Elex. Part One, About the Futility of Plot Existence

I give up. I couldn’t manage to play Elex non-stop, and with just over fifteen hours of gameplay, you can’t even get through the storyline in our role-playing games nowadays. Especially if you don’t set yourself such a goal in advance. So for now, let’s continue broadcasting in “akyn” mode.

To conquer the whole game is a task that, as it seems now, will take about two months. And it requires exceptional willpower; currently, things are not going particularly well with pleasure.

A post-apocalyptic adventure

What do you think, is the mandatory “Draw Weapon” button press a clever hardcore feature or just an annoying archaism?

To clarify: it’s serious. Until you command the hero to finally pick up the axe, he will martyr himself by exposing all possible cheeks to the attacking monster, endure it, and continue to gather herbs. The opposite is also true – until the axe pretends to be a sword in its sheath, you won’t be able to gather the same herbs, items from shelves, or trophies from corpses. There is no smart mode switching, Elex doesn’t cater to casual players.

I rushed through the entire prologue with a broken weapon, thinking that the scattered items around couldn’t be picked up precisely because these are the starting scenes, and the designers are hinting at me: “You’ll deal with collecting later, better get into the story for now.” But it turned out, no. Our protagonist only works on manual drive.

I had to get used to the sweet role-playing life of 2017 for about two hours. I didn’t order such nostalgia.

But it turned out to be really good to look around. I report, we’re back in Horizon: Zero Dawn, only without robot dinosaurs. Seriously, everything around is familiar forests, primitive villages on the ruins of future cities, and magically secluded savages.

Surviving the wasteland

A local post-apocalypse happened when a meteorite with drugs landed on (renamed for pathos) Earth. I mean, with a cosmic mineral called Elex. At first, the meteorite just lit up properly. Then, experienced naturalists began to stick Elex wherever they could. In microwaves, vending machines, airplanes, their own bodies. Some people felt really bad from it, some felt really good, but overall, stuffing all sorts of alien gifts into their mouths seriously undermined civilization.

Naturally, the end of the world wouldn’t be the end of the world if there weren’t a number of survivors left after it. The considerably cleansed light allowed new generations to embody their boldest childhood dreams. Some people went to live in harmony with nature, casting fireballs behind palisades and hating gadgets. The second team of good guys founded the Brotherhood of Steel with clerics and embarked on expeditions for artifacts of the old world. The third reproduced the rest of “Fallout”. Well, finally, there were individuals who didn’t lose their technology, weren’t impressed by books about hobbits, and could stay off intravenous Elex.

Unearthing the unknown

Nowadays, the last ones would be called technocrats and psychopaths, but for someone who has survived the meteorite prehistory of the world, there is a separate word for these comrades – albs. Apparently, if it weren’t for the albs, the district would be quite boring. But these guys systematically clear the land of other masqueraders. Therefore, there is a global movement.

By the way, we play as an alb who accidentally fell off the Elex. His name is Vasya. Well, most likely that’s not his name, but after ten minutes of trying to remember the right name, there was no result, and in general, the protagonist of Elex seems intentionally faceless. He is like a washed-up Commander Shepard after the end of the world. But you can’t mold him into anything you want, and it seems like the character has his own strong personality. Like Geralt.

To cut to the chase, that’s the essence of the game – these strange combinations. The developers managed to extract not the best elements and mechanics from various old and new projects, but just different details. As a result, an amazing homunculus was created from the ideological successor of the ideological successors of “Gothic”, which behaves seemingly correctly but throws strange tricks in completely unexpected places for you.


The first story dummy met my hero at the exit of the starting location. As soon as he briefly told me about the plot (factions, harsh world, we’re just rookies), I felt it – the familiar freedom that all modern sandbox RPGs offer. I opened the map, made sure that I really ended up in Zero Dawn with its climatic zones, and went on my way to explore the big and dangerous forest. The reconnaissance lasted fifteen seconds. The very first – the very first! – turn of the path I took led me to a bandit who gave my hero a game over in one shot.

Post-apocalyptic landscapes

The new soothing theory sounded like this: I’m still in the prologue, powerful bandits are strategically placed on the sidelines so that the encountered dummy can easily escort the hero to the first city. Then they will lead me where I need to go, have a couple more educational conversations, and the pumped-up junkies will go wait for their moment somewhere far away in the fortified areas. Logical, right?

The journey to the stronghold of the nearest civilization and the subsequent six hours of wandering around the same small patch of land showed – well, no.

After getting acquainted with the Tolkienist community, the face control on the roads did not disappear. If you go left, you’ll lose your head, if you go straight too far – the same thing, don’t even think about going right or jumping into a ravine.

It seemed like it was time to shake up the system. The game wants you to walk along the plot rails like you’re enchanted, and it draws steroid monsters for you? Well, we’ll run away from them for five minutes to the nearest village, so that the rural – just as steroid – administration can tell the bad guys what’s what. And then we’ll get there with a jetpack where we shouldn’t go, and jump to where the designers don’t want to let us in.

Navigating a world in ruins

As you probably already noticed, one important aspect was not taken into account in the cunning plan. If there are too tough guys at the turn, then who is behind the turn?

And here I give up. I tried to level up past the storyline quests, tried to get more powerful weapons bypassing the vendors, tried to find some super-secret shortcut, but it was all in vain. Elex doesn’t just not want players to go left of the path prepared by the designers and scriptwriters, it actually doesn’t offer anything else at all.

Well, after fifteen hours of banging my head against the wall, that’s enough. Let’s see what good there is in the “right” script.

PC, PS4, Xbox One
RPG, Western-Style
THQ Nordic
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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