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November 9th, 2017, 22:10
Two more (wannabe) reviews for ELEX - most reviewers out there simply can't handle the game and don't understand a non-auto-leveled open world:

Select Button: ELEX Review - 7/10

PC Gamer: ELEX Review - 64/100

More information.
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November 9th, 2017, 22:10
My thoughts exactly.
Both those reviews feel as if a pop singer went to comment rocket science.
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November 9th, 2017, 22:12
Sadly both of you are 100% correct. Which is why I firmly believe devs who make games like this could benefit greatly from more involved tutorials, etc. in the game to help players understand their games better.

Tutorials, an in-game codex, more in-your-face tips (that seasoned players can turn off but newbies can keep on, etc..)

Could make a decent difference IMO.
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November 9th, 2017, 22:18
In a non-auto-leveled open world you meet challenges that can be
  1. way too hard
  2. too hard
  3. challenging
  4. normal
  5. easy
  6. way too easy
depending on your current skills/gear/gaming skills and the difficulty level of the game.
Some gamers have fun to try 1-3 =(attack greater enemies with a low developed character), some wait until there are experienced enough, and some are doing non-combat quests and pick flowers until everything is easy.
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November 9th, 2017, 22:20
I'd even add Impossible to the list. In most of PB's games you can find enemies that are basically impossible at lower level. Or so hard it might as well be impossible and not even dared at low level.

There are many ways to adapt in PB's games, though. Because of the lack of scaling you can do things like find powerful scrolls early on and use them to kill harder enemies, and so on. In ELEX you can definitely adapt. Do quests, avoid the danger in the very dangerous world, make friends and only try and fight when you're actually well-equipped. Just as Duras and the others explained it to you.

A perfect style for this type of open-world RPG, IMHO.
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November 9th, 2017, 22:26
It is quite fascinating how these professional game journalists can't just cope with how this game is designed. Those aspects which the reviewer finds frustrating clearly bring pure joy and enjoyment to so many people. I think these guys have become so used to winning in games that they become frustrated when you just can't do that. They expect world to scale constantly on their level. They like having their virtual safe space sort of. In pbs games, you have to earn it. Put some work and stop whining about the unfairness.

So my message to professional reviewers is this:

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November 9th, 2017, 22:48
Select Button: ELEX Review - 7/10

PC Gamer: ELEX Review - 64/100

I'd probably give ELEX a 6/10 or 7/10 anyway. Not because of the challenging difficulty level and free-form design - those are huge pluses in my book. How absurd.
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November 9th, 2017, 23:11
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.)
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November 9th, 2017, 23:15
Its like having a 15 y old hip - hopper commenting on Deep Purple, no offense. (ok maybe a little).
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November 9th, 2017, 23:20
Or like an old rock head commenting on the lyrical content and depth of Nas or Talib Kweli. No offense (not even a little).
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November 9th, 2017, 23:21
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Sadly both of you are 100% correct. Which is why I firmly believe devs who make games like this could benefit greatly from more involved tutorials, etc. in the game to help players understand their games better.

Tutorials, an in-game codex, more in-your-face tips (that seasoned players can turn off but newbies can keep on, etc..)

Could make a decent difference IMO.
I agree with this 100%, or even 110%.

I enjoy games which do not spoon feed the player, but I think spoon-feeding as much as possible is good in the beginning of a game to counteract the barrier many people have in being able to enjoy non-easy games. Take time to create a very good tutorial and I think it would greatly help sales.
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November 9th, 2017, 23:29
Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
I agree with this 100%, or even 110%.

I enjoy games which do not spoon feed the player, but I think spoon-feeding as much as possible is good in the beginning of a game to counteract the barrier many people have in being able to enjoy non-easy games. Take time to create a very good tutorial and I think it would greatly help sales.
Yep, that's what I think too.

They tried to be blatant and in-your-face with the Duras opening conversation, but even that is too subtle.

More tutorials that are also easier to understand, an in-game Codex (where you can read about different features, philosophies of the developers and how the game works) and whatever other clever tricks they can fit in would be the best option IMO.

Difficulty levels might be a small part of the solution but they aren't a solution in the long run. Because as others have pointed out, that changes the core experience too much, and you may end up even getting negative reviews that the game is too easy, etc..

PB already has an option to turn the Tutorial off in the settings, so that is good for long-time players. But the intro needs to be more newb friendly. Note that does NOT mean making the game easier or "dumbing it down", etc.. But rather educating the player more than they currently do on how the game works.

Education is key, really.
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November 9th, 2017, 23:58
I haven't read those two reviews, but I'm not sure difficulty is the only issue people have. I wonder if it's more that being low powered isn't that enjoyable. Not because you reload all the time, but because you have limited options right then - really just run (or fly There's not much skill or choice to those. Then stiff animations don't show you that you're being over-powered by an alien beast, they just have you standing there til you're dead again.

I wonder if a less severe stamina limit, and a quicker transition into sprinting, would maybe offset some of that.
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November 10th, 2017, 00:05
I'm so disappointed in PC Gamer. There was a time i couldn't wait for a new edition. Now, i don't care what they have to say.
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November 10th, 2017, 00:05
Oh dear. I guess it's possible to lose more respect for PC Gamer.

It’s not worth going into details, but you’ll be grinding kills and selling everything you find to get equipment in the late game. Beyond that, weapons have stat requirements, so if you’re not careful with timing your upgraded weapon you can be unable to wield it. The entire system is an insult to the player’s time and attention.
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November 10th, 2017, 00:08
@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
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November 10th, 2017, 00:11
Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
I haven't read those two reviews, but I'm not sure difficulty is the only issue people have. I wonder if it's more that being low powered isn't that enjoyable. Not because you reload all the time, but because you have limited options right then - really just run (or fly There's not much skill or choice to those. Then stiff animations don't show you that you're being over-powered by an alien beast, they just have you standing there til you're dead again.

I wonder if a less severe stamina limit, and a quicker transition into sprinting, would maybe offset some of that.
You don't reload. I have barely died in 100+ hours with the game. If you understand the world is dangerous you don't try to fight some deadly looking creature. Once you understand that there's very little reloading.

And sure, it might be fun to kill a dragon at level 1, but that's not the core design of PB games. For plenty of people this type of design is more fun than the alternatives.

Finally I'd say being low powered is my favorite part of an RPG. In ELEX I'm having a blast running and trying to survive in this crazy dangerous world. Every advancement towards actual power is very rewarding, much more than any other action RPGs in this style. When you finally get a companion and can simply "sometimes survive" in the world, it's a great feeling of accomplishment. Because you worked hard to survive without one for that long.

So I don't want to write a thesis but these features do not objectively make the game any lesser than its counterparts. It's a design philosophy, not poor execution.
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November 10th, 2017, 00:12
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
Yep! And that stuff is very FUN! In a different way than just murdering everything that moves.

You can do other things too you didn't list, like hunt for powerful scrolls, buy grenades, etc.. You have to explore. It helps to explore in "danger zone" areas (poison/radiation/etc., make food to survive there), and if you are really careful you can get nice items to sell and make money to buy better stuff by looting powerful beast lairs (use the jetpack and be sneaky!)

It's simply a different type of experience that isn't used much in the genre, really.
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November 10th, 2017, 00:15
Those work at higher levels too!!
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November 10th, 2017, 00:18
The design is also sort of a "survival in a very dangerous world" one, too. It's not your typical game in that regard. Every battle is a BIG DEAL mostly, not just trivial combat like in most RPGs. If you win a battle you get a serious sense of accomplishment and can exhale.

Their games are very strict but very rewarding in the long term. Other games go for short term gratification.
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