Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / ELEX

Go To

ELEX (Eclectic, Lavish, Exhilarating, Xenial) is a Science Fantasy third-person Action RPG developed by Piranha Bytes and published by THQ Nordic, released in October 2017 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Taking place on the fictional world of Magalan, home to a Human civilization roughly equivalent to modern day Earth, after a meteor hit the planet causing the collapse of said civilization. And just to make matters more interesting the meteor brought with it the element Elex, a precious and limited resource which can power advanced machinery, give people magical powers and re-shape creatures into new and different life forms. Four factions are currently warring for control over Elex:

  • Albs: a group of super soldiers who consume Elex to enhance their bodies as well as rid themselves of emotions.
  • Advertisement:
  • Clerics of Calaan: a religious police state where consuming Elex is forbidden and is instead used to power highly advanced weapons technology.
  • Berserkers: a group of warriors who have renounced modern technology and the use of Elex, preferring to purify the substance into Mana to wield magic and restore life to nature.
  • Outlaws: raiders who have no formal leadership and operate with a "survival of the fittest" mentality, use improvised and deadly weaponry, and consume Elex in the form of specialized stimulant drugs.

Described by some as Gothic meets Fallout, you play as Jax, an elite Alb commander who has been betrayed and kicked out of the organization. Hunted by his former organization, and the other factions more than willing to kill him if they find out his past, and dealing with emotions for the first time, the Alb renegade must forge new alliances to survive the wasteland.


A sequel is in the works, having been confirmed by being listed as an eligible project for a EU grant. It was officially announced at E3 2021.

Tropes Include:

  • Action Survivor: Jax starts the game getting his jet fighter shot down, shot in the chest and tossed off a cliff. He then proceeds to reclaim his tile of one of the most dangerous and influential individuals in all of Magalan.
  • Advertised Extra: Ultimately, the Clerics and Outlaws have little impact on the plot outside two story-relevant companions being from the latter faction and a single story quest from both. Meanwhile, the Berserkers are the first faction you meet, have the largest number of sidequests in their home city, their leader is central to the main plot, and both Jax and his brother Kallax were born into their faction before being kidnapped by the albs.
  • After the End: The game takes place after a meteor strike caused civilization on Magalan to collapse.
  • All Trolls Are Different: How exactly Magalan's trolls came to be isn't discussed, but they're huge and covered in fungal growths. They are smart enough to make crappy clothes for themselves, but don't build or make anything else. They often appear next to Forlorn enemies, who are mutated humans, so perhaps trolls are humans who suffered a similar fate.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Reavers, who are pretty much outlaws of the the Outlaws, which should tell you everything you need to know.
  • Anyone Can Die: You can kill just about any character, even plot important ones. You do get a 'history will be altered' warning when you do so. You can even kill quest important characters just by accidentally leading an aggro'ed monster to them.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: The Outlaws would like to play this straight. The other factions, the Clerics especially, are working hard impose their vision of order on the wasteland.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Somewhat subverted as the only faction that actively bases its infrastructure, economy and tech on looting pre-cataclysm ruins are the Outlaws. The Berserkers have purposefully regressed to a medieval tech base and use traditional craftmaking to manufacture relatively simple equipment. The Clerics and Albs have managed to maintain, upgrade and expand pre-cataclysm industries.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Elex. Is serves as fuel, it can produce Mana, it makes you stronger, it enhances weapons and armor, it can make you addicted......the list goes on.
  • Armless Biped: Scavengers, fans of Gothic might remember them, and the various Biter species.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Does a pretty good job of summing up the Outlaws (their name is something of a hint).
  • Badass Army: All the factions, to one degree or another.
    • The Albs are high-tech, emotionless super soldiers who are capable of taking on all the other factions at once; raiding them for slaves and resources.
    • The Berserkers are a group of nature-worshiping magic using medieval warriors who manage to hold their own against the other three more technologically advanced factions.
    • The Clerics are a Church Militant high-tech army, indeed the only other faction in the game that can match or surpass the Albs' tech. The game sums it up as they put their faith in their god Calaan, plasma weapons, mechs and the power of industry.
    • The Outlaws are a near anarchic Army of Thieves and Whores that scavenge weapons and technology from the ruins and use Elex as a combat stimulant.
  • Beef Gate: These are heavily utilized to keep you out of certain areas of the game world early on. Poking your head outside of the starting city of Goliet without first completing some quests in the city, leveling up a few times and getting some better gear is an invitation to be crushed. However, there usually are ways to bypass the high-level mobs and get to most areas.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Subverted. The religious faction is also the most technologically and scientifically advanced.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Some quest names and, more importantly gameplay mechanics, suffer from poor localization. A mission about killing a powerful monster to make a meal out of it ends up being labeled "The Main Entrance" (as opposed to Entree), and Skills often give opaque descriptions that don't reflect what they actually do. One states it reduces "knockback" from parrying, when in fact it simply lets you parry stronger attacks).
  • Blood Knight: There are many character who enjoy combat to an unusual degree. Nasty, an Outlaw, is one prime example. Radok, an Alb, is another. And some character will accuse Jax of being this, though Jax can deny it.
  • Body Horror: Albs are humans who can control their Elex intake and addiction, but humans who can't control it turn into seriously deformed mutants of various types. Elex also causes wildlife to mutate into some truly horrifying beasts.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Most Berseker troops are armed with swords and bows, though a few have battle-axes and/or crossbows instead.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Cleric Suggestors, which are Inquisitors in all but name, are capable of psychically reprogramming people. People who break the law bad enough in Cleric strongholds are sent to Suggestors for reeducation. They have even started raiding Outlaw settlements with the express purpose of taking prisoners for the Suggestors to reprogram into loyal workers and shock troops. And if you join the Clerics you can potentially learn how to do this also.
  • Cain and Abel: Kallax, the Alb commander in charge of carrying out Jax's execution, is Jax's own brother. You spend a good portion of the game hunting him down.
  • Cargo Cult: A lengthy sidequest reveals that Calaan is actually an old-world rocket that failed to take off. If you confront the higher-ranking Clerics about it as a Cleric yourself, they explain that they made the same journey you did, but continue to practice their religion because the ideals created by transcend its origin to them.
  • Cast from Hit Points: A Berserker ability allows you to convert life energy into Mana to power your spells.
  • Church Militant: The Cleric faction in a nutshell.
  • Cool Shades: Often sold at the Outlaw traders, and also part of one Cleric helmet.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Druid viking Magic Knights vs. a religious police state with super-tech vs. Mad Max baddies!
  • Crapsack World: Well, what did you expect? There is a major war between multiple factions after civilization took a major hit from a meteor.
  • Dangerous Deserter: How the Alb loyalists view the Separatists and Jax once they figure out he is alive.
  • Decade Dissonance: You got the Berserkers, pretty much Druid Vikings who have abandoned modern technology, existing only a few miles from the Mad Max-inspired Outlaw (who are armed with modern day weapons) settlements and the high-tech Alb and Cleric bases and fortresses.
  • Detective Mole: Shortly after reaching Goliet Duras asks you to help solve a murder mystery for him. Interview all five-suspects and your quickly come to the conclusion Duras is the murderer. He admits it when pressed and you are given the option of turning him in, framing another Berserker or pointing the blame on somebody outside Goliet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jax has a very cynical and dry wit.
  • Domed Hometown: Abessa, courtesy of the Cleric's technology. It is also difficult to maintain.
  • Doom Troops: Alb soldiers. Emotionless super soldiers dressed in in bone-white and black body armor with skull faced helmets with glowing icy blue eyes.
  • The Dreaded: The Albs have a fearsome reputation among non-Albs, and for good reasons, too. Keeping Jax's past a secret is generally a good idea because of this trope.
  • Drone Deployer: Play nice with the Clerics and they give you the ability to summon their combat drones to help blast your enemies.
  • Early Game Hell: As per tradition in Piranha Bytes games, you start out very weak, with no skills, crap gear, and high level mobs ready to stomp you into the ground if you so much as poke your head out of the starting city.
  • Easy Exp: Reading things, like diary entries from just before the apocalypse, will give a few experience points, which will naturally turn most players into compulsive bibliophiles of weird pre-calamity literature.
    • Little critters like rats, isopods, and automatic vacuum cleaners also give a few points of XP, so they're likely to die in their dozens at your hands.
    • There's an item called "Small Elex Potion" that grants 100 XP on use. These can be crafted at workbenches after players invest a point in the right Ability, and the ingredients are rare, but not impossible to find. It's the only way to gain XP directly from crafting, so players are likely to craft dozens any time they can.
  • Elite Mooks: Each faction has a couple different types of these guys. Typically, they have high-end weapons, armor and various faction specific special abilities.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • A group of Albs calling themselves the Separatists have rebelled against rest of the group and are willing to team up with the other factions to take down the Alb loyalists.
    • Many of the Outlaws and the Berserkers view Alb-Cleric battles as this as the Albs are a Renegade Splinter Faction of the Clerics.
  • Energy Weapon: Both the Clerics and the Albs use laser rifles.
  • Expy: The Clerics have more than a few similarities with the Brotherhood of Steel from Fallout being a high-tech religious military order in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that reveres technology and sees itself as the true guardians of the pre-cataclysm world's legacy.
  • Faceless Goons: All Alb, Cleric and some Outlaw troops have full-face covering helmets.
  • Fantastic Drug: Specialty of the Outlaws, though non-Outlaw-aligned player characters can use them, too. The Outlaws have developed Elex-based drugs to enhance their combat abilities and general survivability. These drugs do things like boost maximum stamina and health, harden the skin like armor, and can even (somehow) improve resistance to radiation. How the drugs are consumed isn't exactly demonstrated, probably for ratings purposes, but the icons in the menu show a syringe and some Outlaw dialogue suggests that at least some of them are smoked.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted. As a post-apocalyptic science fantasy, it is common for many to use technology to survive. The Berserkers, however, would rather play it straight.
  • Feathered Fiend: Biters, one of the primary enemies, appear to be mutated turkeys.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite their tendency to exile anyone who so much as talks about advanced technology, the worst the Berserkers will do to Jax is complain openly whenever you use your jetpack or open your inventory. Should you join the Berserkers, they won't even care if you run around with a laser gun strapped to your back as long as it isn't an off-limits quest-specific one, despite people being exiled for gun ownership. Similarly, you can have a genuine, Elex-using Alb in your party and waltz through the city with no one batting an eye.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: At the end of the game the Hybrid reveals that the comet that destroyed the old world was actually sent by aliens, with the Elex spread by the comet actually being a terraforming agent designed to alter the planet to better suit the aliens. The Hybrid warns that no matter how the battle between you and him goes, the aliens will be coming soon to claim the planet.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The factions that the player can join are this. You can choose between a militaristic, nature worshiping, magic using faction; a freedom-loving, rough and brutal bandit/mercenary faction; or a group of high-tech religious fanatics. This might remind you of other games made by the developers.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Melee weapons have a much longer range than they appear to have. Sometimes a blow that should miss by a wide margin ends up connecting anyway.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: One of the side-quests in Tavar involves dealing with a group of cannibals camped out at an old lighthouse.
    • Despite initially claiming to be a scientist who can read the brains of the dead, Arx is actually a cannibal who eats his fallen foes for the Elex contained in their flesh.
  • Indestructible Edible: Some of the food you can scavenge includes canned goods from before the comet hit, which are decades old by the time the story takes place.
  • Jet Pack: Common Alb equipment, and naturally Jax is able to find his early on. Weirdly, all the Companions are capable of using one as well, even those who are part of the Berserker faction.
  • Karma Meter: In the form of the Cold/Emotional scale. Cold choices, in which you favor logic and ruthlessness, reflect the mindset of the Albs, while more humanistic Emotional choices see you aligning more with the Free People of the world.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flamethrowers are one of the weapons available to you in the game.
  • Klingon Promotion: How Outlaws move up in the ranks.
  • Lack of Empathy: Albs in general, because repeated Elex consumption reduces emotion. Thanks to The Social Darwinist views of their faction, many Outlaw characters are this way as well, though it is not a general rule like with the Albs.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: This is how Alb spells work. They're an item that you can set to your hotbar, and each casting consumes one item. You find a few here and there, but the traders who carry them tend to carry them in large quantities.
  • Machine Worship: The Clerics don't exactly worship technology per se, but they definitely revere it and view it as a blessing from the god Calaan. Though unbeknownst to the majority, Calaan is actually an old-world rocket sitting unlaunched in the south of their territory, making this a bit more literal.
  • Magic Knight: Berserkers again, traditional medieval warriors with some magical powers.
  • Mana: A refined and purified version of Elex and resource unique to the Berserkers. Naturally it is used to power spells.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: The Berserkers are magic-users locked in a cold war with the Outlaws, Albs, and Clerics, all of whom have more advanced technology. Who comes out on top is a question the player will have to answer.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Clerics field humanoid combat robots, along with other types of combat drones and advanced robots, to expand the size of their armies.
  • Minmaxer's Delight: Like many games of its ilk, ELEX has a few.
    • The Chemist skill is a must-have for anyone looking to keep their character up to snuff. There are potions that permanently boost your health, stamina, magic, mental energy, and chem resistance, plus potions that give you XP, more attribute points, and more skill points, and they can only be crafted by characters with the Chemist skill. Crafting these potions require expensive recipes and some rare ingredients, but they're not so rare that you can't craft dozens of each before the end of the game.
    • The skill to craft and place gems in your equipment might seem rather situational, but it's actually a great pick, as your Adjudor (the little Super Wrist-Gadget that serves as the in-game menu) has three slots for gems. Your Adjudicator cannot be removed, so not selecting this skill denies you three permanent buffs. Oh, and since switching out gems costs nothing and can be done at any crafting station, you're also sacrificing serious flexibility in your build.
  • The Musketeer: Many Alb, Cleric and Outlaw troops, along with Jax, have both guns and melee weapons.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Many Outlaw characters. Examples include: Nasty, Iron Maiden, Gunner, Bloody Ben, Mad Bob, etc...
  • Nature Hero: What your character becomes if they join the Berserkers.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game makes even the Gothic II expansion pack look easy by comparison. Everywhere you go, you'll run into monsters and enemies who will kill you in 2 hits and take an ridiculous amount of damage. Not helping is the fact that almost anybody has melee and ranged attacks. Combine that with the sometimes clunky combat system and the fact that good weapons are extremely expensive and need a ton of attribute points and you'll be seeing the Game Over screen dozens of times.
  • Nuke 'em: Logan, the Outlaw leader, has what is for all intents and purposes a nuke. He plans to use it on the Clerics' Headquarters, the Hort.
  • One-Man Army: A high-level Cleric ability is called this, and befitting an ability with that name, it grants you significant combat bonuses when you are traveling without companions.
  • Plasma Cannon: The Clerics and the Albs both use them.
  • Police State: Ignadon, homeland of the Clerics.
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: Worn by the Outlaws and non-aligned characters. The other factions avert this.
  • Press X to Die: Go ahead, tell pretty much any NPC you're a former Alb and see what happens.
  • Prestige Class: What the factions also function as since joining one unlocks a bunch of faction specific special abilities and unique weapons and armor for your character.
  • Psychic Powers: The Clerics have them courtesy of Elex powered technology.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Much like Risen and Gothic before it, the only way to determine that a given enemy is way beyond your level is to start hacking or blasting away and monitor its healthbar. If it doesn't drop fast that is your sign to start running.
    • Though, in this game, they included a skull icon that appears beside the enemy's health bar to indicate that enemy is way too tough for you - as in, nigh impossible to beat unless you're extremely careful and patient - at your current level. Of course, this being a Piranha Bytes game, YMMV whether that addition was for the better or worse. And there are many enemies without that skull icon who can still mop the floor with your face without breaking a sweat.
  • Raptor Attack: Raptors, and some variants, are common elements of Magalan's wildlife. In fact, many creatures and monsters follow the basic velociraptorinae body structure; bipedal, long horizontal tale, a cranium in-line with the tail, and arms and legs jointed like a chicken's. Some of them are more dinosaur-ish than others.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Averted with the Clerics, who have a very prominent red and black color scheme on uniforms, equipment, vehicles, robots and buildings. They are also arguably the nicest of the three factions you can join.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: You might notice there are certain similarities between the armor, weapons, vehicles and equipment used by the Albs and the Clerics. There is a reason for that; the Albs used to be part of the Clerics but broke away from them over issues like using Elex for Human augmentation. The fact that the Clerics gave birth to the Albs is another reason the Outlaws and Berserkers dislike them.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: You start the game with your jet fighter being shot down, betrayed by your organization, shot and left for dead and stripped of your armor, weapons and equipment while unconscious. The main plot of the game is you are trying to settle the score.
  • Robot Buddy: One of Jax's potential companions is C.R.O.N.Y Unit 4, an advanced AI-controlled attack drone.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The Berserkers can fight back against laser-armed super soldiers despite limiting themselves to Middle Ages technology. Fortunately for them, they also have magic on their side.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Mass Rats and their derivatives.
  • Scavenger World: Played straight with the Outlaws as they scavenge what is left of civilization. The other factions avert this. Both the Albs and Clerics manufacture new weapons and equipment. The Beserkers, meanwhile, shun modern technology all together.
  • Scenery Porn: It's a Piranha Bytes game. That should be all the information needed, but when in doubt, just climb any mountain or hill, preferably at sunset, and look around.
  • Science Fantasy: Magalan was pretty much modern day Earth until the meteor hit and introduced Elex into the mix. Now magic coexists with modern and futuristic technology.
  • Science Is Bad: The Berserkers have this mindset in that they view Elex powered technology as an abomination and other means of powering advanced machinery such a steam, gas or diesel engines as polluting the land. So they strip Elex out of any advanced weapons or machinery they come across, purify it into Mana and toss the scrap into a massive junk pile called the Pit in their capital of Goliet.
  • Sequel Hook: No matter which ending you get, the aliens that sent the comet containing the Elex will come for the planet, making a clash between them and humanity imminent.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Outlaws have a "survival of the fittest" and "might makes right" mentality.
  • The Stoic: All the Albs are like this because consuming Elex either turns you into a mindless mutant or grants you immense physical power at the cost of your emotions.
  • Summon Magic: High-level Berseker abilities allow you to summon spirits to help you in combat.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Averted. Wildlife enemies will usually give you a threat display warning for a few seconds; giving you time to back off. They will also break chase if you run far enough.
  • Super Soldier: Albs, Elex enhanced highly trained soldiers decked out in high tech body armor and armed with the most advanced weapons on Megalan.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: Jax's Adjudor, a device built into his arm that serves as the in-game menu. At the very least, it has an interactive map, records written and audio media for later consumption, and keeps track of all the nice stuff you collect on your journey.
  • Volcano Lair: The Clerics headquarters and main bases are located in Ignadon; site of the meteor’s impact and riven by constant volcanic activity.
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • The Berserkers, Clerics, Seperatists and Outlaws all have a common enemy in the Alb Loyalists. Unfortunately, there is so much bad blood between the four of them they spend just as much time fighting each other as they do the Alb Loyalists.
    • The three Berserker Clans - Hooded Crows, Hammer and Isengard - do not see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. Indeed, some clan members are actively sabotaging other clans to convince people to join their clan instead.
    • The Domed-City of Abessa was founded by the Clerics but they decided to let refugees and people from other factions, including the Alb Seperatists, into the city. Not all of them agree with the policies of the Clerics and by the time you stroll into town the city is a powder keg waiting to go off despite the treat of Alb attacks.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Duras ain't helping you out at the beginning of the game out of the kindest of his heart. He is planning to use you as a pawn in a scheme he cooked up to advance in the Berserker ranks.
  • Wretched Hive: Pretty much any Outlaw (hint, hint) settlement. Duras even directly quotes the Trope Namer if brought to the main Outlaw stronghold at the Fort.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Albs have a zero-tolerance policy for failure, with the sentence always being execution followed by Elex extraction from the body.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: In a high Cold ending, you defeat the Hybrid only to take his place as the master of the Albs, and continue his plan to prepare a select few to survive the coming of the aliens, while leaving the rest of humanity to their fate.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: