ELEX II – Review
Follow Genre: Open-world RPG, Action
Developer: Piranha Bytes
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series X|S, PC
Tested on: PC

ELEX II – Review

Site Score
Good: Continuing the ELEX story for fans
Bad: Story is worse, Game is even more chaos now, Buggy
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(0 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

It’s been a good four or five years since we played ELEX and while we, like many other reviewers, had our doubts about the game as a whole, it did eventually reach some type of cult status. True fans swear the game is good with a great story and are very happy there is a second part that continues the adventures of beloved protagonist Jax. We are somewhat skeptical after the review of the first game, but we are obviously happy to see ELEX getting a sequel for the die-hard fans. What does it have in store for us?


The story in ELEX II follows the one from its prequel directly. The main protagonist Jax did great things to stop evil, but there was an ominous dark presence hanging in the sky in the end. While he tried to warn everybody about it, nobody cared, and “humans forget easily” according to ELEX II. This already sounds like absolute crap since a great dark evil-looking thing in the sky is always going to draw everybody’s attention, and so this introduction set the standard for the bad writing that will continue throughout the game, especially during the first few hours. Because nobody believed Jax, he decided to adapt himself to a hermit lifestyle in a small hut, sometimes taking care of his son Dex. On a certain day though, the ominous dark something started to fire from the sky, and pod-like structures with creatures landed, destroying his hut, causing him to get infected from a bite, and separating him from his son. This motivation is forcing him on an adventure as the world is under attack.

The main problem with the story is that the pace feels terribly off and forced. While any good RPG takes its time, in ELEX II you are just rushed in a way. Jax is losing consciousness quite fast after he takes a nasty fall and a bite to his arm, but luckily an old man takes care of him. Jax quickly realizes he needs to find his son to make sure he is safe and sets out to find Dex’s mother. He hears she and her people got attacked by Morkons (enemies of the Berserkers faction you belong to) and she decided to chase them. So there’s your first quest: Find the Dex’s mother to find your kid! Oh wait, you walked 10 paces and suddenly you are already at the fort where she’s at! The motivation of characters generally feels off and cheap, and there is no build-up that leads to something more than superficial choices or paths. Even as a “concerned parent” at the start of the game, the writing does not make it actually feel like you are concerned. Aside from some small story bits that were alright, we are very sorry for fans of the first game. Maybe you’ll still like it, but the writing in ELEX II is simply not good.



While the visual world-building with models in this game is just as good as the first game, it also looked quite broken to us. We still love the combination of new and old, the scrap metal that was once a car, the glowy magic-like ELEX-infused weapons, the Viking-like huts, and the sci-fi-looking armor and buildings. It’s a mix of everything, and it’s what makes ELEX stand out as a franchise. We did not, however, like the random clipping issues with the models, the player hovering over random basic assets, and the poor visual communication that the game has when it comes to, for example, the game’s supposed quest interface. Especially when it comes to this type of visual communication that’s important for UI, UX design, and the overall player experience, the game still hasn’t learned from its previous flaws. It’s like they almost literally continued the first part and put a “2” behind the title while all the critiques of the original seem to be cast aside. We even encountered a few game-breaking bugs only moments into the game.


Most of the music is alright. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from an open-world type of game, with a mix of cinematic and orchestral music in the background. Sometimes a track just seems a bit out of place, but this is not uncommon for open-world games where the music doesn’t always match what is going on. The sound effects are quite alright too and not too shabby with plenty of grunts and battle sounds present. The voice acting, however, is generally not really good at all. The lines spoken by most actors are just unbelievable and sometimes come out as a huge cliché, which emphasizes the bad writing even more.



ELEX II has everything you would expect from an open-world action RPG in its foundation. The game has fierce creatures roaming around, quests to complete and a whole offering of melee, ranged, and magic combat. While it has all those essentials, the game is simply not always fun to play. First of all, we have tedious long runs from one place to another. These runs often lead you to hard-to-reach places on mountains. ELEX II gives you, like ELEX, a jetpack to possibly reach those places a bit easier, but it takes forever to upgrade the jetpack and make it actually useful to reach those places. The few seconds it works at the beginning are as disappointing as your Tinder date.

The combat is rather fun, though it’s just doing damage with one or two attacks and dodging incoming attacks. That being said, locking on a target in combat doesn’t give you any clear visual feedback, and it’s all done in an automated fashion. You won’t exactly be able to choose what target you’re actually locked on to, and this is very frustrating. Changing your field of vision to another enemy will automatically make you lock on to that one instead of the one you were fighting.

The world-design also does not give a crap about what level you are. Low-level monsters and high levels are scattered around every bit of the world, and we more than once died of a random creature just smashing our heads out of nowhere. Since you are responsible for pretty much every save file in the game, this is either infuriating or will make you shrug your shoulders in not caring, and eventually just closing the game. Other encounters included stepping on a landmine, forcing us to reload our earlier save file and play through the same section again.


Upgrading your skills is also essentially the same as in ELEX. To get a skill such as lockpicking or combat upgrades, you need to discover a specific trainer first and have loads of items. For example, to upgrade your jetpack, you need a lot of money and a stack of fuel. ELEX II just suffers from weird design choices that eventually impact the game negatively. There are so many good RPG games out there with good designs and progress options that properly introduce you to the game. The ELEX games could have taken notes from these games, but instead, it seems they insist on being stubbornly original in everything they do. Well, originality is not great in this case.


The world of ELEX II looks cool, the sound is alright, and the combat is mostly simple but effective. Everything else is disappointing though. The writing is bad and the overall progress system has really not been properly designed. You can die anywhere at all times without good reason, and that just sucks. You need to run a lot and deal with bad voice acting, and it’s not fun. Like ELEX, this might be just one for the real fans.

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I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for 3rd-strike.com since 2017.

1 Comment

  1. […] ELEX II, the highly ambitious Science-Fantasy-RPG developed by Piranha Bytes, is set to conquer Mac next month. After a successful release on Windows PC and consoles, Mac users will soon have the opportunity to dive into the captivating world of ELEX II. The game will be available on the Mac App Store, showcasing its cutting-edge graphics powered by GPU-driven pipelines with the Indirect Command Buffer approach. […]

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