Review: Elex 2

Posted on March 1, 2022 by Rectify Gaming

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  • 7/10
    Total Score - 7/10


Come for the jetpack, and stay for flawed but truly free form classic style of RPG Elex 2 represents.

Developer – Piranha Bytes

Publisher – THQ Nordic

Platforms – PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, PC

Review copy given by publisher

Elex 2 is the latest game from developer Piranha Bytes. They developed the many classic rpg’s out of Eastern Europe such as Gothic and the original Elex.

Knowing their short but stellar history is important in many ways. Elex 2 is the culmination of all of their previous games, ideas, and concepts combined into one flawed but completely unique title.

On the surface many people would classify Elex 2 as an action RPG. It’s so much more than that once you dig a bit deeper under the surface. It’s one part action, one part narrative adventure game and one part open free form adventure.

Everything from the games visual style, the expressions on people’s faces and even the music help sell the stark, dreary misery of this future. People are exhausted, shell shocked, and whatever is left is being ravaged by a dangerous creatures and warring factions.

Right in the midst of all of this chaos are the elements of the Elex. Elex is a rare resource brought to the planet after a deadly meteor hit.

Elex 2 delves deep into classic 90’s rpg’s. With callbacks to the more grounded version of sci fi, even down to how many choices you have at any available moment. Choice like this is a reminder of other classic rpg’s like Morrowind.

In terms of abilities, Jax can be customized in a large number of ways. This game features an extensive upgrade system with multiple skills, passive abilities, and every single skill has a tree that also has its own branching pathway that effects how you use said abilities.

It’s a lot of fun, and basically provides just enough tools to play out your sci fi fantasy. Jax is a set character, with a set look, but the type of player you will be and the way you will manifest your abilities is up for you to determine.

It’s a fantastic upgrade system. The dialogue options and the attention paid to the lore makes Elex 2 one of the best narrative player choice adventure games in a long time.

As an action game proper, Elex 2 is merely o.k. It’s a standard third person action game that thankfully doesn’t imitate any of the Batman or Dark Souls series in regard to combat. It has all of the variety you would expect in most action games as of late. It checks all the boxes. A huge list of skills, multiple weapons all with their own styles of attack and advanced combat mechanics with parries and a stamina system to manage.

It’s all completely functional, it just plays clunky. It doesn’t have the precision required to quite pull off stylish combat the way your skills should allow. Between enemy AI sometimes forgetting about you mid fight, or the camera getting a bit awkward in close quarters it often feels like action games from 6 years ago. Even at its best, it feels dated.

The games biggest issue was a bug where often times dialogue would break completely. Talking to characters would lead to them both standing there acting out the dialogue sequence, but not hearing or seeing the subtitles for any of the words said between them. Because hearing the voice-over or reading what they say matters so much, it would require me to quit out of the game completely and reload to get back in to fix it. This bug happened more often than it should, and I hope it gets patched soon because it detracts from this games best feature.

Think of the traditional RPG. In so many of them you visit and explore massive cities with tons of characters everywhere. Most of them are just there to fill in the world, and add nothing to the game outside of window dressing.

In Elex 2 that entire mindset is flipped on its head. Every single NPC has a name, a back-story and a social circle they belong too. They have things they like, hate, and are never as simple as you want or need them to be. The sheer attention to detail in each and every character is only surpassed by the excellent writing and voice work. Every person, from the main character to a random guy down an alley just sitting around a fire is brought to life by an absolutely top notch performance across the board.

The reason this matter so much is because the core gameplay is tied to every single person you meet during your adventure.

Graphics and sound are merely okay, animation is a big step-up from the original game in every aspect.

The Xbox Series X version featured many bugs, while the Pc version was a much more pleasant experience.

Every person you meet can become your next victim. The more people you feed on, allows you to level up and gain access to much better skills ans passive abilities. This is why the efforts into making every single character come to life matters so much.

It’s easily the one thing about Elex 2 that pushes it so far above most other games.

Elex 2 feels like the next step in narrative driven adventure games and also a reminder of how great rpg’s are when you actually role play.

Come for the jetpack, and stay for excellent characters, the miserable, sci fi dystopia they have created, and the freedom of choice offered within.

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