ELEX, by THQ Nordic, is an open world RPG game that drops you in the middle of the Lord of the Rings, meets Terminator, meets Halo. The game takes place in a world where factions rule. The game begins with you, a higher up in one of the factions being cast out in a coup. Injured, and without your gear, you must make allies, pick a side, and begin to rebuild your arsenal of weapons to get revenge on those that tried to kill you. While I have not put enough time into the game to give a final review. It does warrant a first impressions piece.
First impressions of this game are… lacking to say the least. Though there is enough buzz that I am willing to power through and give it a chance. There are some issues with combat that are blaring, like the lock-on system. Every once in awhile, I will become locked onto something and could not unlock until the enemy died. Many times it turned out to be something I was unable to kill. Another issue came up when I was fighting something and a new target would jump into combat, and my target auto-switched, moving my camera around so that I could no longer see what I was previously fighting.
This leads me to the next issue, which is a feature that is lacking in other games: freedom. Too many games hold your hand through the world these days, whereas ELEX drops you in the middle of the game with some quests. This leads into the issue of running into things that you are unable to damage. I learned fast about what things I could and could not kill and how to run away.
While I am glad it does not hold your hand, it annoys me as well. I have about 20 quests, but I have no way to tell which level the quests are for, so it leads to trial and error to find something that I am able to do. Along these same lines, I’ve only found the most basic weapons, and could not seem to find a way to upgrade, other than grind out quests for levels, leaving with basic weapons for a longer time than I would have liked.
However, it is not all bad. After several hours of playing, you get into the meat of the game, pick a faction, gain better weapons and skills, and this is where the game starts to flesh out. The amount of ways to customize the skills of your character is extremely nice.
Elex’s visual presentation is pleasing for the most part. THQ did a very nice job at getting some very high resolution scenes in the game, but every so often you will come across a texture that is flat, like a rock with an in-game geometric shape of a cube.
The choice of weapons in the game is also fantastic. There are weapons that allow you to pick pretty much any play style you would like. From melee weapons, to normal swords, to laser rifles, the choice is yours. The same goes for the enemies. One of your default items is a jetpack, so you would assume it’s useful for getting away from enemies. You would be wrong, because most enemies have a ranged ability, allowing them to shoot you off of the rooftop where you assume that you’re safe.
The quests are deep and there are many unique ones that have various moral choices your character must make. Will he be kind, or a stone-cold killer? There are plenty of choices to make, but you don’t have to make a choice right away. You can toe the line like I am currently doing, which seems to be working out alright so far. Companions play a big part in the game as they allow you to not venture out alone.
While there are some issues, Elex does eventually balance out once you are a bit further into the game. As this is just a first impressions article, we will not be giving it a final score as of yet. However, it does have a lot to prove in terms of gameplay. However, I have to say that I am looking forward to exploring more in the world of Elex.