PIranha Bytes’ ELEX isn’t the first game that comes to mind when you think of open-world RPGs, but it garnered a pretty decent following after release. ELEX 2 is now on the horizon, out March 1stst 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 need to know before you get started.
Set six years after the events of the first game that saw the Hybrid vanquished, 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 the dark ELEX for their own nefarious purposes. In order to stand a chance against them, protagonist Jax embarks on a journey to unite the various factions and hopefully reunite with his son Dex along the way.
Magalan can be described as a post-apocalyptic science fantasy world where technology and magic collide. Given Piranha Bytes’ gothic work, there’s a medieval feel to the environments with Old World ruins scattered throughout. In addition to forests and canyons, you will also explore snowy environments plagued by Icetrolls and other threats. There are also dungeons to venture into, although more details have yet to be offered on that.
Right off the bat, Magalan isn’t much bigger – in fact, he’s about the same size as in ELEX 1 according to the developer. While things may have changed over the years, the world as a whole is more content dense. Players will have a lot more quests to complete and dialogue to listen to. The number of companion quests has also doubled and impacts the main story.
Freedom to explore
Exploring the world freely is a key aspect of ELEX 2. Although not immediately available, a jetpack is provided for easy transportation, and you can quickly soar through the skies to every destination (or even places you’re not supposed to be at the moment). 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 face: Berserkers, Albs, Clerics, Outlaws, and Morkons. Despite their name, the Berserkers are actually magic users and can be found in Tavar which they have converted from a desert into an area teeming with greenery. The Albs were heavy consumers of ELEX in the first game and have thankfully reduced their reliance on it and run on pure logic. Clerics are artisans and are good at creating robots. The Outlaws are scavengers who oppose the Berserkers and prefer to live their lives as they please, though they have been scattered across Magalan for the past few years.
Finally, there are the Morkon, the tunnel dwellers of Magalan who have very high standards of their limited resources and show fanaticism in accordance with their beliefs. Not all factions like or get along with each other, but it will be Jax’s job to unite them against the Skyands. He can also join a faction, leading to some interesting consequences like joining the Albs as a Commander.
Over 300 unique NPCs
It’s hard to please everyone, however, because there are so many different types of NPCs. In a presentation that WCCFTech attended in July 2021, Piranha Bytes confirmed over 300 NPCs in the game, each with their own unique personality. Of the more than 350,000 spoken words in the script, NPCs have the majority. Of course, you will have different companions who can also join your party with their own personal goals and interests while helping out in battle.
Choices and Consequences
There are a lot of tough moral decisions throughout Jax’s journey, and the consequences seem quite complex. NPCs will review your actions accordingly and remember what you did. Companions can also leave the group if they don’t like your behavior. It is also possible to kill NPCs which can affect the outcome of the story.
Speaking to GamingBolt, the developer noted that the world is “highly dependent on player choices, even entire battles either happen or don’t happen because of what the player has done.” The consequences of your actions can sometimes occur immediately or over the course of many acts, and the faction you choose also plays a role. As Piranha Bytes notes, “It works like 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 scenarios. Scenarios are even longer than before and will have a lot of “oh!” moments.”
ELEX received his fair share of criticism due to his jank and lack of polish, which extended into combat. For ELEX 2, Piranha Bytes sought to overhaul the combat system, revamp the enemy AI, and redo all animations. In addition to regular attacks, you also have charged attacks which help to make battles more dynamic. Aerial combat is also a new addition as you’ll be battling enemies in the sky, either with melee or ranged weapons.
No class restrictions
Players won’t pick a class to start with, but rather develop their own playstyle over time. As such, there are no restrictions on the different abilities that can be used, but if you want to get stronger in certain aspects, favoring one faction over another will definitely help. For example, Berserkers are recommended for those interested in magic.
Creating your own fighting style also comes down to the different weapons and abilities on offer. In addition to melee weapons like swords, hammers, maces, axes, etc., there are ranged weapons like guns, bows, and explosives. You can also use magic to call down fire or zap opponents with lightning. More advanced technologies like lasers and plasma weapons can also be expected, but it’s also easy to just grab a pipe and beat an enemy.
Enemies and bosses
ELEX 2 promises over 100 types of enemies to fight, including new opponents like flying enemies. The developer also revealed to WCCFTech that the boss fights don’t take place in “scripted events” but are more organic open-world encounters that match their respective environments accordingly. “Powerful enemies with special attacks” can be expected, so preparation is important, but if a particular boss fight doesn’t go your way, just retreat and come back later.
Compared to its predecessor, ELEX 2 is much heavier in terms of system requirements on PC. Minimum system requirements include an Intel Core i5-7400 or AMD Ryzen 3 3100 processor with 12GB of RAM and either a GeForce GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 5600 XT. The recommended configuration includes a Core i5-9500F or Ryzen 7 2700, 16 GB of RAM and 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 PS5 gamers should also benefit. It’s also optimized for the Xbox Series X/S, though what that means in terms of texture quality, effects, etc. has not yet been revealed. Xbox gamers also benefit from Smart Delivery, requiring only one purchase to make it available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
The first game was pretty meaty in terms of content – although its main story could be completed in around 30 hours, it could take over 100 hours to finish everything. Piranha Bytes told GamingBolt in a previous interview that ELEX 2 could be completed in 60 hours due to the amount of content present but that ultimately is up to the player. So whether you’re looking to complete the main story or explore every nook and cranny of Magalan, there will be things to do.
No paid post-launch content planned
Whether you play ELEX 2 for 60 hours or six hundred, it’s best to savor everything the game has to offer. Piranhabytes is not currently looking to add any DLC, especially “new paid content” after launch. Speaking to Twinfinite, the developer said: “We actually don’t like DLCs. We believe that if people buy our game, they should get everything we set out to put into it. Therefore, no new paid content is planned for ELEX 2 after launch.
That being said, it will take a close look at how the game is received by players and offer support (which could mean patches and bug fixes). But in terms of DLC, he “would rather put our creative energy into another project very soon.”