The idea of a vampire fighting against its base nature to uphold modern morals is one that has been explored before, but not exactly through the same lens as in El Paso, Elsewhere. This third-person shooter takes inspiration from some of the best in the genre but eschews expectations with a thrilling love story between a vampire and vampire hunter, exploring the complexities of the pairing as the world is crumbling around them.

You play as James Savage, a pill-addicted monster hunter living in a secluded hotel in El Paso and on a mission to save the world from his ex-girlfriend, Draculae. This version of the famed vampire has enacted a ritual that brings about the end times. More specifically for Savage, it means a rip through the fabric of reality that sends him from the stained carpets of the motel down a warped void filled with visually diverse levels. At first, El Paso, Elsewhere focuses on Savage, delving into his destructive personality and vices, whether it’s popping pain pills or relishing the violence he’s engaged in. It takes a while, but eventually the true scope of the story comes into view, with new locales and fourth-wall breaking narration exposing this game’s novel take on the mythology behind vampires, and how the relationship between Savage and Janet Drake, known later as Draculae, fits into that.

The voice acting for both Savage and Draculae is exceptionally captivating. Their blossoming love is thoughtfully conveyed through audio logs you find throughout your journey, with playful exchanges (like a conversation about how Transformers procreate) doing an excellent job at establishing a relationship you never get to see. Later, when the two characters exchange words directly, the absence of this warmth is noticeable. There’s clearly still love between the two, but it’s separated by a gap in morality that neither can compromise on. These exchanges are short but sharp, each word a stake one is trying to lay in the other, all the while Savage barely maintains a grip on the enormity of the task waiting for him at the end. It’s a compelling dynamic that gets an equally satisfying conclusion, but it is a pity it takes a handful of hours for it to really get going.

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