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Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review

Interactive storytelling based on immersion and atmosphere!

  • System: PC
  • Publisher: SOEDESCO Publishing
  • Developer: Kyodai Ltd.
  • Release Date: April 24, 2018
  • Pricing:$4.99
  • Genre: Adventure, Early Access, Sci-Fi
  • Players: 1
  • Official Website: http://www.projectelea.com/
Specs (MINIMUM)
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i3 or AMD FX - 8320
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: 650 Ti
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 6 GB available space

Who it Caters to

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review
This game is for anyone looking to pick up a first-person, science fiction game filled with mind-warping visuals and immersive gameplay. A huge draw of the game is the fact that it has a VR version. In fact, the game can't fully be appreciated unless it's played with proper VR equipment. This is also game for people who want a new title where they can invest themselves mentally and emotionally. It’s definitely a game that is trying to break traditional genres and reaching towards what current GEN video games could be if pushed to their limits.

Project Elea marks the debut for Bulgarian game developer, Kyodai Ltd. While the game is still in early access, it has the makings of a great intro game of what appears to be an anthology. We don't know how many Elea games are in the works, but this is just episode 1.

What to Expect

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review
You can expect to do a lot of exploration. The game doesn't focus so much on understanding a linear story and going through the plot points step-by-step. Instead, it wants to immerse you in the atmosphere of what it could be like to visit these outer space locations and relive memories through a simulation. When gameplay and usability are working correctly the game feels extremely unique, mind-bending, immersive, and mysterious. It’s like you’re watching the television show Legion. You have no idea what’s going on but you’re enjoying the ride. Eventually, you know there will be a big payoff that will tie everything together that you have experienced and seen.

The game boasts a rich and touching story inspired by classic sci-fi writers. The graphics are powered by the Unreal Engine 4. so you know you're in for an optical treat. Also, expect to feel as if you've been placed in a movie such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Everything around you feels eerie and not quite real. You can't tell if what you're saying actually exists or if someone is messing with your perception of reality. Space is mysterious, powerful, and sometimes overwhelming. But, that pales in comparison to what your own mind is capable of.

Elea immediately tries to disorient you and let you know that you are now playing by its rules. Traditional storytelling, character control, environment interactions, and other aspects of simulation/exploration games are thrown out the window. You'll have to re-adjust to how Elea wants you to play and experience it's odd and beautiful universe. That being said, what one expects to find and what you actually experience are two different things. So stay tuned for the game please section to find out what exactly we mean by this.

Elea - Episode 1 | Game Trailer - PEGI


Story

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review
Earth needs to find a new planet to colonize because a new disease has spread throughout the earth that has affected all of the children, 2073. This disease was really more of a mutation that caused all children to have an uncontrollable rage that could only be subdued through medication that really inhibits the behavior of children and makes them docile and emotionless. Luckily, a possibly habitable planet was recently discovered. Twenty years after the emergence of the epidemic, a ship, the Pilgrimage, is sent that newly discovered planet to study it up close and see if it's suitable for human life. Upon reaching the destination the ship undergoes radio silence. No one ever figured out what caused it or what became of the Pilgrimage crew.

So a new team is created and given the mission of finding out what happened to the Pilgrimage and discerning whether the planet is habitable for humans. Thirteen years after the original ship landed on the new planet, the rescue team arrives. You play as Elea. She is a member of the rescue party that is trying to discover what happened to the original ship. You also learn that she is much more invested in the whereabouts of the crew members and their circumstances because her husband was one of the crew members aboard the Pilgrimage.

Gameplay

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review
We'll start off by saying that Elea does an excellent job of sucking you into its universe and allowing you to decide how much you're willing to invest in this game. You can just stick to the main objectives and progress the story as fast as possible. Or you can take your time to explore every nook and cranny for scraps of information concerning the overall social and cultural feel of what's going on around Earth. You can read news clippings or overhear conversations that let you in on how the mutation has affected humanity and how they're dealing with it to the best of their abilities. On top of that, you can't deny the Elea boasts some of the most stunning and haunting visuals of any game ever created. And, that's saying a lot for a game developed by an indie studio.

Ambient music, orchestra pieces, sound effects, and especially visuals such as architecture, special-effects, and backdrops are amazing. However, the volume is inconsistent. Sometimes the game will sound as if the volume is at about 70% and then in the next scene or next location it’s raised up to max level on its own. It's not because the settings have been adjusted automatically but because the game is just bugged and the sound is not consistent throughout the entire game as it should be. And that's a shame, because bugs, unpolished gameplay, and game controls are what are currently destroying this Early Access game.

Movement is so slow and you’re only able to run in very short and confined areas. There’s a reasonable explanation for why you can’t move quickly early on in the game but the explanation ceases to exist soon after. So there’s no reason why we should be moving so slowly. You don’t want to walk around and explore too much because you don’t know how to progress the game so that you go to the next area or next mission objective. You don’t want to waste time going to an edge of the map just to backtrack and return to where you started. So you’re tempted to go out and try to look at the sites and inspect all of the objects up close and see if you can interact with it. But, in the back of your mind, you don’t want to stray too far since you’ll just be forced to slowly trudge your way back to where you actually need to be in order to advance the game.

Another issue is that you waste a lot of time looking at every object inside every room to see if it’s interactive. And the ones that can be manipulated at most can only be picked up and slightly rotated. Items such as PDAs and computers will have interfaces that you can use to get information to progress story as well as get background information on the world and Elea's history. But, again, the movement is slow and all actions are pretty clunky so factor that in as well and exploring becomes tedious and really boring, as well as time-consuming. The game would feel much better if your cursor changed color or shape when you hovered it over an object that could be manipulated. Unfortunately, this only occurs when you're directly in front of an object and happen to slide the cursor over the exact area of the object that needs to be touched or grabbed.

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review
There are times when you have an outer body experience. During which, you will see your character but the camera pulls back very far away as if you’re no longer experiencing the game but are just an observer. Yet you still control the character with the controller or keyboard. It’s a very disjointed feeling but it serves feels like a very "Elea" thing to do. It wants to alter your perceptions of observation, control, and reality. As soon, as you start to feel comfortable the world around you will change or you'll feel as if you aren't in control of your body. It forces an unsettling feeling on you that feels unique and different from most adventure games. This type of mechanic, not to mention the visuals, story, and designs, give the audience a glimpse of what Elea could actually be. There are great ideas in Kyodai's debut game, but they, unfortunately, are not executed well.


Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review
Elea - Episode 1 has the basis for a potentially amazing game. I use the word "basis" and not "foundation" because it implies more of a feeling or idea rather than a firm platform to build from. Some basic video game design decisions, such as movement and controls, are sorely lacking or clunky at best. We and others who have tried this Early Access game know that there is so much potential in the Elea universe. We can envision what it could be like if the kinks were ironed out and if there was a more rewarding feeling from actually exploring around. The atmosphere is very David Lynch-esque. It's nearly impossible to separate reality, space distortion, or corruption within our own minds. We're always on the edge of our seat because we know something is going to jolt our visual and aural senses when we least expect it. But, at the same time, there is a mystery we need to unravel and understand.

So, we're caught in a position of wonderment and frustrating game mechanics. This game feels terrible to play in its current state. However, the problems that existed are all fixable, so there is plenty of hope that remains within this title.

Honey's Pros:

  • Stunning visuals
  • Mysterious and eerie atmosphere
  • An engaging sci-fi story

Honey's Cons:

  • Sluggish movement
  • Frustrating object interactions
  • Visual and environmental glitches

Honey's Final Verdict:

Elea is definitely a game that sci-fi and exploration lovers will want to get their hands on. However, we strongly advise that you wait until it's out of Early Access, or at least until it has a few more patches from the developer. Right now, the game is ridden with too many bugs for it to be enjoyable. We'd also like to add that playing this game within VR will offer the best experience, but it isn't necessary. Elea could be an excellent game that shifts adventure games into a new direction. However, it hasn't earned that praise quite yet.

Thanks again for taking the time to read our review for this game. We hope you found it useful. Have a great day and we'll see you in the next one!

EleaScreen1-560x315 Elea - Episode 1 - PC Review

Writer

Author: Javier Garcia

Hey guys! I'm a huge fan of anime and video games. I used to be a competitive fighting game player (search my name in YouTube). So, I guess it was natural for me to make my way over here to Japan. I teach English, write anime articles, and put together videos when I have time. I hope you enjoy the content we've created for you here at Honey's Anime!

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