|a game by||Black Isle Studios, and Conspiracy Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||6.7/10, based on 3 reviews, 5 reviews are shown|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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The Medieval hack n slash action/adventure seems to have drifted out of favour over the last year or so. Since the dazzling Severance and the not quite so impressive Rune, there's been nary a bloodied sword in sight. Instead we've been bombarded with game after game featuring guns. Big guns, small guns, guns that turn into handbags, and the loner's best friend: a talking gun. Now more than ever it seems that nothing turns on the PC gaming public like a smoking firearm.
We're not saying this is evil, demented, obsessive or anything like that; we'll leave the sweeping generalisations to the politicians. All we're saying is that occasionally a game without a gun is still worth playing - like Enclave for example.
Originally a console title, Starbreeze's Enclave has managed to stay perched near the top of the Xbox charts throughout the summer. All well and good of course, but console games don't always make great PC games. It's an issue that never goes away, and the question is will Enclave be a straight port or will it be specifically tailored to a PC audience? The answer is in fact a mixture of the two, according to Enclave's lead producer Niko Kyriakidis: The major difference will be that the PC version of Enclave will feature three difficulty levels. The challenges of the game are plentiful and often very demanding, and we had a lot of suggestions from users that the game would be more enjoyable if there was the possibility to adjust the skill level.
Weaving And Cleaving
The PC version also offers more checkpoints, meaning you won't have to complete an entire level before getting the chance to save. On top of that, if the preview code we've been playing is anything to go by, the already drop-dead gorgeous visuals have been improved further to take into account the power of the PC and your hi-res monitor.
Other than that, the main bulk of the game remains the same. The action is fast and furious, with the numerous and varied enemies doing their best to keep your attention with a mixture of surprising attack patterns. As you progress through the game you can collect gold coins to buy new weapons and skills until you eventually become a destructive powerhouse capable of delivering some truly gratifying combo attacks.
The game also offers two separately playable but interwoven campaigns, meaning you can play the game from either a good or evil perspective. There are 12 playable characters to choose from (six good and six evil), which in itself makes Enclave a different proposition from your usual action/adventure.
Due to the fact that Enclave features 12 playable characters from different character classes, diversified gameplay is guaranteed, boasts Kyriakidis. You can choose characters whose fighting styles range from typical melee combat to ranged combat and magical expertise." So whatever your gameplay preference there's a character for you.
The preview code we've been playing still needs a fair amount of optimisation before it will run smoothly on your average PC, but otherwise everything is in place for a bit of classic smite 'em up action. Look out for a review next month.
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.
Conspiracys first Xbox title might provide a medieval after-dinner mint for legions of satisfied Halo fans this spring. The Swedish gaming chefs at Starbreeze Studios are stuffing this fantasy-themed third-person shooter with two unique single-player scenarios, multiple character classes and a plethora of weapons. Multiplayer co-op and deathmatch modes across each of the games 25 levels provide a hearty side dish.
Developer Starbreeze has created a big, beautiful monster here. Enclave is huge, with 27 stages split between good and evil campaigns, and the games level design and rich visuals convey a perfect sense of gothic malevolence. Youll hack and slash through massive castles, an aquatic fortress, spired keeps, dank mines and a hellish underworld, with multiple paths through most levels. But you better gird your loins before you embark on this quest, because Enclave is as cruel as it is pretty. Nearly every level kills you instantly with cheap shots. Youll battle to the end of a sea-town stage, for instance, only to be nuked by a sudden cannon bombardment. Or youll trudge deep into a keep to rescue a wizard and find a nonsensical puzzle you must solve in one go or its game over. It makes for a tedious cycle of die, retry, die, retry, and it doesnt help that the combat system feels clunky. You gradually unlock a good variety of characters who can buy more powerful gear, but I inevitably stuck with whoever had the best long-range attacks (such as bows or magic). I just got fed up with the close-quarter slash-and-block combat. It almost seems the developers spent too much time crafting Enclave's wicked-looking environments, then skimped on the actual game, which needs better puzzles and more compelling character development. In the end, theyve created a game thats more fun to look at than play.
For every compliment I can give Enclave, theres a complaint to go along with it. The graphics are gorgeous, crisp and detailed...but marred with choppy animations and occasional glitches. Huge, sprawling levels, both indoors and out, are impressive...until you keep dying and have to play them over again and again (this game gets hard, and most levels have no save points). Youll marvel at all the characters and weapons to choose from, but combat gets repetitive with all of them (for ranged attacks you walk endlessly backward and fire; hand-to-hand boils down to the old move in, attack, move out, repeat). Sometimes fun but often annoying.
As far as exports from Sweden go, Enclave ranks somewhere between their lunchroom meatballs and the misunderstood comic genius of the Swedish Chef. This type of slasher doesn't appear very often, and generally for a good reason shooting is, well, more fun. On its own merits, Enclave succeeds at delivering subtly gorgeous graphics, an atmospheric soundtrack and a lengthy quest rife with unique characters to recruit. Its just that the somewhat haphazard combat renders the game frustrating. If you could attack with greater precision and speed, itd be more fun. But first-person shooter fans looking for a change of pace will enjoy it.