You know, I haven’t touched Solasta’s DLC since I wrote about it — what a shame. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for crunchy DND combat, but mostly — I mean, Solasta was a great system with an Okay campaign, but one that had a lot of room for improvement, and in the few hours I spent with the DLC campaign, that just wasn’t there. Okay, fine.
But what do you do when you’re a making a sequel to what is unarguably and objectively the finest open-world Eurojank ever made? Elex, oh, fucking Elex, it just takes everything that Piranha Bytes has been working towards since Gothic, perfects it, and adds a motherfucking jetpack. If Elden Ring is a 9/10 game, it is only because it does not have a jetpack to it.
Well, I’m like 3-4 hours in Elex II, and I am oh so absorbed, but, you know, it’s so far the exact same experience as the first game. This is par for the course — like, that bit about Piranha Bytes working on something since Gothic, that’s absolutely serious: They are perhaps even more iterative than most. Whether we’re talking about Gothic, Risen, or now Elex, you always play a lone dude who looks like a thumb, there are always three factions to join, the world is absolutely littered with thousands of hand-placed items, the monsters are tough and will kill you quickly, you can go to trainers to build your character in whatever direction you please — if you’ve played one of these games, you’ve played them all, and Elex II is just the 2022 version.
Now, I suppose I said some of that when I was first playing Elden Ring; it took a couple of sessions to really appreciate what that game does different from all of its predecessors, and that really didn’t come into play until I got a handle on the world. I’ve not explored very much of Elex II yet, so it can surprise me — but on the other hand, everything really does look the same as the first game, we are in a different corner of the land with a lot of overlap.
I think a lot of it would be hitting stronger if I remembered anything about the plot of Elex which, I’m sorry to say, I do not. The factions are the same, with an additional one that I don’t remember if it existed in the first game or not, but they’ve shuffled their bases around. You keep meeting old friends that I’ve absolutely forgotten about. Look, it’s not a game that you play for the plot, it’s a game you play for the jetpack.
And I must absolutely stress how much fun it is to play around with that jetpack. I am still absolutely absorbed in the Elex II and am rushing through writing this just so I can play some more. Would I have gotten more out of replaying Elex? Should I have replayed Elex before this? These are great questions!