Elex 2 Review – IGN

It’s been a while since we took a peek into the inventive sci-fi world of Magellan and its stock bald video game protagonist Jax in 2017, and while the landscape has changed, a lot has remained the same. To be honest, I would like it to change more because the remnants of the original Eleks this is a big part of what makes the Elex 2 a disappointment. Unimpressive and sometimes confusing character descriptions undermine an interesting main quest script, graphical glitches sabotage the often beautiful post-apocalyptic world, and downright gruesome combat ruins everything else.

To be clear, I can’t think of anything positive to say about the combat, and it’s therefore very hard to recommend the Elex 2 despite everything else it does right. It seems clumsy, inaccurate, and annoying. Hitboxes are funny. Many enemies repeat these icy, downright stupid attack animations where it’s almost impossible to tell when it’s actually dangerous to stand next to them. Jax, who has already saved the world once by this point, can still be killed in two hits by some random prankster on the side of the road. This time around, they at least provide useful skull icons on each enemy’s health bar to let you know when you’re fighting something that’s not currently in your league, so I’ve fair warning that any stray rodent who just killed me must be certified. 

Combat in Elex 2 isn’t bad because it’s too hard – take it from whoever currently loves the ancient ring. It’s just badly designed. A poorly balanced stamina system makes it difficult to smoothly transition between attacking, defending, and maneuvering, even after you improve stamina regeneration much later. It creates an almost step-by-step feel, and not in a good way. I attack, then step back and watch the bad guy swing heavily in the air, then I run in again and attack again. If you stand still, you usually get killed, as even the main enemies are full of hit points, and it takes Jax dozens of levels to feel tougher than a wet piece of paper. Like the original Elex, the lack of ammo and mana potions makes it very difficult to switch to a pure ranged build, although being able to craft your own ammo helps a bit. On top of that, there are too few effective options when teamed up in the melee.

Shields are almost useless until much later, and some of the early ones only let you get three straight hits instead of two. I often had to farm money for potions to get through tough encounters, which was a chore. One thing that has been improved over its predecessor’s combat system is that you don’t have many encounters in which you’ll get a 360x view of the firing squad off-screen thus, you’ll be forced to kite troops for ages melee around the cliff to break them. Line of sight. So that’s good.

What we said about ELEX

 

At best, ELEX will be on sale a year or two after being heavily patched to fix its rampant bugs and infuriating balance issues. It’s got enough good ideas to one day be talked about as one of those hidden RPG gems that people play and wonder why it didn’t do well at launch. But the frothy mixture of joy and disappointment that ELEX represents today leans too much towards the latter. I wish you all the best, but I don’t think I’ll take him on a second date.” — Leana Hafer, October 19, 2017

Score: 4.9

Read the full ELEX review.

The reason this is particularly disappointing is that I’ve seen other studios make such hardcore European-style RPGs that have improved a lot in recent years without losing what makes this sub-genre unique. The Witcher 2, for all its nostalgia, also had a terrible combat system, but CD Projekt Red fixed it with grace and fluidity for The Witcher 3. The Technomancer from Spiders also had a terrible fight. But his next game, GreedFall, was a huge step in the right direction, narrowing hitboxes and attack windows, fixing enemy customization, and providing more interesting defense options. We live in a world of “Post-Eurojank” RPGs, and yet it seems that Elex developer, Piranha Bytes, is the only studio in this wheelhouse that hasn’t caught up with it so far.

Don’t get me wrong: there are things worth keeping in that RPG era. But many of the ideas Elex 2 seems determined to stick with aren’t among them. Why do I need to animate my character bending down to pick up every item in the world that can be obtained? Why does every quest have to involve sending out a quest that will inevitably entail another quest being completed by a third party as if they’re just playing for time? Why should I convince the overseer to raise the wages of my workers, run across the city to tell them about this increase, and then run back to tell the overseer that the workers are happy? There are so many little bits of archaic design clinging to everything that it feels like something stuck in your sock if you’ve played any other modern RPG recently.

 

What?

While it’s by far the biggest, combat isn’t the only issue here. A decent chunk of dialogue ranges from good to good, but some characters often sound like they were written by aliens. They will say and do things that make no sense. They’ll spit out witticisms that make me cringe so hard my face hurts. “Hey! Can I go?” says a frightened prisoner in a recording I found in ruins. “Oh, yes, of course,” his captor replies. “You can go… Go get up your ass, you moron!” I spit out my coffee all over the screen, and I didn’t feel like it had to be so bad as to be funny. At the very least, the script can be quite interesting at times, in the vein of a hacky B-movie.

And then there are mind-blowing logical gaps, such as the fact that you can’t get to the main berserker settlement without completing a few minor errands, even if you’re accompanied by Kaha, a high-ranking berserker warlord, and mother of your child. . If you ask her why she can’t just vouch for you, she’ll say something about avoiding rumors – a line of dialogue I’m pretty sure was taken from a completely different conversation. It’s like the idea of ​​taking her along as a companion was added later in the development process, and they didn’t want to let you skip any pointless quests, so they had to come up with an explanation.

Some characters often sound like they were written by aliens. It gets even worse. At some point, I raided an underground base full of enemy spies who were working against the faction I was trying to join. I decided to kill them all, that you are allowed. It was cool. But for some reason, someone declared it as a crime, although it took place two floors underground without witnesses and blessings – no, encouragement! – authorities. It’s funny, but I had to pay a fine to the same guy who paid me the bounty for destroying them. This kind of thing happens regularly.

eye of the beholder

Magellan does look good when there are no weird crashes and distracting pop-ups that seem to get worse if I Alt-Tab a lot on the PC. It’s roughly the same setting as the original Elex, but a lot has changed in an interesting and dynamic way. Alex’s “Berserker” ending has become canon, and so the central desert is now blooming with new life thanks to post-apocalyptic medieval role-playing druids and their wizarding world seeds. Much of the Mad Max-style Outcast faction has been absorbed into the Berserkers, creating new styles of architecture and fashion that mix skins and amber necklaces with scrap metal and old car tires. If you haven’t played the original, some of these changes may be lost to you, but Elex 2 does a decent job of speeding up the game most of the time.

I really liked all this clever construction of the world. It was interesting to know what many of the characters, such as the femme fatale Outcast, Nasty, or the incredulous Albs, the bad guys from the first Elex, have been up to since I last saw them. And the new factions, especially the death-worshiping Mormons, have their own interesting ideas and aesthetics. The new threat, the Skylands aliens, also come with unique and downright cool designs for their soldiers and war beasts, as well as a few unexpected secrets. I just want to enjoy the gameplay enough that I can appreciate it without getting annoyed all the time.

The big, shiny, new toy that you can play Elex 2 with is the upgradable jetpack. And I admit that going from the modest utility that was in the first Elex to something you can eventually improve on and use to fly like Iron Man is fun and rewarding. It just doesn’t make up for the fact that other progression systems involve an obnoxious combat system that gets a little more bearable the more skill points you put into it, but it never crosses the line and gets fun. Exploring this world can be wonderful, right up to the point where you have to fight someone or talk to someone.

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