El Paso, Elsewhere Review
El Paso, Elsewhere is a third-person action FPS heavily inspired by Max Payne in both presentation and gameplay, yet with a major twist over the Payne trilogy… Monsters. This title has you take the reins of James Savage, an occult researcher dragged into an unpleasant situation thanks to his vampiric ex, Draculae, that leads to him descending deeper and deeper into the depths of a motel within El Paso, which is also the stage for Draculae’s potentially apocalyptic ritual.
The story is intriguing and well presented through the use of flashbacks, wonderfully deadpan monologues from our protagonist, and the occasional item hidden around the world. These items come in many forms, but the most entertaining was a radio story going by the name of Pill Cop, an obvious dig at the Max Payne series. Even down to the introduction and the visuals, it all feels so heavily inspired by Max Payne, yet it never feels too uninspired, managing to introduce its own unique and interesting elements throughout the game's story. To follow on, the rest of the El Paso, Elsewhere's world is incredibly well-presented through the visuals and the sound design. The music is fantastic, utilising very drum- and bass-heavy hip hop to keep the game feeling high-octane, along with guns sounding punchy and powerful. The visuals are a unique style: low-poly yet high detail in certain areas, such as shadows, which makes for a very pleasing and atmospheric style.
The gameplay is sadly a very strange mixed bag, taking advantage of bullet time mechanics leads to an incredible power fantasy, yet this does lead to an incredibly easy game in the long run. New weapons are scattered throughout the game and are considerably powerful. Yet enemies very rarely seem to scale at an even slightly similar rate, leading to some incredibly one-sided feeling levels. Level design is very mixed, with some utterly fantastic levels alongside some forgettable and disappointing ones. Especially earlier on in the game, I found many of the levels to be incredibly overdesigned, having a lot of elements scattered around which seem purpose-built for the combat arenas, yet the actual battles that take place are over within seconds. However, towards the midpoint and beyond, there are a lot of incredibly well-designed stages. As soon as I transitioned into the graveyard levels, there was a clear step up in quality. Some stages are purely a blood-fueled romp through hoards of vampires, while others are much more puzzling in nature, requiring you to find and rescue trapped civilians from the depths of the motel.
There were a few minor issues with performance on my end, yet it was mostly negligible. Aside from a single crash and a few frame drops here and there, it ran well, and there is a good chance this is ironed out before launch, as I am playing on an earlier build of the game.
El Paso, Elsewhere was an utter joy to play. Despite having notable issues here and there, none were enough to ruin my time with the game. If you enjoy Max-Payne-esque shooters along with occult elements, there couldn’t be a better game.
El Paso, Elsewhere (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
El Paso, Elsewhere is a charming journey into the mind of man, descending into madness and taking any horrific creatures he can with him.