ELEX II is the long-awaited follow-up to the first game in the series which achieved something of a cult following upon release.
This second instalment comes from Piranha Bites, the award-winning creators of the Gothic and Risen series, and functions as a great introduction to the world of Magalan as well as a continuation of Jax’s story. This sprawling sci-fi fantasy game promises over 300 quests and a colossal map that can be explored in any way you see fit, forging your own path to the planet’s salvation – think Skyrim in space.
The plot follows on from the first game, but ELEX II functions well as a standalone story. Jax, the player character, has lost his son Dex and must track him down and ensure his safety. No big deal then, but unfortunately his home planet also happens to be under attack from the Skyands – a new alien threat who are using the weaknesses in Magalan diplomacy to threaten its future. Jax must unite each of the warring (and stubborn) factions of his homeland to keep the Skyands at bay.
Here, we take a quick look at some of the reasons ELEX II should be on your to-play list.
It’s a whole sprawling world to get lost in
As mentioned above, you don’t need to be an ELEX-pert to dive straight in. The story makes sense on its own, and if you’re looking for a wide open-world to get lost in over the coming months, this might be just what you need. With a frankly enormous amount of quests that can be completed in any order (and in multiple ways), and a sprawling map that is chock-full of surprises, challenges, and straight-up bizarreness.
You get a jetpack (and more)
Traversing the harsh world of ELEX II can be done in many ways, but using Jax’s kickass jetpack is certainly a way to arrive in style. Need we say more? Not only can you zip over large areas looking like an even more badass Boba Fett, combat has evolved to include this nifty feat of engineering, which adds a tactical element to every fight. That’s not to downplay the range of available weapons, which includes guns, bows, rocket launchers, and an array of… creative melee options. But if you remember the grappling hook option in the Just Cause games then you’ll know how addictive these unique traversal options can be. Jax can also harness his Psi powers, and send shockwaves through the Skyands from a distance – after a little practice.
You can align yourself (or not) with one of the many factions and see how that shapes the game
Along the way, you will meet the six factions who will shape Magalan’s fate. The Skyands are the invading enemy force, hostile and powerful from the outset. Good luck making friends with these troublesome chaps. Meanwhile, the Albs, Beserkers, Clerics, Morkons, and Outlaws all strive to maintain the health of their clans, which Jax must unite if he is to ward off the Skyand threat. Joining up with a faction opens up a range of new and more powerful equipment, though it may provoke a response from those you’ve snubbed…
There’s a cool twist on a morality meter and your choices matter
The diplomatic feat required in uniting Magalan can be achieved through a number of persuasive tactics – including reasoned argument or good old-fashioned violence. You’ll have to keep an eye on Jax’s morality meter if you’re going for a specific ending, as each interaction or decision will have long-standing consequences for your character and the citizens of Magalan. It’s a little different from the morality systems you see in games like Mass Effect, as it looks at how “cold” Jax is able to be – meaning it isn’t as simple as good or bad. Being cold may have tactical advantages, but there may be times you wish he’d been a little more emotionally available when certain interactions become impossible.
Something else that can affect this meter is your use of the titular resource, ELEX. This mysterious resource can be crafted into tonics that will impact your character in a variety of ways. Abilities may be boosted, and senses sharpened, but Jax’s emotional state will be altered. Imbibing high amounts of the stuff will leave him emotionally numb, and will change the path available to him, a little like in The Witcher 3 – where too many powerful tonics can come back to bite you. That being said, ELEX II doesn’t take itself all that seriously, and some interesting outcomes can be achieved by messing with Jax’s mind. As if he hasn’t been through enough.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to protect the world of Magalan, rescue your son, and single-handedly unite a warring land – check out ELEX II on PC and console today.