Piranha Bytes’ ELEX isn’t the first game to come to mind when you think of open world RPGs but it garnered a pretty decent following after its release. ELEX 2 is now on the horizon, releasing on March 1st for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC. What can fans and newcomers expect? Let’s take a look at 15 things you should know before jumping in.
Taking place six years after the events of the first game which saw the Hybrid defeated, the world of Magalan has been somewhat peaceful. Of course, it’s not long before a new threat emerges in the form of the Skyands who wield dark ELEX for their own nefarious ends. In order to stand a chance against them, protagonist Jax embarks on a journey to unite the different factions and hopefully find his son Dex along the way.
Magalan can best be described as a post-apocalyptic science fantasy world where technology and magic collide. Given Piranha Bytes’ work on Gothic, there’s a medieval feel to the environments with ruins from the Old World scattered throughout. Along with forests and canyons, you’ll also explore snowy environments plagued with Icetrolls and other threats. There are also dungeons to venture into, though more details have yet to be offered on the same.
Right off the bat, Magalan isn’t dramatically bigger – in fact, it’s roughly the same size as in ELEX 1 according to the developer. While things have doubtless changed over the years, the world as a whole is denser in content. Players will have many more quests to complete and dialogue to listen to. The number of companion quests has also doubled and have an impact on the main story.
Freedom to Explore
Exploring the world freely is a key aspect of ELEX 2. Though it won’t become available immediately, a jetpack is provided to make transportation easier and you can quickly soar through the skies to each destination (or even to places you’re not supposed to be at just yet). However, those who want to explore on foot can still do so and take in the sights and sounds at a slower pace.
There are five main factions to deal with – the Berserkers, Albs, Clerics, Outlaws and Morkons. Despite their name, the Berserkers are actually magic users and can be found in Tavar which they’ve converted from a desert into an area teeming with greenery. The Albs were heavy ELEX consumers in the first game and have thankfully reduced their dependence on it and operating on pure logic. The Clerics are craftsmen and are good at creating robots. The Outlaws are scavengers who are opposed to the Berserkers and prefer to live life on their own terms, though they’ve been scattered throughout Magalan over the past several years.
Finally, there’s the Morkon, residents of Magalan’s tunnels who have very harsh standards to their limited resources and exhibit fanaticism in accordance with their beliefs. Not every faction likes or gets along with the others but it will be Jax’s job to unite them against the Skyands. He can also join a faction, which leads to interesting consequences like rejoining the Albs as a commander.
Over 300 Unique NPCs
It’s hard to please everyone though because there are so many different kinds of NPCs. In a presentation that WCCFTech attended back in July 2021, Piranha Bytes confirmed over 300 NPCs in the game, each with their own unique personalities. Of the more than 350,000 spoken words in the script, it’s the NPCs that have the majority. Of course, you’ll have different companions that can join your party as well with their own goals and vested interests while also helping in combat.
Choices and Consequences
There are plenty of tough moral decisions throughout Jax’s journey, and the consequences sound fairly intricate. NPCs will examine your actions accordingly and remember what you’ve done. Companions can also leave the group if they don’t like your behavior. It’s also possible to kill NPCs which can affect the story’s outcome.
Speaking to GamingBolt, the developer noted that the world “heavily depends on the player’s choices, even entire battles are happening or not happening because of what the player did.” The consequences of your actions may sometimes happen immediately or over the course of numerous acts, and which faction you choose also plays a part. As Piranha Bytes notes, “It works just as in ELEX – but we even improved and expanded it. It’s more complex and dense, with more consequences and bigger impacts and more surprises in different storylines. Storylines are even longer than they used to be and will have many ‘oh!’ moments.”
ELEX received its fair share of criticism due to its jank and lack of polish, which extended to the combat. For ELEX 2, Piranha Bytes has sought to overhaul the combat system, revamping enemy AI and redoing all of the animations. Along with regular attacks, you also have charged attacks that help make battles more dynamic. Aerial combat is also a new addition as you’ll tussle with foes in the skies, either with melee or ranged weaponry.
No Class Restrictions
Players won’t choose a class to start out with, instead developing their own play-style overtime. As such, there are no restrictions on the different abilities that can be used but if you want to become stronger in certain aspects, then favoring one faction over another will definitely help. For instance, the Berserkers are recommended for those interested in magic.
Creating your own combat style also boils down to the different weapons and abilities on offer. Along with melee weapons like swords, hammers, maces, axes and so on, there are ranged weapons like guns, bows and explosives. You can also employ magic to call down fire or zap opponents with lightning. More advanced tech like lasers and plasma weapons can also be expected but it’s also easy to just pick up a pipe and beat on an enemy.
Enemies and Bosses
ELEX 2 promises over 100 enemy types for players to battle including new adversaries like flying foes. The developer also revealed to WCCFTech that boss fights don’t take place in “scripted events” but are more organic encounters in the open world that fit their respective environments accordingly. “Powerful enemies with special attacks” can be expected so preparation is important but if a particular boss fight isn’t going your way, simply retreat and come back later.
Compared to its predecessor, ELEX 2 is much heftier in terms of system requirements on PC. The minimum requirements include an Intel Core i5-7400 or AMD Ryzen 3 3100 with 12 GB of RAM and either a GeForce GTX 1060 or a Radeon RX 5600 XT. The recommended requirements include a Core i5-9500F or Ryzen 7 2700, 16 GB of RAM and either a GeForce RTX 2060 or Radeon RX 5700 XT. In both cases, 45 GB of installation space is required.
4K Ultra HD and Optimized for Xbox Series X/S
According to the Xbox Store, ELEX 2 will support 4K Ultra HD resolution on Xbox Series X/S, which means that PS5 players should also benefit from the same. It’s also being optimized for Xbox Series X/S though what this means in terms of texture quality, effects and so on is yet to be revealed. Xbox players also benefit from Smart Delivery, requiring only a single purchase to have it available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
The first game was fairly meaty in terms of content – though its main story could be finished in some 30 hours, it could take upwards of 100 hours to complete everything. Piranha Bytes told GamingBolt in a previous interview that ELEX 2 could be finished in 60 hours due to the amount of content present but that ultimately, it depends on the player. So whether you’re looking to finish the main story or explore every single nook and cranny of Magalan, there will be stuff to do.
No Paid Post-Launch Content Planned
Whether you play ELEX 2 for 60 hours or six hundred, it’s best to savor whatever the game has to offer. Piranhabytes isn’t currently looking to add any DLC, specifically any “paid new content” after launch. Speaking to Twinfinite, the developer said, “Actually, we don’t like DLCs. We think, if people buy our game, they should get everything that we’ve planned to put into it. Therefore there is no paid new content planned for ELEX 2 after the launch.”
That being said, it will look closely at how the game is received by players and offer support (which could mean patches and bug fixes). But in terms of DLC, it would “prefer to put our creative energy in another project very soon.”