Is it all a disaster? Well, the AI problems are fixed to some degree by the robust multiplayer (if you can find friends willing to slog through the ugliest visuals since finger-painting class). [Note: At the time of the game's release, no multiplayer options were available. However, once those features are available, the author wants to clarify that they should mitigate any problems encountered with the game's current AI.]
And yes, the level of customization for both the world map and your alter-ego hero is nice. But no number of small details can hope to salvage quality from this debacle of execution. It's a shame, because the good ideas are always present in Elemental, woven into the background, like a couple of golden threads in one of those hideous dogs-playing-poker paintings. Just goes to show: a lot of us recognize how hard it is to carry a good idea to a reality, but it took a T.S. Eliot to describe it with an eloquent and simple beauty. You'll get 'em next time, Brad.