What is Elex? An action RPG set in a futuristic post apocalyptic world where the player has to survive, adapt, form alliances and explore. You are on a quest to exact your vengeance against those who have betrayed you and others. For the most part everything here sounds pretty good, and for some gamers out there it really is. Most of my time during my Elex review was considering where the game works for some but not for others.
As such I can really see this being a polarising title, you will love or hate this. Fortunately, I really enjoyed the title. Piranha Bytes have created a real cult hit here (hence the MGL award!) and it’s one I will be coming back to.
Can you survive? Can you conquer the harsh world you find yourself in, will you ever find all the parts to make that new weapon? Can you enjoy what is good about Elex over what it a little rough around the edges? Have a look at my thoughts below and find out if this one is for you, also I’d like to know your thoughts on open-world RPG games…
Review Side Quest
What is your favourite style of open world RPG game, Dark Souls like or all out classic action or more traditional turn-based systems?
Get in the Disqus or Facebook Comments at the end of the review. And please share this so other gamers can get involved, and enjoy the review.
How does Elex play?
Elex is a mix of Dark Souls combat, elder scrolls exploration and fallout post apocalypse survival. I make these comparisons because you will be scouting the land a lot. You will see futuristic elements, magic, monsters and… ruins, but more on those later.
Back to the gameplay. Stamina, stats, and weapons training (which can be bought from NPC’s) all feed into how long you survive. I use the term survive and the Dark Souls comparison intentionally.
There are many things in Elex’s world of Magalan, that want you to die. And most of them will get you good and dead without much hesitation. To say the world is violent, and hostile, is an understatement.
Unlike Dark souls however, discretion is a good tactic, avoiding conflict as much as possible is a good tactic early on. Since monsters tend to have a lower level variation that you can deal with for XP you can grow your abilities nicely.
Once in control of your character’s development you can’t really push further into the world. This is one game where the more you play, the better it gets.
Presentation and Graphics
The world you inhabit is nice, if lacking just a little sheen. But there are a solid variety of areas and dangers. There are both some nice touches and ideas to everything, but there are also a number of rough edges. None that would wouldn’t expect in a game like this from a smaller team however.
I touched on the ruins in my lead in, and herein is the only, sort-of-spoiler about the game, although you learn this very early in your playthough.
Magalan is a world like our own, ruins are of highways, old cars, houses, post-apocalyptic goodness. And this juxtaposition with the magic, monsters and sci-fi elements give Elex a distinct identity.
However character models are another indication of that lack of polish, with faces poorly animated, and many character models being copy pasted. Whilst I understand this, it is strikingly out of place for a game with so many ideas.
The open world features a number of different RPG elements to really make this feel like a rich A-RPG experience. There are your sci-fi guns, jet packs mixed with more traditional bows, swords and magic. Levelling up involves progressing up different perk trees and includes purchasable perks.
As you get involved with other character you have dialogue choices to make in the usual way. All these have direct ramifications on the story. One that sees three factions, each with clear variations of rules and attitudes for you to balance between.
And then there’s the villains. Whilst I won’t get too into the plot, mostly as it is again affected by the choices you make, you will be best served to avoid them. Also things like mutants and beasts all want you for dinner as you go about your adventure.
Things in Elex are hostile and you will be dead if you don’t upgrade yourself.
Survival of the most trustworthy
Survival will depend on water, plants, meat, trading, and weapons. Your skills also determine what you can and can’t use. Elex will have you scavenging, cooking raw meat, collecting Elexit and herbs in no time. There is so much you need to scavenge for in this world, it’s very much a survival RPG for the most part. That will either really work for you… or it really won’t.
What I really enjoy about the main core of the game is that your actions and selections matter. The choices you make matter, choose not to help that one guy, he might be important later in the game. Get into a situation and choose not to pay the bribe, you may end up with an axe to the face.
There is also the matter of trust in the game. It feels difficult at first as you have to work hard to build trust with a faction. You do this by taking on quests to earn your place, doing so will see the rewards come your way however.
Getting around the open world itself is plenty of fun though. Particularly the use of the jet pack you have, which will get you out of many sticky situations. Combat comes at your pretty frequently too, which will require you to chain attacks, hit big moves and dodge or end up dead.
The challenge is the best element to this game. It’s not easy and it’s often a better to avoid something too strong than think you can beat it anyway. You need to take your time in Elex, level up and take on what you can beat. Going up against bigger, tougher beasts will see you die again and again.
Fans of A-RPGs who love a good open world have a lot to do here. The scavenging and Souls style approach to combat and difficulty will be a love or hate thing. But there is plenty here for those who would enjoy that style of game.
Should I play this?
I like Elex, a lot, sure it needs just a little more polish in its presentation. It’s one of those games that is rough in places and then it’s over to the individual gamer. If you like the scavenging, tough combat and working hard to get stronger and better, those issues won’t bother you so much. Not a fan of that style of A-RPG? You will simply not get this game.
Gamers who should…
Dark Souls fans, Elder scrolls fans, Fallout fans, absolutely give this game a go. In fact, if you have an itch for something challenging and a little different, get your teeth into this monster of a game. Personally speaking, I can see myself playing hundreds of hours in this game.
Gamers who probably shouldn’t…
You need to enjoy open world RPGs of course, if you’ve not liked them before I can’t see it changing your mind. The cosmetic issues with the game may put you off, especially if you don’t engage with the gameplay as well as I did. If you do love getting involved in this world however, those blemishes won’t matter.
It’s very much a love/hate title.
This game has a bit of the Dark souls about it, with a splash of Fallout, Elder scrolls, and some sci-fi elements.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|The Story||Facial design and animation||Jerky movement at times|
|Gameplay||A lack of polish to the graphics|
About This Elex Review
Game Reviewed: Elex Digital Edition, provided by publisher
Review Format:Xbox One
PEGI Rating: 16