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November 10th, 2017, 00:22
Had a MAJOR battle yesterday which took several attempts to find a winning strategy. As part of a quest for Arx, I took on an Elex filled cyclops, a couple of Patrons and a few assorted mutants. Earned over 1000XP plust the quest reward, but it felt like a REAL achievment when I was finally able to beat them all.
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November 10th, 2017, 02:45
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Oh dear. I guess it's possible to lose more respect for PC Gamer.
Don't forget this bit:
Enemies have the same stats from hour one on, meaning that much of the world at start—90% or more—is totally, brutally inaccessible to you on pain of death. Playing this game, even on its easiest difficulties, you will save constantly and re-load just as much.

That inaccessibility can be frustrating because most quests you find will involve or require combat. You’ll get a quest and try to solve it only to discover it’s something you’ll have to come back to in ten or fifteen hours.
…they think it's a negative
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November 10th, 2017, 02:52
"Enemies have the same stats from hour one on, meaning that much of the world at start—90% or more—is totally, brutally inaccessible to you on pain of death. Playing this game, even on its easiest difficulties, you will save constantly and re-load just as much."

This is one of the reasons I love PB games. This one included. It feels more realistic and gives the world a real sense of danger. Also when you get to go back and defeat that impossible enemy 20 levels later, it feels great.
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November 10th, 2017, 03:17
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Had a MAJOR battle yesterday which took several attempts to find a winning strategy. As part of a quest for Arx, I took on an Elex filled cyclops, a couple of Patrons and a few assorted mutants. Earned over 1000XP plust the quest reward, but it felt like a REAL achievment when I was finally able to beat them all.
Patrons and cyclops enemies are easy once you figure:
Spoiler


My issues early on are the big moloch mutants, they turn at a medium pace but they hit like a truck and hit relatively fast. You are also dead if they manage to ram you.

That said, the hardest enemies for melee characters are the mechs, because they rise up and stomp you causing you to fall over and if you have unlucky timing, they hit you with both their shots and you are dead.
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November 10th, 2017, 03:19
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Don't forget this bit:

…they think it's a negative
Well they don't really know any better, I'd guess. Which is why I am in favor of in-game education.

I also bet some of them may even believe that the developers don't know what they're doing and the design is a mistake, or an oversight, lol.
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November 10th, 2017, 04:38
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
@Alistair - at low level you can
  • take a sidekick with you
  • lure beasts to human enemies, so that they kill each other
  • buy grenades and kill everything
  • learn how to block with a shield
  • make a lot of healing potions
  • use the terrain to your advantage
  • regain stamina by leaving combat for a short time and attack again
  • learn the combat pattern of the enemies
  • or run
Right, plus use non melee weapons, or some of the powerful SPOILERS left around certain appropriate locations, which I thought was a very nice setting-appropriate way for you character to get an advantage.

But I'm not saying it should be more survivable, I'm saying it should be more enjoyable. And in PB games enjoyment comes from understanding the world and your options in it, but that's not the same as enjoyable swordfights… which would benefit from less clunky movement.
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November 10th, 2017, 04:53
Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
Right, plus use non melee weapons, or some of the powerful SPOILERS left around certain appropriate locations, which I thought was a very nice setting-appropriate way for you character to get an advantage.

But I'm not saying it should be more survivable, I'm saying it should be more enjoyable. And in PB games enjoyment comes from understanding the world and your options in it, but that's not the same as enjoyable swordfights… which would benefit from less clunky movement.
Melee weapons are harder to play with, but I have beaten the game on ultra twice with melee weapons, once with sword and shield and another with a two handed axe. The game isnt THAT hard. I think the game has definitely found a sweet spot for casual and hardcore gamers who like a challenge alike.
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November 10th, 2017, 05:11
I think that a better tutorial would have probably netted PB an extra 5 points in each review. Better, more precise combat would have also netted an extra 5 points. Also, 5 more points for a more forgiving newbie area.

Wow, right there you have scores ranging from 80 to 90 points depending on the reviewer!
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November 10th, 2017, 08:52
It's funny how game journalists praise the difficulty in Dark Souls but criticise it in Elex.
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November 10th, 2017, 09:06
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
It's funny how game journalists praise the difficulty in Dark Souls but criticise it in Elex.
Yup! Weird thing, that.
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November 10th, 2017, 11:29
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I'll leave that to smart cats like @Maylander and I'll just enjoy the games. And occasionally take useful bits from user reviews who just leave Positive or Negative as a rating (which is a much better system, IMO.)
ELEX is a very hard game to accurately review, so I understand the reviewers to a certain extent, but what I dislike about a lot of the ones we see in the mainstream is that too many dismiss it entirely. Often without even trying to highlight the actual strengths, so people can make up their own minds on whether or not it's a good fit.
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November 10th, 2017, 12:08
Many reviewers are just doing their 'job' and don't really care about the game itself.
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November 10th, 2017, 14:24
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I gave up on rating games with numbers. I mean, how can you compare ELEX, a game made by 29 people, to similar games made by teams 5 times the size (or more) of PB, and still use the same rating scale? That doesn't compute to me.

Also, ELEX technically has lower production values, is not as polished as the bigger dev games (relatively speaking it's excellently polished, but again, that is relative), and more. For what it DOES accomplish, it's amazing. And for the cost and team size, how do you factor that in?

I'll leave that to smart cats like @Maylander and I'll just enjoy the games. And occasionally take useful bits from user reviews who just leave Positive or Negative as a rating (which is a much better system, IMO.)
There used to be a movie review program on tv called At eh Movies with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. They would describe the movie, give you pros and cons, and give a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. That is how i would give game reviews. I don't need some arbitrary score. Just give me a thumbs up or thumbs down. Besides, what is the difference between a 80 and 78? Is that good or bad?
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November 10th, 2017, 18:56
Originally Posted by Svartie View Post
Its like having a 15 y old hip - hopper commenting on Deep Purple, no offense. (ok maybe a little).
I can't leave this one alone. When I was 15 I listened to hip hop, AND Deep Purple. I'm 42. An updated/better example would be

having a 15 yr old Skrillex fan comment on the finer points of Bach.

Of course that's entirely possible.
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November 10th, 2017, 19:13
Originally Posted by Dilvish View Post
I think that a better tutorial would have probably netted PB an extra 5 points in each review. Better, more precise combat would have also netted an extra 5 points. Also, 5 more points for a more forgiving newbie area.

Wow, right there you have scores ranging from 80 to 90 points depending on the reviewer!
I agree. They could improve their reception a great deal with sharper combat, and some effort given to designing the early game to somewhat funnel the newbie through manageable areas, that also act as tutorials. I think that could be done without compromising on the strengths of their approach.
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November 10th, 2017, 19:21
Well, I read the PC Gamer review and I think it was an excellent review and had it's intended effect - I want to play this game even more than before! Long live PB and these kinda games!!
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November 10th, 2017, 22:05
Get past the beginning and ELEX is one goldmine of a great game -- a near masterpiece in many ways. To be able to mix gothic Berserkers with futuristic Clerics, and old western style Outlaws, and (this is the hard part) to coherently integrate all of these via an overarching story is truly fantastic. And PB did it.

But players will never see the rich insides of ELEX unless they get past the tough outer skin. And that skin is indeed tough for novices, and apparently some mainstream reviewers. It appears that it's not only beauty but also ugly that is skin deep.

Really PB owes it not only to players, but even more to themselves, to tenderize that outer skin. Sales on ELEX aren't particularly good; I wonder if they've even passed the break even mark. Steamspy puts steam sales at 110k plus or minus 10k. Assuming GOG is similar and console sales are possibly the same, one gets total sales of 320k-350k. That calculates to about 8-12 million dollars net return (my best guess). Can't be a lot of profit there.

A tender outer skin that could be selected by casual players (hell, call 'em normal players, just for the sake of sales) could easily double or triple sales. Don't need to make any changes for the "PB traditional style player" keep that as it is now. More enjoyment for more players. More return and future for PB, and more games for us.

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November 10th, 2017, 22:32
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
Get past the beginning and ELEX is one goldmine of a great game -- a near masterpiece in many ways. To be able to mix gothic Berserkers with futuristic Clerics, and old western style Outlaws, and (this is the hard part) to coherently integrate all of these via an overarching story is truly fantastic. And PB did it.

But players will never see the rich insides of ELEX unless they get past the tough outer skin. And that skin is indeed tough for novices, and apparently some mainstream reviewers. It appears that it's not only beauty but also ugly that is skin deep.

Really PB owes it not only to players, but even more to themselves, to tenderize that outer skin. Sales on ELEX aren't particularly good; I wonder if they've even passed the break even mark. Steamspy puts steam sales at 110k plus or minus 10k. Assuming GOG is similar and console sales are possibly the same, one gets total sales of 320k-350k. That calculates to about 8-12 million dollars net return (my best guess). Can't be a lot of profit there.

A tender outer skin that could be selected by casual players (hell, call 'em normal players, just for the sake of sales) could easily double or triple sales. Don't need to make any changes for the "PB traditional style player" keep that as it is now. More enjoyment for more players. More return and future for PB, and more games for us.

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I think if they toned down the difficulty of the start, it would be a betrayal of their long time fans and Bjorn in that twitch stream with Gamasutra said they didnt want to do that.

As for the total sales, Risen 3 sold 90k total on MS Windows(physical copies) according to VG Chartz, another 150k on consoles but I cant get steam sales on Risen 3. So Risen 3 has about 250k sales excluding Steam and GoG. Elex already has more reviews on Steam than Risen 3 even though IIRC you dont even have to own the game on Steam to make the review back then. So the likelihood of Elex selling over a million overall is pretty much guaranteed. I think they would be very happy with that.
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November 10th, 2017, 22:42
"Tenderizing the outer skin" is a bit ambiguous to say the least. Is this just fancy talk for "make the game easier"?

Look, I'm all for difficulty options and letting casual or non-hardcore fans play any game. But with the way PB designs their games, I feel like education is more important, not simply adding an Easy Mode.

It's like Dark Souls. If there was a Story Mode in that game, would anyone play? The joy people find in Dark Souls is navigating very dangerous enemies, dying a million times and tackling obstacles until they overcome them. Sure, a Story Mode would help some people (I am in favor of games adding that actually), but that game series did pretty well without From Software making the game Easy Street, so ELEX can do the same.

The main difference IMO, is the lack of education and understanding of PB's world mechanics. Whereas something like Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a diehard, huge fanbase that will adapt quicker to a similar style of world out of sheer will alone (that Zelda game has maybe the closest to a PB world so far), nobody knows PB in comparison, thus they don't have that luxury.

So I feel like much better tutorials as @Ripper pointed out would help. I wouldn't funnel areas much in the beginning, because that's not really solving the problem long-term, as soon as they get out of those linear areas they are going to be stuck again (they were thinking the linear areas were what the whole game was like.) But some sort of more in-your-face explanations are needed. Example:

At the start, you talk to Duras and at one point get a message on screen that says:

"Magalan is dangerous. Duras can help you survive." Something like this.

That little message is not nearly enough. The game should actually pause with a screen that pops up giving you more information. Blatant, easy-to-understand information in large lettering.

"ELEX is a real RPG. Magalan is dangerous and you CAN die around every corner. You will have to make friends with a clan if you want to survive, as they can provide you with work to buy much-needed weapons, armor and other equipment. You will need to get stronger and develop your skills if you want to survive, and always bring a friend (companion) along with you. If you roam the world unprotected, prepare to run as you WILL likely be killed by anything that moves."

I know that is a bit wordy, but at least a pause screen forces the gamer to at least try and read what is on screen. I barely saw that Duras message as it only flashes for a second.

Other tutorials would help, too, explaining the other systems. As long as these options can be turned OFF in the settings, then it wouldn't intrude on anyone's game who didn't want those options. But the first time you boot up the game after you purchase it, you'll have to see the tutorials. From every session after that you can turn them off.

Next, I'd add an in-game Codex. This will only be seen by those who are lured into the game and have been playing for a bit, but it could still help explain their philosophies better. Add actual topics in the list, such as "How the open-world is built." or "Important information about combat.", etc.. Give those who want to learn it a bit more the information in-game to do so. NBA 2K (a much bigger budget series, granted) has in-game VIDEO tutorials, too, showing you how to execute advanced moves and explaining concepts in the game (it's a very complex game.) If ELEX or these hardcore RPG devs can somehow afford things like that, it could make a huge difference.

Bottom line to me is that people need education about this type of RPG. It's really the same as Dark Souls, just that it takes a different route to the same goal of overcoming obstacles slowly and handling a pretty high challenge level. I feel that people just aren't used to this type of experience in the modern RPG market. It's like some weird alien design.

Dunno, just my 2 on this. And a Story Mode could still be added for those who just want to have no challenge at all. But I just don't think altering the core experience to try and cater to all would be a very good idea.
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November 10th, 2017, 23:36
@Fluent & @Damian

It doesn't have to be complicated or result in changing the game in any way for PB experienced players. For the casual ("normal") players, just start them out at higher attributes and skills (scale the remaining attributes to 100), without telling them. Keep everything else the same. Change nothing for players who choose "PB Traditional Player".

Viola!. Outer skin is tenderized for novices -- but same for PB Traditional players.

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