#247 Frontier: Elite II

Posted: 21st February 2020 by Jeroen in Games
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847th played so far

Genre: Strategy/Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: David Braben
Publisher: Gametek

For what it’s worth, Elite‘s promise and capabilities were somewhat diminished by its age and the lack of accessibility for a very complex game. You can’t blame it for being difficult to get into, but it’s hard to see how to keep it playable at this point.

Nine years on, I do expect a game that’s better at this – maybe not having resolved all the kinks, but being a bit closer in helping you through the game. At the same time, we’re still talking about 1993 – not an era where I expect it to be flawless or accessible. Just seeing these changes here, though, will be interesting – even away from whatever is added compared to the first game.

Our Thoughts

Frontier: Elite 2 feels as open ended and complex as the first game – possibly more so in a way that makes sense to fans, but I couldn’t get deep enough to find the extra complexities. That’s fine though, flying around, trading and ferrying passengers is fun enough. I still can’t really do combat, but I admit that’s down to me.

What really helps are the many quality of life improvements that were made. While the interface still isn’t as intuitive as you would expect it now, it’s already better, but the game improves a lot of other things as well. The game has added an autopilot, which includes automatic landing and docking, which greatly simplifies the difficult parts. It’s easier to point and say where to go, which we didn’t have before. It feels like a lot more elements of the game are more visible, so we get a game that’s easier and more fun to play.

Final Thoughts

Frontier: Elite 2 looks and plays better than the original and is a lot more fun to play around with. Elite Dangerous, the most recent incarnation, seems to have that same draw, but even here the open nature of the game, inviting you to do what you want, is still infectious. The game doesn’t always quite play along with you, but it’s closer than before, and that works.