If you’ve ever been on a date with someone who seems very interesting and pleasant, but suddenly goes on tirades about lizard people or how the Illuminati faked the moon landing, you have some understanding of my love-hate relationship with ELEX. It’s a sprawling, ambitious, Euro-style RPG in the tradition of series like The Witcher and Gothic, and there’s plenty to admire peppered across its more than 50 hours of adventuring. But while it spends about half its time making me want to sing its praises, it spends the other half making me want to pull every single hair out of my scalp.
The seamless open world is built on a strong foundation of detailed lore that feels unlike anything the genre has thrown at us before. There are dazzling sci-fi elements like super soldiers and radioactive mutants, but also a clan of woodsy wizards who shun all technology. There are exciting influences from Fallout and Mad Max, with sand-blown, post-apocalyptic ruins and gangs of mercenaries in biker leathers, but also a medieval-ish religious order that worships the god of machines. Somehow, it all fits together in a way that feels interconnected and believable. The sheer uniqueness always left me wanting to dig deeper and learn more.