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ELEX, an action-RPG from Piranha Bytes, has received some attention during this E3. To begin, there are twelve minutes of raw gameplay footage, brought to us by World of Elex:
Then, there's an NVIDIA interview with the game's producer, Michael Paeck. We learn that the game is feature complete and is currently in the polishing stage of development. Check it out:
Moving on to the previews, Fextralife offers a comprehensive overview of the game's features:
The game is a fully open world without load screens and without pausing, with menus that appear fluidly in game creating a very locked in feeling. The graphics look great and are the area where the game has made the most improvements in. The world is beautifully designed with several different biomes all tinged by the unique nature of the factions. The map is massive and populated with towns and cities, all of which are full of NPCs and you get around on foot and via jetpack, exploring the verticality of the world. You can tell there is going to be a lot to get into and you’ll be free to tackle it as you desire.
You will choose from 1 of 3 factions, all of which are battling over a scarce and powerful resource called Elex, which arrived on Magalan with a meteorite that ironically destroyed most of the world. You can set out with companions from within these factions. These companions have their own relationships that you can develop for better or worse. If you do enough that turns them off, they may abandon you. Turn them on? Romance is certainly in the cards.
Choices are definite and permanent, and this adds replayability based on the faction you choose and the decisions you make during quests. You can kill almost anyone and the game reacts, adjusting quest objectives but not canceling. That kind of freedom doesn’t exist in many games and the fact that the game adapts is impressive. It will be interesting to see how it all holds together with your rogue players who are want to kill quickly or lure a monster into a village and let it wreak havoc while you watch the world burn. The main story will always be able to be progressed, however.
Weapons and gear have stat requirements which adds an importance to your build and makes you pay attention to your stats and plan a build. Min maxers and fans of games like Dark Souls will appreciate this touch as they design their characters around their favorite items. Weapons can be upgraded via crafting, and the faction you choose will determine your available paths and status effect options.
Upon seeing the game's demo, GameSpew praises its variety and the wonderfully detailed world. An excerpt:
Traversal in ELEX is accomplished via a jetpack, allowing the world plenty of vertical environments for which nowhere is off limits. From steep mountains to blown out buildings, if you want to explore it, just jetpack up to it. Seeing it in action I could already see myself spending hours upon hours simply traversing the landscapes, trying to reach every possible peak in the world.
There are an absurd amount of systems, variety and choice in ELEX, and coupled with its wonderfully detailed and realised world, it’s a game I’m incredibly excited to dive into
Entertainment Buddha calls ELEX a potential hidden gem of E3:
When Elex eventually launches it looks to offer a very deep action RPG experience. It has 300,000 lines of dialogue, so all characters are voiced, and the main campaign alone is about 80 hours long. I really loved the look of the world, and the completely unique styles for all three of the factions. I do believe Elex will offer an enjoyable tale that is different in every sense of the word for those who take on its challenges thanks to the demo I was treated to. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on it, and I encourage others to follow its path towards release, because it has potential to be a memorable gaming experience if it fulfills the aspirations of its creators.
And GameRevolution points out the duality between the game's sci-fi and fantasy elements:
One moment, we were in a lush forest battling foes with a sword and magic spells. The next, we were traveling through a stylish fortress that looked like an Imperial base straight out of Star Wars. This is the bizarre duality of sci-fi and fantasy that is the basis for Elex, the next game from Piranha Bytes, best known for the Risen and Gothic series. Elex is billed by the developers as a "sci-fi fantasy" open-world RPG where freedom is the core principle. 20 minutes into the game, you are able to go anywhere you want and do whatever you'd like.
If you want to follow the story, you can. If you want to just explore and collect loot, you can do that as well. The beginning of the game certainly evokes Skyrim-esque nostalgia, even down to the art style of the forest you start in. The demo I experienced was unfortunately off-hands and entirely controlled by the developer, which was ironically counterintuitive to the entire concept of the game. We followed the introductory main quest towards the closest town, with glimpses at choices, combat, and factions.