A great rift has formed causing light and dark to divide, but the earth is
healing itself and the rift separating both sides is growing smaller and smaller.
The evil outlanders now look at the enclave of Celenheim with hatred and lust;
the day will come when the rift is small enough that they will be able to invade,
for the people of Celenheim, it is time to take up arms.
Enclave is a first or third-person action title with a medieval
fantasy setting. Having a light and dark campaign, gamers will have to hack through
the baddies before they get to play as them though as the campaign order is pre-determined
and can't be changed. This has both its positives and negatives; a positive is
that it gives the player the chance to see how the character that they will be
controlling will act and will give them a sense of their powers before they take
control of them, the negative is that with the game's faults and difficulties,
many won't stick around long enough to play as the villains.
full of fighters, druids, mages, and assassins, there is plenty here for gamers
to sink their teeth into and this is really the sole reason why I kept playing.
Aside from getting a concrete feel of the game, I was really enjoying the variety
of the characters. As you progress through levels, gold will be picked up in various
hiding spots; all classes will share the booty and have their own amount, so spending
it all for a fighter won't impact the funds of the druid nice touch. Since they
all cater to different fighting styles, it was fun to experiment and find which
combo of weapons went best with which character; their subtle differences were
also a great asset, for once a character with increased speed would actually be
able to use it to their benefit.
regardless of the character, all will have to face the cold, hard fact that Enclave
does not like them, or the player. It is this reason that will explain the lack
of a mid-level checkpoint or the ability to save anywhere as lengthy levels are
only made that much more difficult by having to be repeated as a death occurring
near the exit is treated the same as a death occurring at the beginning of the
level. The shoddy hit detection will also treat the player to several untimely
demises at, be it at the end of an enemy's blade, or the edge of a cliff, it always
seems to happen at the worst moments.
The combat system used is one that is more in tune with Rune, as opposed
to a more intricate and intuitive system like that from Blade of Darkness.
Now, I have no problem with a hacking style of game, I enjoyed the likes of Rune
very much, but Rune also did not have the previously mentioned problems
with hit detection. While selecting directions and attacking is suppose to perform
different maneuvers, which are suppose to lead to various attacks, it normally
ends up being whatever move is played out while holding block as that button is
one that should never be released. The combos and moves that are there are simplistic,
which again, isn't a bad thing, but it's when one swing connects and the next
two seem to pass straight through the enemy, that is when irritation sets in.
It's also common to have full health and attack an enemy from behind and out of
all of the might combos unleashed, only two strikes connected, and they turn around
and proceed to beat the life out of you. Having the camera controls the same as
the analog stick as those that direct attacks is also a problem since to get a
better view means that your character will end up attacking the ground; the first-person
view also has its problems as it doesn't show the weapon on the screen, and only
a light silhouette of the shield and or weapon, making it very hard to change
where and when to attack.
design is also a bit odd; for being so linear, it's fairly easy to get lost on
most levels, but luckily enough, it only takes a minute or so to get your bearings
and get on track again. Since there really isn't a good description of the level
beforehand, aside from "The more enemies you kill, the more money you will
get or "Kill Marcus the merchant. Marcus must not survive" the player
kind of just dives their way into the situation and does what they can. Since
the campaigns are relative polar opposites, something I enjoy, playing through
similar levels for a second time wasn't a problem, especially since most of them
are enjoyable enough to begin with.
two campaigns, several classes, varying weapons and skills, there is plenty to
like about Enclave; however, the difficult controls, troublesome hit detection,
lack of in-level saving pushes it beyond the level that many will tolerate. There
is an adventure to be had here, but it requires more than most gamers are willing
Sporting some gorgeous textures and beautiful lighting, Enclave isn't
short on the eye candy. Buildings and outdoor environments look solid, with only
lava looking sub-par, but the water made up for it. Character design is also a
strong suit as the dark characters look very cool, with a solid amount of detail,
and the same treatment was given to the light units as well. Switching to first-person
view and seeing a few arrows sticking out from your shield and seeing an ogre
with a stitched-up face charging your position looks better than most games could
dream of making it look. Other smaller details are also a bonus; arrows leave
trails and stick into the objects they hit, sparks shoot out from a hammer pounding
iron in a house, and leaves whirl around desolated towns.
the spell effects aren't as impressive as I had anticipated, they are nonetheless
responsible for a fair amount of frame rate problems that plague all levels of
Enclave. Stuttering frames aren't that much of a problem, it does deter
from the overall polish of the game, but it doesn't bring about the gameplay-affecting
situations that occur when several enemies are on the screen at once and the game
seems to drop to 5 frames per second. Luckily, these extensive drops aren't frequent
and are only a minor nuisance. It's a shame that the stutters and drops made it
into the final release, because Enclave was looking up to a 10 in this
and effects are pretty spot-on for all settings. The moody tunes go well with
the foreboding landscapes and some really go beyond the standard sound and reach
the level that would make them enjoyable outside of the game. While the effects
are a bit more generic, they do get the job done and the thrill of running through
a group of enemies and hearing the arrows wiz past your head is an undeniable
joyous rush of adrenaline.
This is one of the game's main culprits in the negative category.
The character's moves feel very loose, while the actual controls feel too rigid.
Also, with only two layouts, and neither of which providing a different button
to aim or switch the camera, the aforementioned problem with the third-person
view comes into play as the gamer will swing too low because they are attempting
to get a better view. Switching weapons, items, etc. is easy enough, as is basic
navigation, but the combat gets sloppy with the awkward hit detection and camera
problems. These troubles persist throughout the game, unless the player switches
to first-person view, but it's hard to judge the distance from the enemy as the
weapon is either not on screen or too difficult to see.
An adventure wrought with frustration and faults, yet remains fairly
entertaining throughout the journey through both the light and dark campaigns.
Enclave is definitely worth trying, but the technical and aesthetic problems
may be too much for some gamers. However, with titles in this setting and style
being a rarity for consoles, there might be enough positives to overlook the problems.
While I did enjoy using the characters and weapons, Enclave definitely
has problems that need to be ironed out; hopefully a sequel is in the works with
the correct implementations on the drawing board.