The RPG that made me question everything
When playing a video game, specifically a role playing game, you usually accept certain things to be true.
You will gain experiences points.
You will most likely level up your character.
You will kill a lot of people and/or monsters.
And you will make decisions.
Normally these decisions consist solely of what section of the map you want to explore, and which group of people/monsters you decided to kill first. If you're lucky (such as in the case with Skyrim) you'll get more emergent gameplay, and the game mechanics and systems will allow for more choice. That is to say you might not be able to plan everything, and random happenings will allow for the game to feel more immersive.
Similar to these emergent types of experiences, the decisions you make in Elex have more weight than in your average RPG. One wrong answer during a conversation with an NPC, and a full story line might be closed off to you for good.
These conversations not only increase or decrease your 'cold' level (a gauge on just how emotional your character is), but they also affect who you'll be working with, and who you'll be working against.
The only game that comes to mind that is similar in it’s approach is Fallout, but Elex seems to have more actual ‘life’ hanging in the balance. The world feels more tangible, even with it’s sometimes janky dialogue.
Most importantly in this game there is a
very real fear of making the wrong choice.
I knew a choice that angered someone could result in me having to defend myself, and ultimately kill the other person. I didn’t want blood on my hands! I just wanted to agree to disagree.
That said, this is one thing I would’ve liked to see more in Elex. The ability to have some gray areas, but I am fully aware at how many branching paths that would’ve created.
Oddly enough i’m reminded of the flame wars online when two people can’t agree, and instead they decide to ‘kill’ each other with words. Art imitates life?
The other interesting thing is that these decisions seem to spring up on you when you least expect them.
Once I met a Separatist fighter who was roaming the land, and he asked me if I liked the neighboring faction the Clerics. I had to make a decision right then and there, as there was no way for me to back out of the dialogue. I told the truth and said I had no legitimate beef with the Clerics, and the Separatist seemed mad.
Mad enough to charge right at me and demand we fight to the death.
He attacked me immediately, and I had to fight off this person I had just met. Such is the life in Elex, and such is the importance of it’s dilemmas.
There’s so much more to this game, and I intend on documenting my full experience with it later .. but for now know this.
Elex makes you question your approach, and builds your path accordingly.
It takes away the act of button mashing through dialogue, and implores the player to think about their decisions (and convictions).
Sure, some of the choices don’t ultimately matter .. but most of them do. Do you believe in a religion based on science? Do you support the hippies in the woods trying to save the world? Or are you a renegade and just in it for the shards (shards is money in this game .. I know I know .. what? another currency?). Who will you side with? Who do you trust?
And who will trust you?