You control Sareth, apprentice to a Wizard named Phenrig. Phenrig sends you off to the city of Stonehelm in search of a magical item known as the Skull of Shadows. In Stonehelm city, you meet an associate of Phenrig's; Menelag. Menelag has a common interest in finding the Skull of Shadows, and puts a spirit named Xana into Sareth's mind to guide him on his journey. This is the beginning of the epic adventure Sareth embarks upon.
You can choose between four classes. Those classes are Warrior, Archer, Mage, and Assassin. Warrior class being sword and shield with leveling skills in passive abilities such as, higher strength, endurance, etc. Archer class is bow and arrows, with some bows adding special effects such as freezing. Archer leveling skills include things like fire traps that you set and the enemies walk onto causing an explosion. Mage class is staff with magic spells. Assassin is double daggers, with some daggers adding special effects such as poison. Downloadable content was released that added two new classes and new areas. The two new classes were the Paladin, a warrior class with some healing spells, and the Alchemist, a magic user.
There were many differences between Elements and its PC counterpart. Many of the levels, including the introductory scene of Elements, were completey different between the games. Items differed, and the class system was not present on the PC version, which opted for a skill-tree style, talent choosing system, rather than the set path of upgrades that Elements uses.
The game emphasizes environmental combat, by using traps or the terrain. Actions include cutting ropes to release heavy objects, picking up objects in the environment and throwing them at enemies, kicking enemies off cliffs and rooftops, into fire, and into spikes. Also the game allows you to break support beams to collapse a structure crushing enemies. Also if you have a bow you can draw your bow (Holding right trigger) and put the tip of the arrow next to fire to light your arrow on fire. Rather than having a loot-based inventory system, the game uses more set positions to acquire new weapons and armour, which causes very few enemies to drop items during the course of the game.