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Hands-on with ELEA: Should you be looking forward to playing it on Xbox One?

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If you like a tale that brings uncertainty and strange antics to the table, then upcoming episodic adventure ELEA may be just what you’re looking for when it arrives on Xbox One later this year.

ELEA is one of the latest sci-fi adventures that’s set to arrive on Xbox One and for those who have not yet heard of it, the term psychological thriller is well suited to the experience.

Throughout the first episode, Memories, players take on the role of River Elea Catherine Jones, an established scientist and soon mother-to-be as she embarks on a search and rescue mission. The game so far is a rather linear experience with players steadily introduced to the protagonist, why she is here, and her family and background as she travels through the outer reaches of space.

Whilst the story is told with great pace, the gameplay at present isn’t the smoothest we’ve seen. Visually, ELEA is a stunning experience, running on Unreal Engine 4, and there is nothing to complain about with environments and the general look of the game proving rather spectacular. As for gameplay though, it is all rather temperamental with the character moving at an agonisingly slow pace throughout, interactions with objects proving challenging as items frequently get stuck and simple objectives taking forever due to the pace of gameplay.

Unfortunately, Episode 1 doesn’t bring an incredible amount of excitement on its own, with more confusion coming out of my time with the game than anything else, but with more episodes set to come later on, there is every chance things could turn out to be quite exciting. If you like a visually beautiful game to relax to, or a weird and wacky story experience to take in, then ELEA will definitely be something to gauge an interest in. If you like a fast-paced adventures, then unfortunately, in its present state, I won’t be giving any recommendations.

Of course, ELEA is only in early access at the moment and with our access coming courtesy of Steam, it’s possible that the pace of gameplay and the issues with interactions and objects may well be cleaned up by the time it arrives on Xbox One later this year.

One thing however is for sure, whether in early access or not, ELEA already has the fear factor due to well-placed jump scares – whether intended or not – shadows that play tricks on the eyes and an overall feeling of tension throughout thanks to the well-crafted soundtrack that accompanies gameplay.

One surprising feature though is the use of an incredible amount of flashing colours. Sure, we’re in a sci-fi world far into the future, but that doesn’t mean we want to have our retinas completely burnt out every step of the way. With multiple flashing sequences so hectic that I was feeling for the pixels within my monitors, there are certainly some changes needed to ensure we don’t come away with a thumping headache when the full release finally arrives.

With just one episode out, it’s hard to have a thorough recommendation for ELEA, simply because the majority of the first episode brings more confusion than anything else, but with such a good background into our protagonist now carved from the opening episode, chances are things will move forward in terms of just what we’ll be doing in the coming episodes. The visuals are looking phenomenal and with a sci-fi world at our fingertips, there is every chance we could be looking at a memorable experience when ELEA finally arrives later this year.

 

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