Xbox Series X/S Review: ELEX II

Is this sequel Elexcellent?

ELEX II is the sequel to ELEX, the vintage open-world role-playing experience from the award-winning creators of the Gothic and Risen series, Piranha Bytes. ELEX II returns to the post-apocalyptic Science Fantasy world of Magalan with massive environments that can be explored with unrivaled freedom via jetpack, you will be able to move through the epic story any way you want. Several years after Jax defeated the Hybrid, a new threat arrives from the sky, unleashing the dangerous powers of dark Elex and endangering all life on the planet. In order to defend the peace on Magalan and the safety of his own family, Jax has to go on a mission to convince the factions to unite against the invaders.

I missed out on the original ELEX so I was worried that I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on in the sequel and while that’s true to a degree, there is a decent catchup before the game starts. I didn’t understand much of the other factions at first but that and the story definitely ramps up after a few hours.

There’s a Story Mode difficulty for those who simply want to play the game for the story, making it more accessible for players overall. I appreciate that after recently playing another open world game that’s brutal difficulty makes it tough for a lot of players to access and I’m sure other players will appreciate it too.

As an RPG, ELEX II is a slow burner. It took several hours for it to really come into its own but if you can push past it, then there is a decent RPG to be found here. Combat is well done and the open world itself is impressive, though I do question the timing of the release with the market currently flooded with open world games over the past few months, it’s going to be hard for the game to find an audience when there’s so much competition out there. It’s a shame because it definitely seems to improve upon the original game from what I’ve gathered, it’s just a question of if it can perform in terms of sales when pitted against some strong contenders.

It doesn’t help that while ELEX II is a decent RPG, it is a bit rough around the edges. It’s AI isn’t as smart as you would hope, and the game’s engine is dated overall. I do like that you can use a jetpack to get around though and the framerate seems to be more or less consistent. The visuals overall though are much improved from the original, while voice-acting is a bit of a mixed bag. The soundtrack is pretty good though…

The Verdict

ELEX II is a vast improvement over the original game, but it is still a bit rough around the edges in terms of AI, control and the engine itself is showing its age. It also doesn’t help to be pitted against so many other open-world games at the same time. Despite this, there’s a solid RPG to be found here if you can just give it a chance and it’s definitely worth it overall.

Score: 8.0