The Epic Games Store has been giving away some seriously great PC games for a couple of years now. The latest is Elite Dangerous, one of the best games ever made about flying a spaceship around and doing stuff. It’s available for free until Thursday, November 26th.
Elite Dangerous is the latest in a series of space simulation games that go all the way back to 1984, when the procedurally generated universe of Elite was first made with wire-frame 3D graphics. The latest game, launched in 2014, has an incredibly fleshed-out world full of traders and pirates as well as a subtle threat of alien menace.
This is much more of a simulation game than an action game: If you’re expecting the non-stop battles of Rogue Squadron, you’ll be disappointed. Elite Dangerous is more about the precise, procedural exploration of the galaxy, getting all the bits just right as you ferry cargo and investigate mysteries—oh, and occasionally, blow up enemy ships. It has a lot in common with No Man’s Sky, though it’s much more realistic—if you can say that about a simulation of something that doesn’t exist.
Elite Dangerous is a free download in anticipation of its next expansion, Odyssey, which will add on-foot planet exploration and massive fleet carriers for multiplayer sessions. While it’s playable with a standard PC plus a mouse and keyboard or a controller, the best way to play is with a stick-and-throttle and a VR headset. You can claim the base version of Elite Dangerous on the web or in the Windows version of the Epic Games Store.