Ive spent a week playing through Elex and hey... its a Scifi game so it gets a review.
On the net you will find alot of mixed critics about the game at this point I can already tell that everything said is to a good degree valid.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
Elex is a RPG developed by Piranha Bytes which is known for the good old Gothic games and Risen. So the expectations are VERY high.
And Elex can deliver if you are open for something new, something that isnt mainstream.
The story told short:
The planet Magalan is populated by a human civilization similar to hours. Their level of technology and culture can be compared to Earth today. They drive cars, have industry, live in a modern world with Radio, TV and all the fancy stuff we have.
But then all of a side a giant meteor hits Magalan and whipes out almost eh entire population.
The few that survived the impact now face a new harsh world.
Factions form and conflicts break out until these factions agree to a fragile peace that lasts about one century.
With the meteor a new substance came to the planet. A crystaline called Elex which was spread all over the planet in the process of the impact.
The Elex is able to "consume" energy from its environment. Places with high Elex concentrations turn cold while the energy is stored inside the Elex.
Elex also causes mutations, that cause people and animals to evolve into zombi-like creatures. But those which have strong mental powers can withstand this mutation. The Elex makes such people stronger, allows them to cast magic but at the costs of their emotions. These people turn into almost machine like super efficient humans called Albs. They control the northern icy regions of Magalan.
In the volanoic region in the east the Clerics can be found. A human faction that worship their god Calan and heavily rely on the use of modern technology.
They use the Elex to power their machines, robots, shields and energy weapons.
A highly advanced society of religious fanatics that discovery the art of mind manipulation.
The Clerics are few in numbers and the vulcanoic region where they live does not offer many resources so they mostly rely on their technology to survive.
The South West of Magalan is dominated by the Berserkers.
In the eyes of the Berserkers every use of technology is a crime. Those that violate their rules get exiled.
They live in relative primitive ways but that does not mean that they are primitve at all. Their laws are binding and they follow a moralic ideas.
While they prefer to use swords, axes and bows they dont have a disadvantage in combat because they have discovery how to turn Elex into Mana.
Mana allows the Berserkers to use magic but unlike Elex the Mana does not cause negative effects. Unlike the Albs, the Berserkers remain human and still are able to experience emotions.
They even use their Mana to heal the world by growing world hearts. That are giant plants which restore the vegatation on Magalan around them.
The last faction lives in the South East, a desert region of Magalan.
They are the Outlaws. They know no rules, they know no laws. They take what they want.
For the Outlaws on the strength of the indiviual is important. They live in a harsh Mad Max environment between he rotten remains of the old world.
Their weapons and armor is base on what they can find.
Shotguns, grenades, chainsaw swords.
These four factions are so different that it makes the game so interesting.
A medieval phantasy world meets a high-tech environment. Swords vs. Laser rifles. Magic vs. Technology.
It of course is risky to mix all that together but in Elex that really worked out pretty well.
Every faction has its unique design, its strengths and its ways to survive in this post-apocalyptic world.
The world of Elex is hand crafted and behind every tree you can find something interesting. The quests are very well done and the story makes you want even more of it.
Your decisions in the game have influence on the story so you can play it in many different ways with many different outcomes.
But Elex does not only have positive stuff to offer.
The balance is a nightmare.
When you start the game you are clearly at the wrong end of the food chain.
Everything is trying to kill you and you have little to none abilities to counter such threats.
During half or 2/3 of the game you are in danger of being instantly killed by the creatures (even in the starting region).
You can gain skillpoints and assign them to your skills but that has only very little effect on your combat skills since many abilities have no or very little effect.
The skills mainly are there to unlock weapons and armor for you.
You can use weapons only if your strength is high enough and getting to that point takes alot of time.
Most weapons and armor have such insane high requirements that you only manage to unlock them at the end of the game.
Until then you have your basic rubbish equipment.
Its not that you cant find good weapons or armor in the game... there is lots of it... but you simply can not use it until you are high-level.
And that is combined with a very imprecise movement and combat system.
Fights are not easy if you cant really react correctly to the enemy attacks. And you only do good amounts of damage if you do combo attacks which isnt easy at the start of the game. And on top of that is an endurance system in combat where you can no longer attack when your endurance bar is low. That bar btw. gets lower with every attack you make and with every hit you take. The only way to fill it up is to move away from the fight and avoid getting hit, which isnt that easy because almost all enemies have close combat weapons and also a ranged attack. So if you get on distance to them they will simply shoot you.
Combat can be frustrating in this game.
Ive mentioned the factions earlier.
They also can be frustrating because in order to make progress in the main story you have to join one of the three main factions (Berserkers, Clerics and Outlaws).
But none of these factions get any sympathy points. They are all sick assholes.
Outlaws murder for no reason.
Clerics are religious fanatics.
And the Berserkers exile or kill everyone who does not follow their silly laws.
There is no faction in this game where you would say "oh this are cool ppl". The game only consists of assholes.
Choosing a faction isnt that easy because of that.
Btw. the Albs are a faction you can not join because they are more or less the enemy.
Oh, and ehmm you are Jax "the Beast of Xarcor", an ex Alb commander that was meant to be executed by the own people.
Of course you survived that execution but you have lost your Alb powers and your equipment. Now you are facing the other 3 factions that dont like you that much because you killed thousands of their people in the past and your own Alb friends also want you dead.
Pretty much everything in this game wants you dead (including your companions that you meet later, but i wont spoil it here).
Elex is a great game with a few flaws.
If you manage no to give up during the first hours of gameplay you get rewarded with a great game, a great story and many surprises.
It is not easy to find a RPG that is so full of content and careful crafted story.
In my eyes the game does many things right, a few things wrong and alot in a way that never was done this way before.
Elex 2 is definitely a game that I want to play (the end of Elex reveils some very interesting shit about what Elex is and where it came from).