Enclave
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Conspiracy Entertainment
Developer
Starbreeze
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Great menu and level design
• Excellent sound and music
• Two campaigns - light and dark

The Bad

• Battle system is unpolished
• Jumping is a chore

 
Grade
B

In the realm of Enclave, there was a war between Vatar with his legions and the forces of good. During the war, Vatar is defeated, but the ensuing explosion tears open a rift in the earth which separates the outlands and the Enclave. Many years pass and the rift begins to heal, which brings the forces of the outlands, the Dreg'atar, and the citizens of Celenheim into conflict. When you start the light campaign, you start the game in prison for tax debt. When the castle comes under siege, you must fight your way free and help defeat the Dreg'atar forces.

Visually, the game shows a great level of design and polish. The highly polished menus are impressive and give you a great start in a game that just plain looks nice all the way around. Both level and character design are really nice and the character models are well detailed. Character animations are good, but from time to time can feel a little stiff. Enclave's locations show off a lot of visual effects, from bump-mapping to a wide array of lighting and water effects, and an immense level of detail in the texture maps. Enclave is one of those games you'll want to show off to friends. The levels themselves have more than enough nooks and crannies to keep you looking around for hidden stashes of gold - you could just rush through the level, but then you might miss some stuff.

Each level is set up with goals and the player will often have to deal with an assortment of villains (or heroes if you play the dark campaign) to get to the end of the level. Combat is played out in real time, where the player can choose from a variety of weapons, including swords, bows and magic to hack, slash or shoot it out with foes. Along the way, you can unlock new characters to use in your campaign. At the start of each new stage, you can buy new weapons and armor to make your characters stronger. Between the two campaigns, there are twelve characters you can play as, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The controls are fairly straightforward. If you're familiar with Morrowind, you'll already have a head start. The right trigger attacks, while pressing in the right stick allows you to jump and pressing in the left stick lets you crouch. The black button switches from first person perspective to third. While you have control over this, there are parts in the game where the camera will zoom in to first person mode no matter your preference.

The audio portion of the game is well done. Both sound effects and voice acting are well done. While neither have any real standout parts, they don't do anything to detract from the game. One of the nicest aspects of the audio portion is the music, which is a true gem, adding a nice depth to the game and works exceptionally well with the game's concept.

Where the game runs into a hiccup is in the execution of the combat engine. While it is adequate and doesn't totally hold the game back, you'll often be frustrated with how clunky it feels. There's no way to focus on an enemy when you fight it out, so if they run past you, you'll be left swinging at thin air and often left open for a rear attack. The inclusion of some kind of lock-on feature would have been helpful. Also, jumping in the few platforming parts can be harrowing with how unpredictable your character's jump distance is. One last thing of note - there is no in-mission saving, so expect to die and have to replay certain levels a few times before you can move on. Since none of the levels are too long, this isn't too much of an issue.

Enclave is a really nice action title that fans of medieval themed games will want to go out and get. There are a few things I wish they had resolved, but for the most part, the game is playable and if you can look past the downside issues, you'll really enjoy yourself.

- - Vane

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