Elea, developed by Kyoday Ltd, a passionate two-man team from Bulgaria, and published by SOEDESCO, is a first-person sci-fi game. Released for Playstation 4 on July 25th, this almost thriller has the suspense of horror, but not the blood and gore that comes along with it. This game is full of surprises, and a little uncertainty, but just enough story to keep you looking for more. If you like games about the future and don’t mind the occasional jump-scare, this game may be for you. Let’s break this down and take a look at life through the eyes of River Elea Catherine Jones.
Elea is now available on the Playstation Store for $12.99.
As with many modern games, the story of Elea is far too complex to summarize coherently. Additionally, telling the story here may lead to spoiling the entire game. So, with that said, I will do my best to highlight the important parts of what’s going on here.
Similar to Sandra Bullock in the 2013 sci-fi movie Gravity, SOEDESCO gives players a female protagonist experiencing a dire situation in outer space. With nothing left to lose, Elea is determined to find her husband, Ethan, or at least find out what happened to him. What’s great about Elea is that we get a woman sacrificing everything to save her partner, instead of the other way around. This shouldn’t be surprising, but alas, you know how the story usually goes. Years before, when he and his team attempted colonizing the planet Solace, everyone vanished. Over a decade later, Elea joins a recovery mission in hopes of solving this mystery, and maybe seeing Ethan again.
Computers, cellphones, and other similar devices contain articles, emails, and text messages which help add to the story. Most of them just help you understand this universe and what’s going on in it. Others are more personalized, teaching you more about Elea, The captain of this mission, and Elea’s family. This really helps you understand more of what’s going on and why these odd things are happening, like Elea’s visions and so on.
It’s more interesting if you find pieces of the story on your own, rather than learning them here all summarized from me. I think the game is far more enjoyable if you go into it rather clueless.
Both the mechanics and controls in this game are incredibly realistic. Actions are performed in real-time, and the gameplay is in first-person, so, it’s easy to get lost in this sci-fi world. When you pick up items, you’re able to spin them around and get a full view of each one. Sometimes you pick up simple things that simply add to the story, and others, you pick up necessary items. If you want to experience the full story, it’s best to interact with any item you see.
One thing that gets a little frustrating, at least to me, is that I often had no idea where to go next. However, that’s probably the point and is what makes you interact with every individual object. Without this uncertainty, you could just breeze through the story no problem. With that being said, I do still wish there was an option for hints or something after so long of wandering around in confusion.
I will say that it is kind of frustrating being in areas where running isn’t an option. The character moves very slowly inside the house, for instance. But, without this, players would probably overlook many important details in the game, resulting in uncertainty. So it’s probably a good thing in the long run, but a little annoying for those who lack patience.
There are also some cool trophies you can get if you’re really feeling like getting extra immersed in this fictional universe. Or if you just wanna show off to your friends.
As realistic as the gameplay feels on the television screen, I can only imagine how this would feel through Virtual Reality. I think VR should be SOEDESCO’s next plan for Elea.
Graphics and Sound
One of the best features of this game is its graphics. Yes, you can tell that this is a video game and not real life, but it isn’t incredibly obvious. Most items look realistic, especially when it comes to electronics and technological devices. The characters still give an animated vibe, but the detail SOEDESCO puts into the environmental aspects is astounding. Additionally, the cutscenes are even more impressive. By using sudden, cinematic cutscenes, the developers achieve a very realistic universe. The anxiety that must come along with being Elea leaks through the television screen and into your living room. Or your bedroom. Wherever you play games at.
I didn’t personally encounter any glitches with the graphics, but that’s not to say they’re not there. Almost every game has them at some point. Nonetheless, the visual experience in this game is spectacular. Like I said before, SOEDESCO really needs to consider making this a virtual reality game. Although, if they do, my already frequent nightmares may not be too grateful.
Sound Effects and Voice Acting
This is where things get a little tricky for me. So, the animation sounds are great. They are crisp and clear, sometimes even alarming. And by alarming, I mean the sudden sounds in this game scared the heck out of me at times, but in a good way! However, the only voice that really feels realistic and clear to me is Elea’s. Well, and Ethan’s, but he does sound kind of creepy in an overly-enthusiastic yet calm way. Other characters seem more muffled and less animated. This may be intentional, however, since the focus is on being Elea. Further, most characters are pretty apathetic at this point, since their world is practically hopeless. Therefore, the intent may be for these other characters to sound less developed than Elea does since she is the main focus.
Speaking of her voice, Elea really does sound convincing and realistic. After playing this game, it almost feels like she’s a friend of mine. Okay, well, maybe that’s a little creepy, but I’m sure you get where I’m going with this. Her voice feels very personalized, and you can feel her emotions, concerns, and sarcastic undertones when she speaks. Unlike her son and a few other characters, she does not sound flat, monotoned, or muffled.
Music is not constantly present in this game like most other games I’ve played. Instead, it only appears in certain instances, and when it does, it feels oddly calming. It usually sounds like something I’d listen to on my chill playlist, which is fitting for this game, as it feels very atmospheric; if that’s even an adjective. Music is missing from certain scenes where it would normally be present, but I like that. Instead of music making things feel more dramatic, developers often use sound effects, which is far more realistic. How often do elaborate violins start playing when you almost get crushed by a dump truck? Yep, that’s right. It doesn’t.