Piranha Bytes’ sprawling sci-fi fantasy world of ELEX is back in ELEX II, the follow up to the original cult hit. From the creators of Gothic and Risen comes a new chapter in the enormous open world of Magalan, filled with hundreds of quests to sink your teeth into.
You don’t need to have played ELEX to throw yourself into the sequel, but the story continues on with familiar protagonist Jax, who is now looking for his son. The wide wastes of Magalan are completely open to him, with no set path ahead to follow, allowing the player to choose which of the 300+ quests to take on next. And as well as hunting around for his absent offspring, Jax is tasked with a colossal diplomatic mission in the face of an alien invasion.
These mighty newcomers seem almost invincible, using their own corrupted form of ELEX to become all-powerful, so Jax must unite the warring factions of his home country to fight against the looming extraterrestrial threat. How he does this is up to the player, whether through gentle diplomacy or aggressive gunslinging, although a lot of jetpacking around will probably be involved.
Whichever path Jax takes, his actions and decisions will have consequences. Each of the game’s factions will keep an eye on what he’s doing, making judgments and alerting their leaders. This can be used to his advantage or may come back to bite him – especially given how temperamental and territorial these tribes have revealed themselves to be. To help you choose a faction for Jax and get the most out of the game, we’ve summed up the main things you need to know about each faction. This time we’re looking at the two wildcards of the game, the Outlaws and the Skyands.
When the meteor carrying ELEX first hit Magalan, the Outlaws were a scattered minority of survivors. Unable to fit within the confines of the other factions and their grand schemes, the Outlaws became a loose band of rogues, traversing the wasteland in search of food, shelter, and the promise of a good fight. Seeing the benefits of ELEX when taken as a drug, the Outlaws began to produce stims which quickly had them hooked.
They are united in nothing if not their independence, relying on no one and taking whatever they need – whatever the cost. An Outlaw can soon become well-respected among others, but must be the strongest in every fight. Other than that, the faction has no goals, morals, or desires. They survive, get high, and acquire as much property as they can before someone else inevitably murders them to take it all away.
Although a miserable existence for some, the life of an Outlaw has its perks. In answering to no one, there is a certain freedom, and the stims at your disposal can be a powerful tool for survival in Magalan. Just be prepared to put up a fight if supplies run low. They’ll be unlikely to help with any high-and-mighty schemes, and certainly won’t care about the incoming alien invaders, but they might just show you how to score some prime ELEX when the going gets tough.
The new alien threat to Magalan, the Skyands are a ruthless and powerful invader. According to the locals, they arrived out of nowhere, spreading quickly and popping up all over the wastes. Although humanoid in appearance, these mysterious colonists are heavily armoured and stronger than any human known to man.
Skyands are powered by a new, darker form of ELEX, which corrupted them and their entire planet. No one knows who or what they were before, only that they will stop at nothing to spread the influence of the dark ELEX. Huge organic structures called Formers are used to infect plants, animals and people – an affliction that is often fatal, but worse when the victim survives. After a brutal transformation, they are rendered a Skyand themselves, joining the forces to overthrow the factions of Magalan and draw another world into the influence of the dark ELEX.
They are incredibly powerful, a ruthless and cold race of strategists and warriors. Although they must have a weakness, no one has yet worked it out, and the threat grows with every passing day. The other factions of Magalan have no understanding of their motivations, morals, or culture, only that they will stop at nothing to transform the entire planet in their image. This is the one faction Jax cannot join, and as a human it falls to him to drive the barbaric invaders away.
However you take out the enemy, and whichever factions you ally with, there’s an astonishing amount of exploration in ELEX II. Anything the game throws at you can be tackled in multiple ways, and each quest can be picked up in any order. Meet the colourful characters inhabiting Magalan, and the invading Skyands, in ELEX II on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, available right now.