|a game by||Black Isle Studios, and Conspiracy Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 2 reviews|
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Enclave is an action adventure game set in the ever-popular "Middle ages"? era where monsters and magic co-exist. Choose which side you want to play on. If you're evil, you can play as an assassin or goblin or bombardier, etc. Benevolent characters can become knights, wizards, engineers and so forth. Missions are straightforward, but they are varied in their tasks and are well created. In some, you must assassinate a particular character, while in others, you may need to steal an item or play bodyguard as you perform an escort mission. Of course, there are requisite monstrous bosses and traps, and a fairly impressive back-story rounds this tiltle out well.
For those of you who never played the Xbox version, you should know that the game contained no sort of in-game save function. The save points in the game were the cut scenes between levels. Normally that might not make a difference, but Enclave is an especially difficult game. Factor in that some of levels can take well over 25 minutes to complete and it only takes one death (right before the end of a 35 minute level) to consider using the game as a hockey puck. The PC version, however, contains checkpoints that appear throughout the levels. This fact alone should make any action gamer out there who couldn't stand the Xbox version, go out and pick up the PC version.
Additionally, the PC version of Enclave has a much tighter control scheme then compared to the Xbox version. For some reason, I found using the mouse and keyboard controls much more user-friendly when it came to using the ranged weapons as well as the melee weapons. I know that it's a third person perspective game, but it really felt like a first person shooter at some points.
And lastly, you can play as either good or evil right out of the box. If memory serves, you had to complete the game's "Warrior of Light"? mode before you could play as a 'Minion of Darkness'? in the Xbox version. In the PC version, you can pick right away what path you want to travel. Being the dark and brooding type, I chose the evil route, which served me just fine.
If I had to say anything negative about the game it would be the voice acting on some of the characters. Sometimes the voices just didn't fit the person. Also, the dialog box tends to outrace the characters speaking. Not really a major complaint, but for a game that seems to have hit the mark on every other category, I was a little surprised.
What more can I say? If this title had these fixes in place (level checkpoints, tighter controls) it may not have toppled Halo as the best Xbox game, but it would have been up there. As it is however, the PC version is a solid title that adventure fans are sure to enjoy.
Enclave is one of those games that will leave gamers frustrated and scratching their heads wondering who made the ill-fated decisions that ultimately keep the game from reaching the greatness that was well within its grasp. How's that for laying it all down right out of the gate? I have been keeping a close eye on this title throughout development and now that I've had the opportunity to play through it, I am both impressed and disappointed at the same time.
As disappointing as some of the aspects of the game are, there is no denying this game is quite a looker. The level of detail is unmatched on any console game to date. The developers did a great job of thrusting you into a believable fantasy world where you can play one of six different characters. For the most part, the combat animations are well done and the ability to switch between ranged and melee weapons fit nicely.
I found Enclave to sport the intangible quality of driving the gamer to keep playing to see what happens next. I was always compelled to beat the level because I had no idea what to expect from my next mission. The action was similar across the missions (although you could play them differently) but the objectives were varied enough to keep me wanting more.
I did have two major issues with Enclave. First and foremost, the game does not feature an in-game save system, checkpoints or any other means of saving your progress until the end of the missions. I am all for a challenging game but when you create artificial difficulty like this, I can't help but feel cheated. To make matters worse, some missions approach the 30-minute mark and if you die 29 minutes into the mission, it is back to the beginning. The quandary gamers will face is whether they have the inner drive to push through each mission 5-6 times just so they can see what comes next.
The second issue I had was the camera system. For some reason, they decided not to include any sort of dynamic camera system so you are left with 100% control over where you are looking. While the freedom is nice, an automatic camera with an override would have made a huge difference in the playability of the game. Please, if there is a sequel to Enclave, incorporate a camera and targeting system like Halo.
Overall, this is a decent game that easily could have been one of the better games on the Xbox had the developers decided to include an in-game save system and a dynamic camera. As it stands, Enclave will test your patience and perseverance as a gamer but if you can pull through, you will be rewarded with a fairly decent experience.