Element Space – Review
Follow Genre: Sci-Fi, Strategy, Combat Turn-based, Role-Playing Game
Developer: Sixth Vowel, Inca Games
Publisher: Blowfish Studios
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: PS4

Element Space – Review

Site Score
5.9
Good: The story and the world presented shows a lot of potential to be enjoyed from the game.
Bad: The game feels incomplete with the bugs needed to be worked out and polishing required in a number of areas of the game.
User Score
4.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.0/10 (3 votes cast)

One small step into space, one giant leap for Element Space, with it now being available to play on console. Element Space is a video game developed by Inca Games and Sixth Vowel and published by Blowfish Studio. It entered the domain of PC games last year, and has now transitioned onto consoles. It was released on the 24th of March 2020 for PS4 and Xbox One. It is a Strategy, Roleplaying, Turn-Based Combat game, set in the year 2199. In this action-packed game, a big universe that addresses political themes is unpacked.

Story

Captain Christopher Pietham and his squad take on a terrorist group called Tempest. Tempest has orchestrated a number of coordinated attacks. These attacks ultimately bring chaos to an already frail peace between the factions of the Galactic Congress. Captain Pietham and crew are then framed by the Tempest. This gives them the heavy task of having to clear their names and save humanity. As the player, you narrate from which political viewpoint to take the story forward. This also gives the game more than one version of an ending.

The story of the game is immersive which makes it enjoyable. The playable characters in the game bring the story to life, putting the human in humanity. The most pleasant highlight of the game is the storytelling, with other areas tending to bring the game back to Earth. The story feels like the backbone of the game however the User Interface (UI) is where it goes wrong, which will be elaborated in the sections below.

Graphics

The game has a very appealing and attractive art design to it. The colors are bright and the different worlds you explore tie in with the thought behind the story of the game. It has to be noted that this game has taken a few notes from XCOM, a Combat Turn-Based Strategy Sci-Fi Game that has claimed the number one spot in the genre by most. This game has an isometric view which gives it an old-school feel, yet also a fresh breath into the genre of Combat Turn-Based Strategy Sci-Fi.

There would be cutscenes where the characters’ actions are parallel to what the character said, but at times the movement made the voice acting look like a badly dubbed film. Another way of expressing action and dialogue is when two characters are having a conversation and the game shows a still image of themselves and the dialogue displayed on the screen, allowing you to read along.

Another great feature is the ‘kill cam’, which allows you as the player to choose to use a turn to take a shot at an enemy. This was also shown in slow-motion, making it very satisfying as you took the shot. A bad aspect, however, to the ‘kill cam’ was how it didn’t always have a smooth transition during the playthrough. This becomes more noticeable when you see this action regularly in a game and how erratic it is. The ‘kill cam’ can also be shown from a view that is awkwardly blocked to the player, meaning it does not function very well in all situations. Even so, the game is not too demanding on graphics; it pieces together an appealing presentation for the majority of the game with some issues. It is when other factors are tied into the game as a whole, you see the glitchy aspects and it loses a full star rating.

Sound

The soundtrack to the game is well suited to a Space themed game. It has an orchestra style to it where you can hear the tempo of the game action increase with the sounds of the violin. Later in the game, there is more of a beat. This makes it hip and confident, transitioning seamlessly with the pace of the story and situation. This shows that the tone is set in different scenarios appropriately. When moving to the next stage of the game and having to have a battle with a number of enemies, the music does create a sense of intensity while you are playing. This gives it a layer of immersion in the game. 

The sound accompanied by the user interface is nothing spectacular but it does achieve the feel of working with space equipment. The sound of gunfire and the destruction of the boxes you take cover behind is decently executed. For every positive, there is a negative with this game. The voice acting is not of the greatest but as the game progresses, it actually grows on you. That could be the saving grace of the genre of the game and the nostalgia attached to it, as the story develops in the game, the voice acting seems to back the story and give more life to it.

Gameplay

In this science fiction inspired game, you are tasked with leading a team into a number of battles as Captain Pietham. In order to expose the terrorists, Tempest and save the universe along with all its inhabitants. The UI is where the ball drops and thereafter the bugs come out. When you enter a battle, you are given two actions, a primary and a secondary. The primary is your attack, heal or disable an enemy shield, whereas secondary is where you want to position the player for cover during battle. There is an indicator to inform you of how much cover is given from the position taken. However, it feels like a gamble most of the time if you are covered from a particular angle, or if you are in range of being shot. These actions can be taken in any order however if you position your character quite far, they sprint and use primary and secondary actions to execute this. The controls of the game give you the impression that this is a game originally made for PC and has not transitioned well to a PS4 controller yet. The cursor you use can sometimes overshoot as you are dragging it into the desired position which can be (excuse the pun) a bit of a drag. When moving through to the next level or battle, this can become annoying as you have to keep selecting a position for your squad to move to until destination. This would be easy with a PC mouse but with a PS4 controller in this game it is difficult. In a combat turn-based game, the player has to think strategically and execute according to their plan. This is probably one of the most frustrating moments of gameplay when the position you clicked on is not exactly what happens in-game and now your character is exposed as you can’t undo the action. There are not too many save points and checkpoints, so if the game were to, for some unknown reason, crash before one is reached, you have to redo the mission again. This can be frustrating in a humorous way, making one feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. This quickly becomes less funny if it crashes again in an attempt to reach the checkpoint the second or third time.

There are different outcomes for the game depending on the choices from the dialogue and actions chosen by the player. Within the dialogue scenes, there are four options that drive the story and allow the player’s chosen narrative to go forward. These choices also allow you to gain allies in the battles to take down The Tempest. Playing as Captain Pietham, you as the player decide which of the four ideologies to follow when tasked with a decision or a reply to a question; humanism, independence, autocracy, and bureaucracy. These ultimately lead you to the various outcomes. The choice is up to you.

Conclusion

Element Space is a game that shows a lot of promise and potential but feels incomplete. The story has definitely been thought out, bringing this universe together, with a focus on political themes and exploring different cultures. Thereafter it starts to drop because of the issues with the Kill Cam, the User Interface and other elements of the game, like the game crashing and not having enough save points. The game feels like it was possibly released too soon and does not feel smooth while playing with the PS4 controller. Once all the elements of the game were combined, some were more refined than others. This leaves you impressed with the story, but frustrated by the potential that is within this game that is not entirely up to standard with the console edition.

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Rating: 4.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Element Space - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ziggy Valentine


I'm a Gaming Content Creator on YouTube and Twitch known as 'raindanceziggy'. Video games are one of the greatest ways in which to tell a story and I am a huge fan of story-driven gaming titles. My dream is to become a professional video editor, writer and use those tools to contribute to the gaming community and leave my mark or at least a high score!

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