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Jul. 20, 2002

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page



Starbreeze Studios

Conspiracy Entertainment


Extremely High

The long awaited Enclave is on the verge of release, come on in for the latest details.

Having been developed by Starbreeze Studios and soon to be published by Conspiracy Entertainment, Enclave (which has recently gone gold) is set to be yet another high quality action/adventure title in the Xbox's fast growing library. At first glance the game seems to be your typical third-person adventure game (though it can also be played in the first-person), but it's set to differentiate itself from the others with the promise of an engaging story, a less linear feel, and the inclusion of multiple characters and campaigns to choose from. And I must say, at this point things are looking really good for its release later this month.

The story of Enclave once again takes us to a medieval world full of fantasy and exploration. A time when dragons ruled the skies, wizards amazed people with their… umm, wizardry, and barbarians roamed the lands seeking gold and glory. Years ago an evil demon known as Vatar had his mind set on ruling the world, but unfortunately for him, he didn't count on a powerful wizard, Zale, to strike his staff into the ground, leaving Vatar and his troops trapped in a massive rift. As the years went by the rift slowly began to seal itself, and now Vatar's evil minions, known as the Dreg'atar, start to resurface, leaving the world once again on the brink of war. You start the game out as a knight who is locked inside a prison, and luck would have it that one of the walls have just been knocked down by attacks that are taking place on the castle. Now free from imprisonment, your adventure thus begins.

While the game starts you out playing the role of the knight, you will in fact meet, and use, additional characters as the story progresses. These include, but are not limited to (there's six classes in all), such characters as a druid and huntress, with each character offering their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Yes, there's very simple logic to this - for example, naturally the knight is a very strong melee fighter, the druid is powerful in the art of magic, and the huntress excels with long-range weaponry, such as crossbows and the like. One of nicest features in the game is that in addition to playing as the light side (the Enclavers), you can also play a whole separate campaign that's full of six fresh, yet similar, characters and has a new take on the story. This is known as the dark side, where you take on the role of the Outlanders.

The game itself is primarily an action hack-'n-slash, but with a nice dose of adventure and RPG elements throw into the mix. You'll notice that as you progress in the game your characters will become stronger, and you'll even be able to upgrade to new, more powerful weapons and armor, either by purchasing them with gold or just by finding them lying around as you make your way through each level. The adventure elements in Enclave come in the form of a non-linear feel that's complete with a heavy emphasis on exploration.

The only thing at this point that seems questionable is potentially the most important part of the game - the combat. This is just my opinion, but so far it seems to be a bit sloppy. Looks to be a hit and run sort of deal, where not much is involved on the strategy side of things (just like your usual beat-'em-up). I've yet to hear of anything involving a lock on button, and judging by what I've seen of the game it would appear to be incredibly helpful. But if it turns out to be anything like what was found in the overlooked, and somewhat similar Dreamcast title, Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm, I will be pleasantly surprised. I'm just hoping they have gotten everything running smoothly in that department. And at the same time, the shooting elements of the game seem very promising. Here you can actually go into a first-person view and aim at enemies from far distances. Cowardly, but efficient and damn fun!

From the get go Enclave was renowned for it's remarkable visuals. Beautiful screenshots revealed to the world breathtaking in-door and out-door environments, complete with some of the sharpest hi-resolution textures we've ever seen. The environments in the game take place in your typical medieval settings, such as castles, dungeons, etc., and some are also interactive, allowing you to knock down a wall with a cannon or catapult if it just happens to be blocking your path. Characters models are also looking good, featuring nice animations and details, and lighting and particle effects are strewn throughout the game quite liberally, working well in creating an in-depth world. Unfortunately, early reports on the game mention a number of graphical problems, although, we're going to have to wait till we get our hands on our copy before making any mention of those. But overall you should expect one fine-looking game.

It's looking as if gamers who want to wet their action-adventure appetites this summer can't possibly go wrong with Enclave. A nice story, a beautiful medieval setting, and a wide variety of characters to choose from are just a few of the perks. But like I said earlier, the combat in the game could make or break it. Let's just pray to the fantasy Gods that it turns out to be deep and compelling enough to keep are attention for the long haul. Look for Enclave to hit shelves later this month.

Ryan Smotherman
Sigh… still longing to see a game based off Conan the Barbarian.

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