PAX WEST 2018: Element: Space – Stop A War Before It Starts
As long as humans exist, there will always be battle. Even in the deep future, when mankind has explored and settled upon the vast reaches of space, the instinct of violence and the desires for war and power are strong, even in an era of peace, technological progress, and human longevity. When peace is threatened and an intergalactic civil war is about to break out, it is up to a ragtag team of soldiers to stop this war before it happened.
This is Element: Space from Argentina-based Inca Games. With the support of the Argentinian government and community, Element: Space is more than just an ambitious sci-fi game, but also a major milestone for South American representation in the games industry. Making my way through the crowded Indie Mega Booth, I made my way to a demo station showcasing Element: Space. After my time-fighting enemy forces on a strange alien world, Element: Space is, undoubtedly, an extremely refreshing strategy game that you should keep an eye on.
Element: Space is a tactical, turn-based strategy game, very much so in the vein of the legendary tactical franchise, X-COM. Players are placed onto an isometric battlefield, where players will have an objective to complete and will be required to use their tactical wits to the very best of their ability. The enemy is unpredictable, boasting the latest technology, and placing into the hands of a very intelligent enemy. They will study your movements and even destroy your cover in an effort to destroy you.
Fortunately, there is an advantage that can be used in your favor, and that is the traits of your team. In the world of Element: Space, humans have adapted various powers and abilities through genetic and cybernetic augmentation. Using this wisely will allow for an unprecedented edge in combat. In the world of Element: Space, there are no aliens or extraterrestrial weaponry. There is only human against human.
My battle scenario was a simple elimination operation, set within a bazaar-like marketplace. Enemy soldiers are guarding the entrance to an important installation. it was up to our team to go in and wipe them out. I had the traditional setup, including a close-range shotgunner, the traditional assault soldier, but also a special troop class. The battle unfolded traditionally, with the enemy taking cover and firing on us. I made my turns, dispatching fire and throwing explosives to try and gain the upper hand. I was already impressed by the game’s visual presentational and use of combat angles. Before I knew it, the enemy was close and bearing down on me. It was time to tap into the power of science.
One of the characters I chose was gifted with super strength and was attuned to nature. One of her special abilities was to be able to ram enemies through a dash. With one soldier within striking range of his sub-machine gun, I used the special dash, destroying cover, and providing some damage to the enemy. My other two soldiers also return fire, using an energy shotgun and assault rifle. Through a series of turns, I was fired upon and returned fire, moving around the cover to give myself the best possible advantage over the enemy. I experimented with different weapons and items to give myself the best possible outcome of success. This is where I discovered another advantage: Melee combat.
Element: Space introduces a really unique combat style that I personally have not seen in other tactical strategy games: Close-quarters melee combat. If an enemy is incredibly close, you have the opportunity to initiate a melee strike, unleashing a flurry of punches and kicks in successive fashion. Other games feature a basic punch to defeat an enemy, but in the case of Element: Space, it’s a futuristic display of martial arts in the deep future, which was pretty neat to look at. The enemy combatant did try and defend himself but to no avail. Through the martial arts, I successfully dispatched the enemy combatant and moved on.
The final bouts of the battle included my forces getting wounded but still fighting hard. Another unique tool I used was the grappling hook, which was able to pull enemies closer towards me, and also allowed me to extend my movement to long distances across the battlefield. Using the different angles for cover around the marketplace was quite thrilling. I managed to perform another dash maneuver in an attempt to obliterate the last enemy soldier. Once again, I destroyed his cover and inflicted some damage, but it would ultimately be a hail of plasma fire from one of my soldiers that would end the last soldier. After about 15 minutes, the demo concluded.
The team at Inca Games quickly gave me more insight as to what is to come for Element: Space, while showing a general trailer of the game. The universe of Element: Space will be one of military and political intrigue, with cultural happenings woven into the narrative. As I saw the trailer, I couldn’t help but be reminded of lively sci-fi movies, such as Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element Element: Inca Games mentioned that, should the first game be successful, they will hopefully launch two additional games, forming a trilogy. Element: Space will feature a 15-hour campaign for each playthrough, with several different endings. The endings will be based on your choices, and decisions with the embattled factions of space. As mentioned before, there are no aliens in this universe, making this a matter to be settled among humans. There will be many more classes to choose from, with their own powers and tactical abilities, that players will come across. Based upon my time with Element: Space, this a game not to be missed.
Element: Space launches in 2018 for PC and console.