ELEX - Review @ Cultured Vultures
Cultured Vultures reviewed ELEX:
ELEX (PS4) REVIEW – Up, Up and Away
ELEX is one of the most lovably rough games of this year and one that will probably do a lot for open-world RPG fans.
ELEX is, without a doubt, one of the strangest games I’ve ever played, and you kind of need to play it yourself to find out why – it’s an experience. Piranha Bytes’ nutty open-world RPG isn’t quite like anything out there, which is both a strength and a weakness.
The backdrop: Magalan has been ravaged by a crashing comet, which turned society upside down and left everyone in factions with ELEX at the core of all the hostility. It means different things for different people; some nearly idolise it, others want nothing to do with it. The Albs harness ELEX’s properties to give them added strength and abilities, the Berserkers abhor it and rely on magic instead, the Outlaws view it as a valuable, and the Clerics avoid it all costs while also praising their god, Calaan. If you’re still with me and not yet thinking that this sounds like a misguided cross between The 100 and Mad Max, strap yourself in – we’re going to go to some weird places.
Piranha Bytes have their own way of making games and I am taking nothing away from anyone who enjoys their output, but ELEX is clearly running on some outdated foundations. Its technical problems are plentiful, often dropping to sub-30fps on a vanilla PS4 and threatening to sputter out completely when there’s more than a few enemies on-screen. Movement feels like wading through a lake of custard; cumbersome and far too weighty, which extends to player interactions. Most characters, Jax included, are incapable of showing more emotion than the most basic of expressions. I know living in a post-apocalyptic world is grim, but everyone is so gormless that it’s sometimes hard to care about their plights.
And yet, despite so much going against it, I absolutely could not stop playing ELEX. It’s weirdly compelling in a way that I struggle to define. I don’t know whether it’s the fascinating mish-mash of styles that caught my eye, the scope of what the game tries to do, or just how lovably janky almost every inch of it is, but I struggled to pull myself away from it.
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One