The Steam Next Fest demo for El Paso, Elsewhere is a blood-soaked edgy showcase of everything this Max Payne-inspired shooter has to offer.
Steam Next Fest was lined with hundreds of terrific demos available for fans to enjoy. Among all of the creative and unique games on offer the one that stood out to me had to be El Paso, Elsewhere. The reality-shifting third-person classic shooter is a perfect mix of Max Payne and Superhot, that can be surprisingly scary at times.
The demo for El Paso, Elsewhere was available during Steam's Next Fest and included an "early look at the first, fifth, and eighteenth levels of the game." creator of El Paso, Elsewhere, Xalavier Nelson Jr said. "There's still quite a bit of development left between now and its release in the Fall", so there's plenty of time to smooth out the edges and perfect every gory fight before fans officially get to play it on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
El Paso, Elsewhere is a supernatural neo-noir third-person shooter that sees you play as James Savage, a Black folklore researcher and recovering drug addict. After returning to your hometown, El Paso, Texas, Savage must find and kill his old lover Draculae, while rescuing numerous sacrifices, before she completes a ritual that will destroy the entire world.
While the demo only included three levels every single one looked incredible. Its reality-bending settings, ambient lighting, and PS2-era classic Max Payne-esque graphics all mix together to make an unexpected yet perfectly fascinating art style. Even when you're surrounded by monsters it'll leave you endlessly staring past where the ceiling should be and at the cosmic night sky that cascades above you.
However, the action packed demo showed off more than just the breath-taking art style. After completing a short tutorial, Savage is forced into what seems to be an average motel. However, the deeper you go the more you begin to realize that this place is anything but normal. Gradually the three story motel shifts into 46 unearthly subterranean levels packed full with hordes of vampires and werewolves.
Fighting off these endless waves of monsters is welcomely simple. You can either shove a stake into the heart of a vampire or werewolf for a one hit kill or head the classic route of shooting the monsters with whatever gun you've stumbled upon. It's an instant kill with a head shot or a two shot kill if you hit the grunt's body.
While the third-person shooting is familiarly fun, the most important feature has to be the slow motion dives. Once you've committed to a dive it slows time down instantly, providing you with ample time to line up a headshot or think of a cool finishing line before you blow a werewolf's head off. The Superhot-esque style of fighting is tons of fun and is just the right amount of melodrama for this neo-noir shooter.
The most surprising feature of El Paso, Elsewhere had to be just how scary it is at times. Having the skeletal remains of vampires rush you down from around hidden corners or dark hallways is more than just unsettling. While turning a corner only to end up face to face with a drooling werewolf made me squeal more times than I'm willing to admit. Luckily, there was the right amount of horror to make El Paso, Elsewhere entertaining and keep you on your toes, without over stepping the mark.
The voice acting is also superb, as Nelson Jr plays Savage it's clear that he leans heavily into the neo-noir roots of El Paso, Elsewhere. The script can be a little on the nose at times with copious amounts of sarcasm and Savage sounding like he hasn't slept for ten years. However, thankfully more often than not the voice acting succeeds at immersing the player in the task at hand, or supplying a smidge of much-needed wit into the gory fights.
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Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications.
Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.