Elex Sci-fi All

Elex is out today, already to middling reviews. However I've been a Gothic and Risen fan for a long time now, originally started off with Gothic 2. Yes they're always buggy and janky, but Pirahna Bytes is able to make worlds like few other game devs. I've purchased, hopefully will be playing this week.

Ended up watching a couple people stream this a bit over the weekend having literally never heard of it before and now I'm intrigued but on the fence.

I like that they've skewed their post-apocalyptic setting a little more towards medieval fantasy as opposed to Mad Max, and I really liked the way some of the environments were designed with the ruins of real-world modern-day buildings - it seems like there would be fun in exploring.

On the other hand, the graphics themselves looked kinda like they're from 2008, the combat looks kinda awful, and it's from a developer with a reputation for janky games long on ambition and short on execution. (I was intrigued by Risen 2 when it came out because of the novelty of the pirate theme but I couldn't even get through the demo I was so miserable.)

Gothic ranks up in my top 5 games of all times. Piranha Bytes definitely get a lot of credit and respect up front. That being said, one of the things that made Gothic such a great game, was its unabashedly PC based heritage. The videos of this game look very console-centric. You don't pick up loot because you see it and it makes sense. You pick it up because you pointed your cross-hairs at something and it popped up a "press X to loot" tooltip. The monsters all sit right in the middle of the road waiting for you. Not in the sensible natural locations.

These are all of the things that make Elex very much NOT like Gothic. Depending on the price and GWJ word of mouth I may still get it, but so far it looks like I may be disappointed.

yeah, I was kinda over their particular brand of gravelly voiced shaven-head macho white dude-centric fantasy worlds back when it was fantasy pirates, so I don't imagine this is going to be one for me, even if it IS post apocalyptic fantasy space pirates this time around.

pyxistyx wrote:

yeah, I was kinda over their particular brand of gravelly voiced shaven-head macho white dude-centric fantasy worlds back when it was fantasy pirates, so I don't imagine this is going to be one for me, even if it IS post apocalyptic fantasy space pirates this time around.

Not being able to create your character at this point is a (bald) head-scratcher.

I don't have a deep familiarity with the stories of PB's games but I don't get the impression that they're of the type where the protagonist has a deep, richly-defined character like, say, Geralt of Rivia and therefore "must" look and sound a particular way.

Certainly there's nothing about the standard-issue stubble-domed sourpuss they've served up here from a visual standpoint that would lead me to believe this is a unique, thoughtfully-realized personality.

Middcore wrote:

I don't have a deep familiarity with the stories of PB's games but I don't get the impression that they're of the type where the protagonist has a deep, richly-defined character like, say, Geralt of Rivia and therefore "must" look and sound a particular way.

The original Gothic had you, as a protagonist, get thrown into a high-security prison (magical in nature). Since you start your adventure as a dainty weakling, I imagine they didn't want to deal with the mature themes of you being a female and what may (would?) happen in that situation.

Although a more plausible explanation is that back then all protagonists were male and the story was made to fit that mold.

Citizen86 wrote:

Elex is out today, already to middling reviews. However I've been a Gothic and Risen fan for a long time now, originally started off with Gothic 2. Yes they're always buggy and janky, but Pirahna Bytes is able to make worlds like few other game devs. I've purchased, hopefully will be playing this week.

Those reviews seem pretty high for a just released Piranha Bytes game!

I just bought it. I'll post my thoughts after it installs and I give it a go.

All right guys, here's the deal:

If you are a fan of Gothic/Risen, you will feel like you have bumped into an old friend who still has all the endearing rough edges and are catching up over beers in a post-apocalyptic pub.

If you come in expecting or wanting a 'modern' AAA game with high production values and polished writing move your cursor away from the buy button and move on to the likes of Divinity/TES/Fallout/Mass Effect.

If you ignore the warning and take the plunge anyway, you'll be horrified by the dialog and voice acting (not to mention the animations and and general opaqueness) but persevere and you'll see promising hints of some very interesting lore and world building...I'm even getting some S.T.A.L.K.E.R. vibes...

As a die-hard and biased Gothic fan (I even finished Arcania...), I am loving it so far. Based on the abilities menu, the depth of the RPG systems seem to be at the level of Gothic three - or deeper and the post-apocalyptic/sci-fi/fantasy setting is working, somehow.

[quote="MoonDragon"]

Middcore wrote:

The original Gothic had you, as a protagonist, get thrown into a high-security prison (magical in nature). Since you start your adventure as a dainty weakling, I imagine they didn't want to deal with the mature themes of you being a female and what may (would?) happen in that situation.

There ARE actually women in the prison camp but from what I remember they are 99% just silent fan-waving slaves surrounding the main leader of the mining colony, with maybe the one line of dialogue when you click on them? Though that's me being optimistic. Oh and that woman on the lift at the opening cutscene who's being delivered trussed up like a 'reward' for the inmates.

Gothic 2 and 3 aren't much better. I think there's maybe 2 or 3 minor female NPC's in both. I think the excuse in Gothic 3 was that the orcs had slaughtered all the women because they were too important...or something.

You know how hard it can be to animate women!

TrashiDawa wrote:

All right guys, here's the deal:

If you are a fan of Gothic/Risen, you will feel like you have bumped into an old friend who still has all the endearing rough edges and are catching up over beers in a post-apocalyptic pub.

If you come in expecting or wanting a 'modern' AAA game with high production values and polished writing move your cursor away from the buy button and move on to the likes of Divinity/TES/Fallout/Mass Effect.

If you ignore the warning and take the plunge anyway, you'll be horrified by the dialog and voice acting (not to mention the animations and and general opaqueness) but persevere and you'll see promising hints of some very interesting lore and world building...I'm even getting some S.T.A.L.K.E.R. vibes...

As a die-hard and biased Gothic fan (I even finished Arcania...), I am loving it so far. Based on the abilities menu, the depth of the RPG systems seem to be at the level of Gothic three - or deeper and the post-apocalyptic/sci-fi/fantasy setting is working, somehow.

Stalker you say? Can I yell “get out of here stalker at random npcs”?

Watched a half hour or so more streamed gameplay of this yesterday and the guy I was watching seemed to spend the whole time running from room to room in a generic gray sci-fi base. I think I'll pass on this. It seems like the type of thing where the farther you get in the game and the more the plot develops the less interesting the setting becomes.

TrashiDawa wrote:

All right guys, here's the deal:

If you are a fan of Gothic/Risen, you will feel like you have bumped into an old friend who still has all the endearing rough edges and are catching up over beers in a post-apocalyptic pub.

If you come in expecting or wanting a 'modern' AAA game with high production values and polished writing move your cursor away from the buy button and move on to the likes of Divinity/TES/Fallout/Mass Effect.

If you ignore the warning and take the plunge anyway, you'll be horrified by the dialog and voice acting (not to mention the animations and and general opaqueness) but persevere and you'll see promising hints of some very interesting lore and world building...I'm even getting some S.T.A.L.K.E.R. vibes...

As a die-hard and biased Gothic fan (I even finished Arcania...), I am loving it so far. Based on the abilities menu, the depth of the RPG systems seem to be at the level of Gothic three - or deeper and the post-apocalyptic/sci-fi/fantasy setting is working, somehow.

This is spot on. I actually had a friend message me on Steam last night when he saw I started the game and told me "stop before 2 hours of gameplay so you can get a refund". However I played Gothic 2 and 3 when I was younger, and have fond memories, so it was like an old friend in new clothes. Even the heavy handed "YOU CAN CHOOSE A FACTION!" discussions.

ACG did a review, and I think he's generally pretty good at listing out the pro's and con's of a game to give you a good idea if you think it could be for you or not: https://youtu.be/oTicsIK5umw

And yeah, the initial tutorial section is rather bland. The first town you visit though I thought already had some interesting aspects, it's an interesting little town built on a hill, the amount of detail in the town is well done.

That's really the thing with this developer. The games have glaring faults, and if you can't live with them that's really fair. But through the faults there's greatness and depth.

So here's a question... does it make a good "single player" game?

MoonDragon wrote:

So here's a question... does it make a good "single player" game?

Elex lacks lootboxes so I can unequivocally state that it is a magnificent single player experience.

This is heavily on my watch list but I got really bored of Risen 3. Pirhana Bytes and Spiders make games that are stuck in the mid-2000s for all the good and bad. There’s so much to play that I’ll privsvky wait on Elex once the price drops.

I'm thinking of trading in a couple games and picking this up on physical.

This seems helpful:

Also, day 1 patch was released and supposedly reviewers didn't have it applied to their game:

Spoiler:

Crafting
You can now upgrade shields
Bugfixes for socketing weapons
AI
Improved awareness when sneaking
Improved navigation for NPCs and monsters
Better party behavior from NPCs
UI
Missing icons added
Connection bugfixes
Bugfixes for the world map
Bugfixes for the skills display
Gameplay
Bugfixes for item interactions
Sleep will now also replenish energy
Lock picks will break more often
Reduced fall damage with the jet pack
Appropriate behavior when you receive damage on a ladder
Additional slots for autosaves
Monster traps no longer have a focus
Cutscenes
Slight optimization of cutscenes
Story
Caja accompanies the player to all locations
Both PSI amplifiers are now distributed
Minor quest and display fixes
NPCs
Aesthetic improvements to some armor
Improved control of dialogue gestures
Improved facial animations for women
Improved transitions for motion sequences
Combat
Shields can now block ranged weapons
Improved targeting behavior from NPCs
Fixed the situation where companions were not helping with battle in certain situations
Grenades will now always ricochet off of obstacles
Ball lightning will now always jump to the next target
Dialogues
Improved camera in dialogues
Improved placement of conversation partners
Text
Updates and fixes
Engine
Improved shadow mapping to sun position
Eliminated flickering mist when the camera was too close to obstacles
Subtitles are now deactivated by default when the same language is selected for voice and text
Xbox One:
Graphics pipeline optimizations, including VSync activation to remove screen tearing

I played for a couple hours last night and was really enjoying it. I would have played longer but I randomly fell through the world while walking through a tunnel, hung on the loading screen for several minutes trying to reload, then suddenly crashed to desktop. It was time for sleep anyway.

ruhk wrote:

I played for a couple hours last night and was really enjoying it. I would have played longer but I randomly fell through the world while walking through a tunnel, hung on the loading screen for several minutes trying to reload, then suddenly crashed to desktop. It was time for sleep anyway. ;)

Ha! that's always my experience with their games.. I need to try them 6 months after release though.. give them time to fix the most agregious bugs.. they also always seem to release at the most inoportunte times (if that even exists anymore)

I'm deep into the first town and it's getting really good even though I haven't had the chance (or the abilities) to strike out and explore the greater world far from the town gates.

I really appreciate that the choices you make have weight (by locking you out of possibilities) and that the factions demonstrate nuances by having internal ideological rifts. It's really refreshing compared to many RPGs that ensure the world is a true sandbox for players and no content is locked out.

The complete freedom is great for power tripping but for me it get's stale and makes me feel like the decisions I'm making are not consequential.

Still loving the sci-fantasy setting (even though I don't know how the garage lights are still on in the long-abandoned houses in the wastelands...)

I haven't run into any game breaking bugs either btw, just the weird boob glitch but I can roll with it as the rest of the non-glitchy animations are not exactly best in class.

I managed to play about an hour last night and was pleasantly surprised that outside of the initial cutscene, which looked abysmal and chugged, the look and performance on PS4 is actually quite good. Yeah, it looks like an uprezzed PS3 game in a lot of ways, but it doesn't look bad. Hell, animation isn't top notch, obv, but it too doesn't look bad. Admittedly, I've only done a bit of melee and bow fighting.

Piranha Bytes gets a lot of sh*t for their jank, but for the first hour it feels about on par with what one would expect from Bethesda.

So far, of course.

Some people just have a lower threshold for it. The friend I mentioned earlier was bored in the opening section, and told me he literally turned it off and got a refund after seeing the "fur" on the first guy you meet. Because it was terribly done and lazy.

I really was not disturbed by it. It's too bad because it was only about 15-20 minutes into the game.

No doubt some people have a lower tolerance for jank, I certainly have in the past. I've played Gothic 2 and Riven 1, but haven't touched anything else by PB because I always fell out of interest due in part by jank. However, this game really feels better than their prior games in terms of jank outside of the companion AI which is flat broken half the time.

///

Thought this was neat and shows how much a game changes in the last year or so of development:

///

Middcore wrote:
pyxistyx wrote:

yeah, I was kinda over their particular brand of gravelly voiced shaven-head macho white dude-centric fantasy worlds back when it was fantasy pirates, so I don't imagine this is going to be one for me, even if it IS post apocalyptic fantasy space pirates this time around.

Not being able to create your character at this point is a (bald) head-scratcher.

I don't have a deep familiarity with the stories of PB's games but I don't get the impression that they're of the type where the protagonist has a deep, richly-defined character like, say, Geralt of Rivia and therefore "must" look and sound a particular way.

Certainly there's nothing about the standard-issue stubble-domed sourpuss they've served up here from a visual standpoint that would lead me to believe this is a unique, thoughtfully-realized personality.

I wanted to touch on this briefly because the main character is designed in an interesting way. He's an Alb, which is like a Juicer from RIFTS in that they consume Elex to enhance their powers. Apparently ingesting so much Elex burns out your emotional core, so you're basically a rational thing with no emotions. This, on one hand, sets off MRA flags in my mind, but on the other hands seems to present a nice blank slate from which to perhaps role play a character. Do you want your blank slate bald man to be an ice cold, logical killer robot man thing or will you have a little heart?

This actually plays out mechanically in-game as Coldness. You lose/gain coldness based on your choices, which apparently influences the game ending you will get. I'm not sure what else, if anything, it influences but I think it's a nifty little way to present a somewhat blank slate without amnesia.

Granted, even with this blank-ish slate you're mostly given very macho responses to most stuff, so the role playing is very much within that spectrum. YMMV, obviously, but for me it's a nice change of pace because I've been playing so many colorful Japanese games that I'm okay switching over to a macho leaning game. A self-made character would've been way better for me personally, but it's just not what they want to do, I guess.

TrashiDawa wrote:
MoonDragon wrote:

So here's a question... does it make a good "single player" game?

Elex lacks lootboxes so I can unequivocally state that it is a magnificent single player experience.

So here's a brainfart explanation for you. For some reason (perhaps a confluence of some trailers I saw a while ago) I thought Elex was a MMO game.

Once I realized its just another single-player RPG by Piranha Bytes, I gladly forked over the $$.

MoonDragon wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:
MoonDragon wrote:

So here's a question... does it make a good "single player" game?

Elex lacks lootboxes so I can unequivocally state that it is a magnificent single player experience.

So here's a brainfart explanation for you. For some reason (perhaps a confluence of some trailers I saw a while ago) I thought Elex was a MMO game.

Once I realized its just another single-player RPG by Piranha Bytes, I gladly forked over the $$.

Haha I thought I saw you playing last night. Also I'm only like 30 mins from you now. Gamers With Jobs conf 2017

I'm strong enough to strike off into the wilderness now and start bumping in to the other factions and things get better and better. I really like how there is some interaction between all four (five?) groups so it feels very alive and not siloed.

RPS had a disappointing (but funny) article today on the horrible first impression Elex makes. The thing is it's all true but it does a disservice by not mentioning the world building nuance the game supports in moral interactions transcends (at least for me) the sh*t writing and voice acting.

So far, it feels like a throwback to Gothic 2 or Gothic 3 (even closer to the Gothics than the Risens were) that is packed with hand crafted content and choices that have real impact.

To sum up, I am still loving it 12 hours in and it keeps getting better. I'll report in after I finally take the plunge and join a faction (the fact that it's a hard choice is a testament to the world they have built).

I'm still in the starting zone and can't wait to get out, but know I need to put my time in.

I don't even think the writing is that bad, it's usually quite consistent with the overall theme. Of course, there's a metric ton of it which is a different sort of quality concern than most people are referring to.

I am kind of stuck. But maybe it's a UI usability issue. Perhaps you guys can help. When I go to my skills window, in the bottom left I see what I think is my current level: 4. I imagine it is sitting on a progress bar. A while ago, it was a sliver to the left, and currently it looks like it is 100% full.

I interpreted that as being just a sliver shy of level 5 (which I need to continue some quests in the starter town). So I went out into the wild, and started killing some critters. Thinking this will give me a few xp points I need to ding 5. But it seems nothing is giving me xp. Or at least I'm not leveling to 5. What am I misunderstanding?

MoonDragon wrote:

I am kind of stuck. But maybe it's a UI usability issue. Perhaps you guys can help. When I go to my skills window, in the bottom left I see what I think is my current level: 4. I imagine it is sitting on a progress bar. A while ago, it was a sliver to the left, and currently it looks like it is 100% full.

I interpreted that as being just a sliver shy of level 5 (which I need to continue some quests in the starter town). So I went out into the wild, and started killing some critters. Thinking this will give me a few xp points I need to ding 5. But it seems nothing is giving me xp. Or at least I'm not leveling to 5. What am I misunderstanding?

The level progress indicator is awful. As far as I know, there is no way to check the actual numbers/percentage of xp needed to hit the next lvl.

However, it's probably not broken. Mobs give very little xp compared to quests and you need A LOT of xp to level, even at 4. You are probably about to ding 5 and finishing a quest will do it if the progress bar looks full.