the surface, land at a starport, or just fly around. You can do whatever you so desire, realistically.

It’s all seamless too. You can leave the planet or land as if they’re all one big world. I didn’t get any loading screens or long pauses. It was great. The entire landing mechanics are super easy too. Raise your landing gear, align your ship, then touch down ANYWHERE on the planet that your ship can fit. If your ship fits, it sits, so to speak.

Planetary Exploration

Oh boy this is where the fun really comes in at and I haven’t consumed enough of it yet, because riding around the planet in a buggy is so fun, that it’s kind of dumb really. It’s like, you land your ship, release the buggy, and you can drive around anywhere doing whatever you want. There isn’t specifically a lot of a point to it, outside of carrying out missions and whatever else is available.

The Scarab is a lot of fun to just drive. It has a turret mode, where you can drive and fire the lasers from a turret position (360 degrees of fun) or fire them from more of a regular driving simulator type ordeal. I’m not sure what its point is in the game as of right now and it seems that it’s basically the first of a much bigger picture, but what is there is cool and with VR will likely be far cooler.

Finally, just flying around on planets is awesome.

More on the Seamless Gameplay

I can’t talk about it enough, it’s really something to just fly towards a planet, enter into sort of an entry angle while slowing down, fall out of super cruise, glide towards a station, then make a landing at an outpost. It’s a really cool new mechanic and, considering the stations on the ground are similar in most aspects to the ones in space, you don’t have to force yourself through the process each time (and the docking computer does indeed work).

To describe the experience, it’s really awesome, and I can’t wait to play more.

I’ll be rambling about Horizons as I explore it more, but for now, big thumbs up.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Elite: Dangerous Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2016

About The Author

Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.