ELEX PS4 Review
Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers here to share my thoughts on the PS4 version of ELEX by Piranha Bytes and THQNordic.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the game from THQNordic through Keymailer for review/video purposes. Like all of my reviews, this had no effect on my thoughts and experiences with the game.
ELEX is a sci-fantasy RPG that takes place in a world named Magalon. The game is also a post-apocalyptic themed game that takes place after a large meteor filled with an element known as ELEX crashed into the planet destroying nearly all humans. Magalon is split into 4 factions, the Berzerkers, the Clerics, the Outlaws and the Albs.
The Berzerkers are a faction that values nature and loathes technology. Their goal is to re-forest Magalon to save it from the ELEX taint that’s been destroying the world around them. Their capital is called Edan and is a forested place with wood huts. They’re ruled by 3 powerful warlords and have strict rules outlawing thievery and technology. Breaking one of these rules results in either exile or death. The Berzerker’s weapons of choice are swords, shields and magic. They use ELEX and turn it into mana which allows them to cast magic.
The Clerics are a technologically advanced faction that worships a god named Calaan. This faction acts as a military police state and the consumption of ELEX is strictly forbidden. It is, however, used to power their weapons, vehicles and other forms of advanced technology. Their weapons of choice are guns and heavy weapons but their guns are much more advanced than the outlaws’ guns.
The Outlaws are a brutal faction that relies on a survival of the fittest rule set. They have no formal leader and anyone can take control of their city of Tavar as long as they’re strong enough to defeat the current ruler. The Outlaws’ weapons of choice are small blade weapons and small firearms. They rely on stealth and brutality to come out the victor.
Finally, the Albs are the most evil of the factions and simply want to subjugate and/or destroy the entire world in order to free it. They’re a fanatical faction that currently obeys a group known as The Elexetors. The Albs utilize technologically advanced armor and weapons and are the only faction that actively consumes ELEX to bolster their abilities. Doing so removes any emotions from them so they’re more like robots than people. Stopping the use of ELEX causes many mental issues and dealing with them is difficult for those that are trying to escape their Alb past.
There are also a few splinter groups including the free city of Adessa and the Separatists. Adessa is controlled by the Clerics whom merely keep the peace. It’s a community that’s built up of people who want nothing to do with the major factions and want to live in peace. The Separatists are a group of former Albs who have left their faction due to conflicts of interests between their leader and the Elexetors.
The story follows a former Alb named Jax who had been listed a traitor to the Alb faction and was sentenced to death by a former friend of his. After being shot and left for dead, Jax winds up surviving and is ultimately thrown into the war between the factions. Your objective is to join one of the 3 factions (Berzerker, Outlaw and Cleric) and take the fight to the Albs while gaining new allies along the way.
The world is filled with side quests for you to complete as well and many you’ll need to discover by talking to everyone you meet. There are also companion quests that you can complete to gain loyalty with your crew members. You can only bring one companion with you at a time, though.
There are a few things about ELEX that I feel could definitely have been improved.
The first is the mini-map, it’s just a black circle with tiny colored icons on it, and it helps no one. It would have been so much easier to navigate the world if you could see buildings or landmarks on it but nope, it’s just a black circle. Easily one of the worst mini-maps that I’ve ever seen in a game.
The second is progression. It’s often very difficult to get anywhere in this game because you’ll often get stuck in a loop of not being able to do much of anything. Most enemies are much stronger than you are and if you don’t have decent equipment you won’t do any damage to them. But here’s where the problem kicks in. You need to level up and allocate attributes to be able to use good equipment but you can’t level up if you can’t defeat the quest enemies to complete quests to help you level up. What makes this loop so frustrating is the fact that the requirements on weapons are so high. You need a specific amount of an attribute in order to equip it. The downside is that putting all your attributes into one or two abilities doesn’t really help you because skills require a specific set of attributes as well so you often have to choose between a decent weapon or a skill. This frustrated me quite a bit because it felt like I was getting nowhere.
The third thing I felt could have been improved upon was the combat system. Combat feels incredibly clunky and unresponsive in this game. Which is very similar to Piranha Bytes’ previous series, Risen. The combat system is heavily dependent on stamina but your stamina levels are only ever high enough to deal a couple of attacks before you run out. Blocking attacks also drains stamina and if you run out while blocking you’ll take the full brunt of damage. Your attacks are also slow and often unwieldy, often making it difficult to actually hit anything if they dodge.
We’re reaching my word limit for reviews so I’ll stop the review here for now.
Overall, ELEX has some interesting lore and a pretty cool world but it’s ultimately let down by poor design choices, annoying progression and unwieldy combat. It’s not a great game in truth and I can’t recommend it in its current state.
Thanks for taking the time to read the review folks and I’ll be back with my next one soon, until then, happy gaming folks!
Shaun Meyers Out!
Features of Interest
- Looks Quite Good
- Interesting Lore and World
- Annoying Progression System
- Useless Mini-Map
- Uninteresting Characters
- Unwieldy and Clunky Combat System
- Literally The Entire World Was Filled With White People/No Diversity in Characters