Enclave
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

It might be a typical console port, but Enclave has enough action to keep players hooked. Don’t play this one for the puzzles as you will be disappointed, but if you want some nice hacking and slashing you can’t go wrong.

Gameplay: A typical console port but still fun.

Graphics: Very good for their time.

Sound: Epic music score and decent voice acting

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Enclave

Developer: Starbreeze | Publisher: Topware Interactive | Release Date: 2003 | Genre: Action / RPG | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Enclave first came out on the Xbox and although I didn’t play it myself, I have read a few reviews and the game seems to have been received with mixed feelings. The good news for computer owners is that the developers went and fixed everything people were grumbling about resulting in a much more polished and entertaining game. The Enclave storyline reads like something out of a J.R.R Tolkien novel and takes place in a world which became divided during a huge battle. This colossal riff in the earth separated the armies of light and dark, but over the years the land has slowly healed itself and the riff can now actually be crossed in places. After all these years the Outlanders (that would be the dark side) have been preparing themselves for the day they will take on the Enclave (that would be the light side) and finish what was started so many years ago. The game opens just as the conflict starts flaring up and your characters will play a vital role and the events to come.

The game actually allows you to see the story from both sides as there is a light and a dark campaign to play through. Xbox owners first had to complete the light campaign before the dark one was unlocked, but computer owners are treated to both from the start. The funny thing is upon completing the light campaign I was still told I have unlocked the dark campaign and even given a secret code to access it. Guess they forgot to take that out. You’ll hear this many times, but Enclave basically plays like a fantasy version of Max Payne without the bullet time. You have to battle all kinds of creatures your arsenal of swords, axes, shields, crossbows and more while fulfilling your objectives. Levels are rather short and the missions pretty straightforward, which means most of the time you’ll just be fighting for your life and collecting gold. The gold you find on each level is actually more helpful than you’d think as you use it to purchase your equipment at the start of each level. It’s really cool to see how your characters look changes as you get them better armor and cooler weapons. By the end of the game they look like armored weapon racks. If you are lucky you might also spot a hidden map piece which allows access to secret bonus levels where you might fight a string of enemies or shoot at them with a cannon while they try and storm your position. None of these levels are essential to completing the game, but they are nice diversion and handy for getting more cash.

Playing through the levels you’ll also find other characters that might be in need of help or willing to help you out. Finish such a level and that character is added to your selection. You can choose any of the unlocked characters before starting a mission and some are more suited to the task at hand than others. The knight might be good for wading in blade flailing but sneaking around as an archer might make your life easier as you pick off enemies from afar. Even cooler is magic wielding characters like the druid and wizard. Depending on what side you’re on you’ll mostly be battling characters from the other side, but there are some really cool bosses to fight as well. None of the boss battles are exactly straightforward and the final battle is intense to say the least. Xbox owners had a really tough time as few of the levels had check points and the game had no skill levels. Computer owners can rejoice as both these omissions has been included making for a far less frustrating game. There’s no quicksave but levels generally aren’t that long and once you activate a checkpoint, it acts more like a respawning point since everything on the level stays like it was when you died.

The highlight of Enclave is obviously the graphics and this game definitely has some of the coolest environments I’ve ever battled through. Each level looks like it was lifted straight from the drawings of a fantasy artist and all the character designs are really cool as well. Levels are filled with crumbling walls, enemies that ambush you and all kinds of really neat looking graphical effects. I was also very impressed with the polished interface which features a really nice design. It’s a pity more wasn’t done with the cut-scenes as these are mostly someone rambling one while you see some pages from a dusty old tome. The awesome game graphics make up for this lack of jaw dropping cut-scenes though. After Severance: Blade Of Darkness (a very similar game to this) I was a bit disappointed with the lack of gore as you can’t even chop off any limbs. There is some blood but nothing gratuitous. A real pity but I guess it keeps the game from turning into a bloodbath.

Enclave has some epic sounding tunes and the music never becomes annoying or obtrusive. You’ll feel like the star of a big budget fantasy movie with the orchestral tunes coming through your speakers. The sound effects themselves aren’t half bad either and I have no complaints about the voice overs. Controls are a breeze with the keyboard and mouse combo and all keys are fully configurable (just had to rub that in for the poor Xbox sods). Fighting only uses one weapon and there’s not much in the way of combos and special attacks, but somehow it still manages to work well. There are times when you’ll be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off as enemies strafe you while shooting multiple arrows in your direction but it’s all part of the fun. Blocking arrows with your shield before charging the enemy soon becomes second nature. I had a few problems with foes shooting at me from miles away but nothing too annoying.

If you enjoyed games like Severance and Rune then Enclave should be next on your list. The puzzles are rather weak and the levels might not be that big, but when a game looks this stunning and has some much action who’s going to complain. Overall I had a blast playing it and didn’t even hesitate starting the dark campaign after finishing the light one. It might not be the next Max Payne but who said a game has to be groundbreaking to be fun.

*Review originally published in 2005.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
    • Processor: Intel or AMD Single Core CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: with TnL support and 128 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Sound Card: required
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard, Mouse
    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
    • Processor: Intel or AMD Multi-Core CPU with 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: with Shader 2.0 support and 256 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Sound Card: required
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard, Mouse
    • OS: Snow Leopard
    • Processor: Intel Mac 2.GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Per Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Soundcard with 5.1 Support
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard and mouse
    • OS: Snow Leopard
    • Processor: Multicore CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI/AMD Radeon X
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Soundcard with 5.1 Support
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard and mouse
    • OS: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or SteamOS
    • Processor: Intel or AMD Single Core CPU
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 128 MB RAM
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: required
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard, Mouse
    • OS: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or SteamOS
    • Processor: Intel or AMD Multi-Core CPU with 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: with Shader 2.0 support and 256 MB RAM
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: required
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard, Mouse

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