El Paso, Elsewhere Preview

What happens when someone takes Rockstar Games’ gritty third-person shooter Max Payne and only keeps the nightmare sequences? Apparently, greatness, as we can see through El Paso, Elsewhere‘s demo.

We play as James Savage, a pill addict whose girlfriend is trying to destroy the world by bringing nightmarish vampirical creatures into reality, because she’s Dracula, or Draculae, in this case.

El Paso, Elsewhere is a hand-crafted love letter to the Max Payne series, from the neo-noir aesthetic and narration to the slow-motion maneuvers and gunplay that the franchise is known for. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a style of its own, though.

So many games tried to copy Max Payne after it released, to the point where the slow-motion mechanic was forgotten by the gaming industry for a while because of this fatigue, so it’s nice to see a title that feels more like an homage than a copy.

El Paso, Elsewhere‘s low-poly aesthetic is very charming, and the game’s tone is made lighter with its soundtrack, as it features some hip-hop songs about crafting sundaes out of body parts, which is pretty comedic.

The levels mostly consist of going through psychedelic environments while saving civilians and trying to find your way to the next elevator, which is what James uses to access the void dimension housing the vampirical creatures.

The void features some really artistic locations, and some of the dialogue hints at it forming itself from James’ memories, which makes the matter even more personal. James himself is troubled but still manages to be really sympathetic, especially since the dialogue and voice acting are top-notch.

The narration for the cutscenes is fantastic, and whoever voiced James did a fantastic job. They manage to capture the essence of Max Payne‘s cutscenes perfectly. Regardless of the game’s insane premise, James stays pretty grounded as he navigates his feelings of addiction to pharmaceuticals and adrenaline.

El Paso, Elsewhere‘s demo is pretty short and gives us a brief look into what we can expect from the following levels. It introduces us to the basics of gameplay and shows us what enemies we’ll be stylishly killing in slow-motion throughout the game.

Enemy designs seem to range from shambling vampires to agile werewolves, as well as haunted suits of armor and Ringu-style ghost girls who shoot projectiles. The varied environments of the void allow for some really creative enemy designs as well.

The little narrative bits that we have gotten so far show a fun story that borders between neo-noir grittiness and comedy at the same time. Even though James seems haunted by his past, he still gets moments of levity, like accidentally finding a man who is into getting humiliated locked in a spare room.

El Paso, Elsewhere plays things really straight, and got me to crack a smile multiple times with its clever dialogue. I normally don’t enjoy fast-paced third-person shooters, as I feel that a first-person point of view is more comfortable when it comes to making quick decisions, but I managed to enjoy my short time with the demo. Here’s some of my gameplay:

El Paso, Elsewhere is set to release at some point in 2023 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows (through Steam).



Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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