Thoughts on ELEX

As I mentioned in my last rambling post, I started up the game ELEX recently. The first time I had heard of the game I saw it on Steam, and not knowing much about it I passed on it. Plus, I rarely buy games for full price because sometimes you get burnt. Later, I saw it again but this time it was on the Playstation store, and given the game’s 3rd person view and action oriented combat, I felt like it was probably better suited for console play. It was on sale this time around as well so I picked it up. I’ve had it for a while but finally got around to firing it up the other day.

The game is made by the company Piranha Bites, creators of the Gothic series. I remember seeing those games around in the past but never played one of them. I remember hearing some good things but looking back at meta scores it seems that it was a middling open world RPG in a market where devs like Bioware and Bethesda remained king. This is the company’s newest offering, but instead of being traditional high fantasy it has a fair mix of fantasy and sci-fi. The general premise is that the earth was chugging along (probably a modern day timeframe) when a giant comet collided with the surface and wiped out a large chunk of humanity. The comet held something called ELEX, which is a material that various people in the game have a different relationship with. New factions arose. The Berserkers forsake technology and have developed the use of magic with ELEX. The Clerics don’t use magic but have psychic abilities and use ELEX to fuel technology. Finally, the Outlaws have modern day tech and use ELEX to make “chems” which they use to boost various abilities. Each sounds unique and interesting, but from the get-go you’re pretty much just running around with no armor and shitty melee weapons.

The game is open world and seamless, so you’ll get the pokes and prods to go do this or go do that but you can ignore it all and head in any direction you like. Joining factions seems a bit tricky, as I decided I wanted to join the Outlaws (they’re the only faction that can craft, and I imagine ammo and things become an issue). I headed to the desert where they stay, found a bunch of quests to do for them and then promptly failed multiple. It seems that the general advice for the game is to do the companion quests and try to find better gear prior to even trying to join a faction, so I’m at a point where I might start over, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far.

You’ll meet a variety of interesting characters and so far the missions are standard RPG stuff. There isn’t anything too difficult here. Getting used to the terminology and figuring out which way to develop your character is probably the most challenging bit, aside from finding new gear. As you being the game you run into a Berserker almost immediately, and he takes you to their base, so perhaps that is the best way to get new gear but it doesn’t sound like you can swap allegiances on the fly like you could in games like Fallout. At this point I think I’ll try to get as much gear upgrades as possible and a companion quickly so that I will be able to survive a bit better and perhaps still go with the Outlaws. Probably should have done some research before I started but cest la vie.

The map is rather large and there is little in the way of fast travel. There are no mounts or express paths to various areas. The only thing I’ve found is little teleport beacons here and there, and I assume they are the only places you can fast travel too. Being able to wander and explore is great, but if you have to run from one end of the map to the other that would get old rather fast. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the skill points there, as I said I’ll be starting over.

For the most part I think it’s a promising title. My only real complaint is that there isn’t much in the way of gear or explanation in the beginning, but at the same time I don’t really want my hand held. Also, having a pre-set character is so 1995… I want to customize my character and not be stuck with a shitty generic name like Jax. The combat is a little wonky too but I’m sure that just takes getting used to.

That’s all for now. I’ll report back when I’ve made some more progress.