Summary: The Enclave demo came out recently and while Enclave has received some bad press on the Xbox for its controls, there shouldn't be any problems with mouse and keyboard, right? Jakub fooled around with it for a bit and hey, we all want free entertainment - but is it worth downloading? Find out!
When the much-berated Enclave hit the PC in the form of a demo I had to download and try it. Not because I heard great things about the game, but because it seemed to be the spiritual successor to a personal favorite - Rune.
Some of the most common knocks on Enclave’s Xbox release were poor control options. The front-end is inexplicably keyboard-driven, a leftover legacy from the consoles no doubt. Fortunately the developers chose to include mouse support where it matters – in the game. The default control scheme work perfectly for us, and if somebody isn’t satisfied they do have the option of rebinding keys.
Both options, while being a necessary part of the process in porting to PC, make Enclave more appealing than it was on the Xbox.
SIDEBAR: The assassin seems a lot more fun than the knight. She’s quicker, more agile and has a more interesting array of weapons. That’s quite a change for me, since I usually end up picking the tank classes.
Graphics & Sound
With a 190MB download, we expected high-res textures and quality sounds, and for the most part we got them. There isn’t much in the way of music, or at least music worth noticing, but otherwise this demo really delivered the goods. The medieval-fantasy castle and town settings are really slick; the textures stand up nicely by themselves and when combined with the dynamic lighting give a very immersive experience. It may be a little hard to notice in the thick of combat, but during the respites between battles, it’s easy to appreciate the work that went into the world. The settings in the demo are a little limited in scope compared to the full game, by all accounts.
The gameplay in the demo, as with Rune, is extremely simplistic: you run around like a chicken with its head cut off, and try to cut the heads off everything in your path! Well, the one difference is that you actually can’t dismember your foes like you could in Rune. Otherwise the analogy works perfectly.
Combat is also a bit irksome, particularly in melee ranges. Part of the problem is the AI of the enemies, but a more pressing issue is the “feel”. With Rune it was possible to become very proficient, while Enclave is slightly more sloppy. The analogy would not be unlike Quake vs. Unreal in multiplayer; both are fun but one is clearly more tangible (for lack of a better word.)
SIDEBAR: Alan tends to write non-standard articles for us, like the workstation article or image quality guides. These, in turn, tend to be posted on Slashdot, thus, I’ve dubbed him hencefort as Alan /.effect Dang.
The hefty 190MB download is actually worth it for broadband users. The Enclave demo is a great way to kill an hour or two, and show off your l33t hardware. Unreal II is the only game that comes to mind which looks better than Enclave. Mindless melee action has never looked so good… played is another matter, but the candy is there!
Of course, there is one serious issue we have to take up with the demo. The various intro and menu movies take up 50MB when the game is installed. These could have been cut out and saved the low bandwidth crowd over half an hour of download time.
Pardon the blurred images in screenshots. Our screenshot utility didn’t seem to get along with Enclave. –ed
SIDEBAR: What do you think of Enclave? Sounds interesting? Does it look interesting? Sound Off! and let the world know!
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