If you’re aching for a little space dogfighting this weekend, then you’re in luck. Starting today until 10AM PST on Monday, July 11th, the competitive close-quarters-combat multiplayer experience, Elite Dangerous: Arena, is free to download on both Steam and the official Frontier Developments Store. What’s unique about this offer is that it’s not temporary access to the standalone dogfighting mode – it’s permanent access. As long as you download it before the date and time above, it’s yours to keep permanently.
While you may look at the Steam page for the game and see the flood of negative reviews and feel discouraged, let me clarify. Most of the negative reviews are in regards to the fact that this mode required an account with the base game – which was a bit of a hurdle to handle. It also hasn’t always been free, plus many people have moved on to the full game so it was hard to find matches online. This mode, commonly referred to as the game’s CQC mode, isn’t as popular traditionally, but the influx of new players this promotion creates should more than alleviate that problem.
This is a pretty big deal. Elite Dangerous: Arena offers an experience that’s extremely similar to that of EVE: Valkyrie, which is still only available on Oculus Home for Oculus Rift. On the other hand, Elite Dangerous: Arena and its big brother, the full Elite: Dangerous, both have native HTC Vive and Oculus Rift support through Steam. You’re getting AAA-quality content for zero dollars with cross-headset multiplayer. EVE: Valkyrie is coming to the Vive at some point this year and will include motion controls as well.
Since this is an abbreviated mode though, it’s not exactly endless. Here’s the rundown of what to expect from Elite Dangerous: Arena –
- Four different ships to choose from with varying play styles,
- Ranks and custom loadouts to unlock over time,
- Four different maps to play on,
- Three game modes: 8-player Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag,
In our review of the full Elite: Dangerous game, we lauded it for its intense immersion and simulation-style gameplay. While no one has ever piloted a futuristic ship in space while hauling cargo and fighting off raiders, we’d imagine that it would feel awfully similar to Elite: Dangerous. On that note, the controls and overall gameplay are a bit more intense and difficult to get the hang of than the primarily gamepad-driven EVE: Valkyrie.
If you’re up for learning the ropes and diving in, you’ll be in store for a hell of an intense fight. It’s free, so you should definitely hop on this while you have the chance.