Elex 2 Review

Introduction

Elex 2 is an open world RPG developed by Piranha Bytes and published by THQ Nordic. It was released on Console and PC on March 1st, 2022.

Review

It’s been 7 years since Jax united the clans of the free people of Magalan and defeated the Hybrid, leader of the Albs. Though on that day, he got told of a great catastrophe that will befall the world. He tried his best to prepare everyone. But everyone called him crazy. Soon the clans went back to their old ways. Territorial disputes. Violence. But now the threat Jax tried to warn people of is here, and it’s up to him to unite the clans once again, or try and stop the looming threat all alone.

The first thing I can absolutely tell you, is that the pacing of the story is far better than its predecessor. It moves faster, the dialogue feels more important, and the characters all feel like they got overhauled to have actual emotion. Though if you played the first one, it made sense as to why Jax sounded like a monotone person who didn’t give a damn about nothing. This time around, Jax has been bitten by the space creature, known as Skyands, and has a disease that is now flowing through his veins. With the help of Adam Dawkins, the man who was the Hybrid, he fights the clock to try and stay sane.

Luckily for the players though, there’s no actual time limit. All you get now and again is a gurgling sound, then the screen flashes, and Jax talks about how he needs to beat the infection, “or else!”. The first game really centered around the idea of “do what you want, and the story changes if you kill certain NPCs”. But the developers clearly had a storyline already in mind so the whole system of the first one makes no sense. Jax allied with the Berserkers (not in my game) and he married Caja (not a chance) and had a son. There’s no save import to keep you being a ruthless killing machine if that’s what you went for, but at the same time, this brings a whole new side to Jax. There’s even two new factions you can ally yourself with. The Albs, or the strange faction, the Morkons. But I stuck with the Clerics.

As you progress in the game, you see his interactions with his son, Dex, and a whole lot of old allies, like Falk, the Cleric android, Nasty, the badass Outlaw, plus your old drone, C.R.O.N.Y U4. I had a lot of fun seeing old characters, and seeing how they grew. Of course there’s a few characters here and there that are new. Like Bully! The badass bodyguard, who turns out, has a good heart. As you progress through the game, you go through questlines with each of your companions. You learn about the hell that Nasty went through the last 7 years. Or how Falk is trying to understand human emotion, and will try anything to become more human. Though eventually I did get annoyed about how many quests there actually are for them. I’d finish one character’s quest, get back to the main base, just for another one to come running and yelling that they needed my help. Can’t they see I’m dying here!?

Eventually the story did kind of drag out. Mostly at the end. Sure it had its reason, for building up to everything, but the quests that the developers implemented for it all was terrible. Having you run to every area and kill an army’s worth of enemies in each of them, before you have to do the final push. This coupled with having to slaughter huge swaths of enemies for other story quests throughout the game eventually just got me annoyed by that kind of quest.

The game is so much more fluid than the previous game. As it was slow, and clunky, and you had a lot of trial and error involved in everything. Even on Easy I ripped my hair out. But this time around, a new difficulty called “Story” was implemented. I immediately jumped to that as I wanted a fun time without any rage. Though I messed around on higher difficulties for a tiny bit. They had you really wondering how to handle the game, making you worry about your stamina in battle and taking your time with it all, as evading or attacking or anything drained your bar. But on Story difficulty, none of that happened. I just went full bore all the time and I had a ball. When I had the chance I explored all the land, piece by piece. Sure I ran into some enemies that I did have to run from or fight strategically with, I never had to fully worry about whether I could be in an area or not. It was especially fun exploring the new area. The only old area that’s still half familiar is The Fort, where the Outlaws used to be. But even that’s changed. The location has shifted more eastward now though.

One of my favourite things about this entry, are the conversations that may happen when you’re traveling with AI companions. If you travel with Dex, he asks Jax things a child may ask. Why are some people bad? Why is the sky blue? Why are monsters so aggressive? Jax in turn, responds like any normal parent would. Sometimes with well thought out answers, other times with “well….I’m not entirely sure. Just because I guess.”. If dialogue ever got canceled, the character would just pick up from where they left off with the conversation too, so I never felt like I was truly missing out on character building if I happened to step too close to an enemy.

The game certainly didn’t hammer me down with quests like the first. Sure there are a lot, but when I got into a town, I’d end up with maybe 5 quest lines that all went on for a decent amount of time. As opposed to 10 itty bitty quests that make you feel so overwhelmed you just don’t want to play anymore. There’s even some NPCs you may find in the wild that have a quest or two. The dialogue in the game has me laughing a lot. When you reply to an NPC, usually there’s three options. The good and diplomatic option. The neutral option. Then the funny and super aggressive response. At one point an NPC tried to sell me on a pyramid scheme, and the aggressive response at one point was “How about I don’t give you any money, and instead punch you in the fucking teeth?”. I had a good hard laugh. That wasn’t even the first time either.

As you level up, you get to distribute level up points into your stats. Like strength, dexterity, and so on. The normal stuff. This lets you buy certain skills from NPCs, like being able to lockpick, or hack. One thing I really enjoyed was being able to just make my build be whatever I wanted with almost no consequence on the difficulty I chose. I never felt punished for wanting to increase my intelligence to use guns even though I was built to use two handed weapons. Though using guns didn’t last long, as I ran out of ammo most of the time.

One thing I will say though, is if you play on the PS4, I hope you have some patience, as the load times are long when starting up the game. There’s even a whole lot of texture pop in. If I moved too fast in the Castle where the Clerics are housed, everything would turn super bright and blind me. If I walked through The Crater even slowly, the frame rate would noticeably dive the whole time I was there. Sometimes I’d start a conversation with an NPC and they’d have no head, and it would load in mid-conversation. Though these didn’t really bother me, it was funny to see.

Rating

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Smoother Gameplay
  • Hilarious Dialogue Choices
  • Story Difficulty Option

Cons:

  • Mundane Quests Sometimes
  • Framerate/Texture Bugs On Ps4

Summary

Elex 2 is such a step up from the first. The story is better paced, better written and the gameplay has been overhauled immensely. I loved seeing all my old team members again and seeing Jax become more human. Anyone who wants a fun and enjoyable RPG should definitely check this out. Sure it’s not amazingly polished, but it’s still well worth it.

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Piranha Bytes
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: THQ Nordic
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £49.99/€59.99 Europe / $59.99 North America
Trophy Information: 51. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 2 / Silver 5 / Bronze 43

ELEX II – Release Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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