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Platform(s): PC, Wii, Xbox
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Vivendi
Developer: Starbreeze
Release Date: March 11, 2003


PC Preview - 'Enclave'

by Chris "Fozz" Breci on Feb. 25, 2003 @ 12:39 a.m. PST

Enclave is a fantasy action game with many RPG elements. In the beginning the player takes control of a fearless knight fighting his way out of a mysterious fortress. While the player can switch between both First Person and Third Person mode, his goal is to defend the lone city of Celenheim from the dark Outlanders preparing to invade.

Many moons ago a rift was created on the planet’s surface that split directly down the center, creating a large gap between the proud and marvelous powers of good and the sick and twisted minds that possess evil. As time goes on this rift is getting closer and closer to closing, bringing together the lands of light and dark. Do you posses the power of the light, or the deception of the evil? The task is yours to bring to victory whichever side you chose to align with.

Enclave is an all around solid game that combines some of the most intense graphics with a rock-hard style of game play that can’t go sour. With all of the games coming out this day and age you start to see overflows of the exact same game with the same storyline and minor changes. Everyone’s trying to cash in on the success of games such as Diablo and Starcraft, while the games in themselves were awesome but the taste gets kind of old playing a remake of the same game. Titles like Enclave bring about a breathe of fresh air into the gaming community by creating an original storyline and having an interesting engine to work with. Many of folk have given Enclave mediocre reviews on it’s platform debut, but I have finished playing a near completed version of the PC port and I am telling you this game is one of those titles that just plain keeps your attention. Enclave also captured the essence of a true game; it dropped almost unnoticeable hints about a possible sequel, but that’s another story for another time.

To keep the game amusing for any amount of time the creators have made two completely separate and opposite campaigns. The light and dark campaigns completely complement each other in a way that you are able to recognize historic, in game that is, battles from both standpoints however, the battles do not go down the same way with the same things happening. The player has the opportunity to take their place in a specific battle in a different place such that it’s the same war or scenario, yet not the exact same environment.

As you work your little way though the game you unlock numerous amounts of new characters, each having their own style of play. There are the brute strength fighters that rely on their melee weapon of choice and a shield, the “crafty” type which have makeshift grenades, bombs, and Molotov cocktail sort of weapons, the archer group is a necessity to any type of semi-medieval setting, and there are the wizards who use staves to launch their spell attacks. Starbreeze has also included a couple of hidden characters that you can unlock by finishing the campaigns. To get better weapons and armor you spend gold that you find in each level, which is then deposited into an account. I let out a sigh of relief when I found that instead of paying for weapons flat out, you more or less throw down a “down payment” and you get your money back if you want a new weapon.

The game play can be best described as the game Rune plus fun to the 10th power and take away the crappy puzzles. Granted it has its minor puzzles that you would come to expect from most any game, but it isn’t done to the point where you get sick of say pushing block A over to platform C. You will end up solving puzzles like “Ok good job, you have made it this far! Now you must hall your butt down these stairs before the spikes pop out of each stair, jump off the last stair and dodge to the left to get away from the spikes flying out of the wall and make sure you duck the second you hit the ground because there are three large, steel rods prodding at head level. Once you’ve done that you must carefully dodge the rotating axes that traverse this entire circular four-foot room.” Those are the kind of puzzles you’ll be doing.

This title will definitely show off the strength, or weaknesses, respectively, of your AGP card. With the option of curved textures, bump mapping in a sense, high-resolution support, and a biblical amount of textures on screen. The characters textures and very intense when you get up close to them. While each character has his/her own unique look and feel, it’s the environmental graphics that really put the pedal to the floor in this game. When the character steps off the boat and onto the lands of Meckelon, you can see the city’s castle from the shore and you honestly have to pick your jaw up off of the ground and return the drool from your mouth in order to proceed. When infiltrating the dark lands or playing the dark campaign you are in a fiery pit with molten rock all over which is best described as your stereotypical Hell. The only flaws that I have found are on the head of knight, when he’s not wearing a helmet you can notice a break in his head where the hair starts. That’s the only flaw I have noticed and since it is a preview I would assume that the problem should be fixed by the final version.

As a final word to Starbreeze before this title hits store, I might suggest the fabled co-operative mode that was alleged to be in the console version prior to it’s release could be added in to the PC port. It would be a great selling point for an awesome game. Moreover Enclave will astonish you with its graphics and keep you coming back for more with a solid style of play. This is bound to be a title that should be showing up in many a gamers collections.

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