The Odyssey expansion for space sim Elite Dangerous has been in alpha for five weeks, and we've had mixed feelings. I questioned (opens in new tab) whether adding humans to the game was a good idea, and Nat had a rough time (opens in new tab). But that's what an alpha is for—to see what works and what doesn't. And when the expansion is finally released to everyone on May 19 this year, you can expect (well, hopefully) a much more polished and refined experience.
Oddysey is one of Elite's biggest expansions. Its headline feature is being able to leave your ship and explore planets on foot. You can also land your ship on planets with thin atmospheres, wander around inside starports and bases, take space taxis between locations, and equip a bunch of new gear—including suits and weapons designed for first-person combat.
Despite her issues with the alpha, which ran from March 29 to May 5, Nat did enjoy being able to leave her ship for the first time. "Stepping out of your ship is phenomenal. It was neat when I touched down in a throwaway vessel picked up in the alpha, but there was an even more powerful sensation to landing a craft I've been piloting for months—a ship that's seen me through hundreds of bounty hunts, near-death experiences, shattered canopies and actual-death experiences—and seeing the brute from a human perspective."
I've been playing Elite Dangerous since 2014, and this feels like one of the biggest leaps for the game in terms of scope and things to do. I'll definitely be climbing back into my Asp Explorer when Odyssey is released on May 19 and searching for a planet to make first footfall on.