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ELEX II review

Without question an improvement on the original ELEX, there’s plenty to love, like, and even hate, in ELEX II.

We tested the PC version of this game. Elex II is also available for PS5, XBox S-X/S, XBox1, and PS4

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Elex II Release Trailer


Developer:Piranha Bytes
Publisher:THQ NORDIC
Rated:Mature
Release Date:March 1, 2022
Price:$49.00 (PC) $59.99 Consoles
Our Grade:B

Who is Elex II made for?

If you liked Elex, you’re probably going to love Elex II.

Elex II  takes place in the same setting as ElexMagalan, but many years later. The main character is, once again, Jax. This time his mission is to unite the factions of Magalan, in an effort to fend off the Skyands, an invading alien race, with bad intentions.

There is no doubt Elex II benefits from significant improvements to its predecessor.

The animation, graphics and combat controls are seriously improved upon, from the first Elex. The original had issues that Elex 2 has cleaned up a lot of, by simplifying in a number of ways. Instead of combos, you now have the enemy’s stamina bar that lets you knock your foes down when it’s depleted. The flight of Jax’s jetpack is more responsive, which I’m very pleased to report.

Frankly, combat just feels more enjoyable in Elex II, than in the original. It takes a handful of hours to get to that point, but it does happen and it’s definitely worth the effort to reach that point.

The Story

The big showdown at the end of Elex, Jax battles the “Beast of Xacor”, and “The Hybrid” in the Ice Palace. After its defeat, the Hybrid references “those who are coming” and “will change the face of Magalan forever”. And the last thing we see in ELEX’s final scene is a wormhole in the sky, foreshadowing what Jax will face in Elex II

The game world in ElexII is pretty similar to the first game. The sequel’s map includes roughly the eastern half of its map plus a fairly large area to the east of it. The desolate province of Tavar, which was the southeasternmost region of Elex, is the southwesternmost region of Elex II. The huge Elex Converter, which was located far to the north and in the center of the Elex map, is the northwesternmost site you can visit in Elex II.


The Factions of Magalan

In Elex II, you can choose to join any of the 5 Factions of Magalan, or remain factionless.

The Berserkers

The medieval group stays away from high-tech weaponry, and instead uses swords, axes, bows, and magic. They get necessary mana by converting it from Elex with the help of the world’s hearts.

The first faction whose members Jax meets early on, in Magalan, are the Berserkers, who have expanded into areas of Tavar previously controlled by the Outlaws. They have even taken over the Outlaws’ former regional headquarters, an important strategic location known as The Fort.

The Albs

In the first Elex, the Albs were still the villains. Now you can choose to join the reformed faction. The Albs don’t drink mana, instead they consume the Elex directly, to use frost spells, among others. They take fresh Elex from the defeated opponent, to recharge their powers. The Albs use futuristic laser and energy weapons for both close and long-range combat.

The Morkons

An entirely new faction in Elex 2, the Morkons pay homage to the Standstill . Having no fear of death, they engage in melee combat, and fight furiously, even partaking in ritualistic barbarism. They can also trade life energy for fighting power.

The Clerics

The clerics are a religious faction that refuses to consume Elex. Instead, they rely on technology. So as a member of the Clerics you won’t learn any new skills, but instead, you’ll have access to the best weapons and armor in Elex 2. In order to become a cleric, you must first join the Albs.

The Outlaws

If you join the Outlaws, you’d better be ready to brew a lot of potions. And I mean a lot. You’ll learn how to craft Stims that act as temporary buffs. It’s also the best way to get explosive weapons. You must first be a member of the Berserkers or Morkons in order to join the Outlaws.

There is basically no reason to do this, other than to add a lot of difficulty to an already tough game, and deny yourself a whole slew of appreciable advantages. However, it is still an option, one that comes with a huge pile of consequences.

Piranha Bytes

If you’ve played, and appreciated games made by developer Piranha Bytes, you’re all set to just jump into Elex II.

If you start playing this game, expecting a high-budget, well-polished title like The Witcher 3, you’re going to be underwhelmed.

True to Piranha Bytes form, Elex II starts you out as a weakling. And just a heads up: if you don’t save your game often, you risk running quickly into something mean, and far more powerful than you, and you can face some major setbacks. So be sure to save your game!

Fighting enemies is frustrating at first, and you’re equipped with only a pipe. You cause very little damage, and every enemy is just terrifying to encounter. Keep completing quests and gaining experience.

Eventually when you find yourself able to engage enemies confidently, your quests will start to go a lot smoother and the story will continue to become more enjoyable.

As you meet the different factions of Magalan, you’ll join their ranks and learn some really cool abilities. You can sort of customize Jax and his abilities. Boost your defenses, lower item cost, or learn new attacks. Focus on magic, with the Berserkers. Or join the Morkons and focus on melee attacks.

Whichever factions you join will open up certain quests, while making others unavailable, so your choices have multiple implications in Elex II.


What Interface?

For a game with such a vast array of quests available, the way they are tracked and displayed is poor. The menu situation is annoying; you’ll have to go back an forth between gameplay and the menu, highlighting missions for direction. This ultimately adds up to be a pretty significant hassle. It seems like a fairly tragic oversight, considering how continously you are inconvenienced by the problem. The game would be quite a bit more enjoyable with a more user-friendly interface.

It’s already a major task seeing this game to its more manageable mid-point. Having to go out of my way over, and over added to the constant, early frustration of having a low-level main character, in the earlier portion of the game.

Final Thoughts:

Elex II isn’t some gorgeous, state-of-the-art, interactive picture of innovation. To expect anything gaudy from Piranha Bytes, would be foolish; even if they could make a game like The Witcher 3, I doubt they would.

However,  Elex 2 is a solid RPG with a fascinating story. It grows on you. It rewards your patience, in many ways. Jax develops, meaningfully and ends up proving to be whatever kind of hero you wanted him to be, because of the game’s customization style.

Visually, the game is medocre, but it’s built with a huge amount of quests, most of which I found extremely enjoyable to complete. Ultimately, Elex II achieves close-to-greatness, simply by delivering interesting characters to engage with, and plenty of room to explore.


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