After going hands-on with the upcoming open-world role-playing game ELEX at PAX East 2017, I sat down with Piranha Bytes and THQ Nordic team members for an updated hands-off presentation of the game. ELEX takes place in a part science-fiction, part fantasy world, as humanity has separated into various factions, each vying for control of the resource known as ELEX. The presentation showed off various options that are open to players, yielding an almost infinite amount of freedom. After the meteor carrying the precious resource had crashed into the planet, it set the world into a post-apocalyptic setting. Some have reverted to a medieval fantasy way of living, while others live similar to the ancient Vikings, and even other a have embraced science, using the new technology to build futuristic robots and weapons.
Players can play through the majority of the game without joining a faction, but to finish the game you will be required to join one, and considering the bonuses that come with each one, it makes sense to join as soon as possible. You won’t be able to change your choice, however, so choose wisely. Unlike similar titles, enemies in ELEX don’t scale to the player’s level, meaning if you go somewhere you shouldn't while you are still low-level, expect to be mercilessly killed. Taking it a step further, you’ll need to think before you act, as using a bow against a towering robot isn’t a smart move, but using elemental and magical spells might just take one down.
Combat is similar to the recently released The Surge, taking a cue from Dark Souls. If you wish, you can focus on ranged abilities, something that is still secondary in those titles. Dodging is an important aspect, and considering that scaling doesn’t exist, some enemies could prove to be quite difficult. As far as I can tell, there won’t be any mounts in the game, but you come equipped with a belt-mounted jetpack. This opens up the game’s exploration factor to new heights, literally, as Piranha Bytes can focus on adding verticality to the game’s landscape. All of the game's non-playable characters are fully voiced, and the game doesn’t have any loading outside of the initial load. This helps to immerse players in the world.
The game will include a deep crafting system, complete with legendary loot and the ability to add effects to each piece of gear you find. If you ever wanted a radioactive chainsaw, ELEX is the game for you. There are a handful of companions that can be recruited during your playthrough, each one reacting to the choices you make in the game. Dialogue choices become very important, as if you stray too far from the belief of one of them, they will likely leave or attack you on sight. Of course, you are free to kill anyone and everyone in the game. Even if it is a quest giver, the game will continue, giving you any items or information needed to complete the quest.
ELEX is set to release on October 17, 2017, on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. No enhancements are being announced at this time for PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X.