Gorgeous on the outside, dumb as a post on the inside.
Originally unleashed on the X-box, Enclave is something to gawk at. Just about everything from the environments to the characters and sleek menus look lovely, with an exaggerated emphasis of rusty iron, stone and spikes. On top of that it’s not a half bad console port – the graphics have been noticeably enhanced, there’s mouse support, and the game is easy to customize as far as sound, video and control options.
Your motive for traversing Enclave’s fantasy world is utterly irrelevant. Evil is afoot, the land is ravaged and all that jazz. On some level it works well because of a lack of pretension, as this is a game of mayhem first, with what little story there is serving only as a basic excuse to pummel goblins and demons. But unfortunately it’s not enough. Look past the glitzy graphics, which are undoubtedly fun to watch, and all you get is an awkward third-person combat game with uninteresting foes and linear levels.
Not Quite A Pot of Gold
There are two campaigns: one for Light and one for Dark. Each campaign spans about 13 missions, with new characters unlocked as you progress through the game. Of the two campaigns, the Dark one is more interesting, largely because the early level designs are better, and thereâ€™s a bit more emphasis on basic puzzle-solving along with the beatings you administer to hapless elves.
Each character can purchase new weapons and armor between levels using pilfered pots of gold, and in many missions, success will be determined not only by appropriate character choice but by the type of weapon you use. Most of these decisions are pretty obvious â€” taking a fireball staff into a lava pit is pretty dumb â€” but even when you take the sexy-assed druidess into a swordfight, the game still gives you ample opportunities to survive. And survive you must, as with no ingame saving capabilities you must rely on checkpoints, and when those aren’t available, even traverse the entire level from start to finish in one run.
Combat is blatantly simple, little surprise considering Enclave is set in the arcade realm. But it’s also really bizarre – circle-strafing and flailing around your sword like a spastic is a winning combat strategy despite how ridiculous it looks. Indeed the simple action never did quite click for me, and after several levels the combat becomes unbearable.
Altogether, Enclave isnâ€™t a clever game, nor is it an ambitious one. It isnâ€™t as â€œdeepâ€ as Blade of Darkness, nor as story-laden as Soul Reaver 2. Much like the unsung Heretic 2, its environments and special effects are the stars, not its combat complexities or characters.
System Requirements: PIII 700 Mhz, 128 MB RAM, 2,5 GB HDD, Win 98/ME/2000/XP