Content of the article: "Elex: What would happen if you smacked together a knight with a radioactive mutant."
A few weeks ago while browsing steam this random game from piranha bytes popped up in my recommendations just out of the blue, steam suggested: We think you might like this since you have played skyrim and fallout New Vegas.
I said alright let's read the description: A game in a post apocalyptic world where everyone is a drug addict and there's magic, trolls and jetpacks. Cool, sounds like a weird concept, right? But it works amazingly well.
In Elex you're a soldier that has been betrayed by his faction (not a spoiler really since it's the very opening scene of the game), from the get go you might get discouraged because the game lacks any kind of customization, you're forced to always play as this baldie guy that runs around aimlessly trying to figure out what he wants to do with his new found freedom.
You may also encounter that everything can kill you in 3 hits if you're not dodging enough, sometimes the mobs will chain the most brutal combos on your character staggering you to death before you can even lift your eyebrow and think about your next move, luckily the monsters in this game move quite slowly and you can outrun most of them, and believe me you will have to run A LOT, even though the game begins with you being a total weakling and having no resources at your disposal and just a few shards to your name (the currency used in the game's world) it works surprisingly well for the concept of the game and after in 20 hours and a whole lot of grinding it picks up the pace and you're going to be running around feeling like the most badass exile in the world slaughtering mutants and bandits, being the hero of whoever you choose to be the hero of and being the villain against the rest.
The game is composed of 4 factions and 1 evil faction, while beginning the game you can go to wherever you'd like and speak with the npcs around the towns to begin picking up quests and start your adventure. >! There are 4 factions, the berserkers, a bunch of country people that use magic to fight and are trying to revive the world using "mana" extracted from Elex, a mineral brought to the planet by a meteorite that destroyed the previous civilization and infected all the earth, Elex is slowly spreading throughout the world infecting everything, the berserkers find out that they can turn Elex into mana and using something they call "world hearts" they can extract the Elex from the ground and greenery starts growing around the areas where they plant these again, they use weapons such as swords, bows and magic!<
The clerics, the clerics are a bunch of religious fanatics and the most powerful out of the 4 factions you can join, they follow the teaching of the prophet "Arvid" a guy who basically saved books and knowledge in general from the old world and gave that to his people which they still use to their advantage to this day, they have the safest cities and the best weapons out of the other factions, though they can get a bit annoying with their fanaticism.
The outlaws, these are just bandits basically, their society is ruled by profit, they do have a leader but he doesnt stand out too much, the outlaws have a quest where you can help a guy make a bomb with which they'll blow up one of the cleric cities.
The separatists, these are exiled soldiers from the protagonist's old faction, they still believe in the fiction's goals but they want to take down the people in charge, though to join the separatists you have to have joined one of the other factions first and you got to have good equipment, otherwise the leader will reject you until you've acquired enough power.
The albs, they're the evil guys, they consume Elex to increase their power and they're decided to eliminate all the "free people" and to have all the elex in the world for themselves.
In terms of length the game can last you quite a while, depending on how you play it can take you either 120 hours to finish 1 playthrough or it can take you less than 50 hours, the game adapts to your playstyle in this regard.
Dialogue is one of the strong points of piranha bytes games as far as I've heard and this is something that the game does extremely well in my opinion, the characters you can speak with have lots and lots of speech options and depending on how you answer the conversations may take a turn and change the story.
One of the things that I like most about the game is that your decisions will actually change the world around you, for example there is a quest where you are carrying around a regulator for the shield of a city, a guy then offers you a quest where if you give him the regulator to tamper with it so he can escape if shit goes south in exchange for a bit of money, you can tell him no or you can accept the deal, if you accept the deal and let him tamper the regulator that city can be attacked any of the following days by the albs and if you return to that place you can talk with the survivors and realize that the decision you made caused them to be attacked and lose control of the city.
Of course as with any of these games there are a bunch of issues, doing a quick run through the most notable from my perspective it would be:
- The npc models are very limited and more often than not you will see a bunch of random NPCs with the same face in every town which can break immersion a little bit unless you think of them all as twins or something.
- The lack of customization
- Some quests repeat themselves a lot, especially the ones where you have to kill stuff, kill these 3 roaming things and come back so I can let you in.
- The terrain is very uneven and you will get stuck very often, even though you have a jetpack to fly over obstacles trying to walk or run outside of the roads is extremely frustrating
- The game starts very slow and can discourage a lot of players from continuing till the end, it takes a while to get to a point where you'll see any tangible progress
- The game came out in 2017 and there a bugs and exploits that were found on the first year and havent been fixed to this date
The pros would be for me.
- The dialogue choices and how your decisions can actually affect the game world and the story
- The freedom, from the very beginning of the game you can go wherever you want whenever you want
- The combat is not brilliant but it's interesting enough to have to dodge and manage your stamina, which can be frustrating for a lot of people
- The freedom in exploring the world, as I said before you can go wherever whenever and you have a jetpack to explore hard to reach areas
- Different playstyles, would you prefer to fight with swords, bows, guns, rocket launchers or magic you can, whatever you prefer you can take that path
- The story has a bit of depth and at least I have listened carefully to the conversations with the different NPCs, besides you can skip dialogue if you feel like it
- You can either choose to progress naturally through hunting and doing quests or you can skip much of the grind by focusing on farming and consuming Elex potions which give you stat boosts
- Even if you stat boost to the skies with Elex potions you still have to organically proceed through the faction quests before you can get any significant armor upgrade because you cant craft armors or anything you have to be a certain rank within a faction to be able to buy more powerful armor and weapons
- The NPCs can die depending on your choices or to random patrols wandering around the map
In general it has been a very rich experience for me, I had never heard of piranha bytes games but researching a little bit I read that they make some decent RPGs, I have yet to finish my first playthrough but these are my thoughts on the game so far.
Edit: formatting in mobile is hard.
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