Enclave is one of those Xbox titles that has been getting a lot of hype over the last few months. The first screenshots of the game looked superb and thus most Xboxer's have been wetting their pants ever since. A few features have vanished since it was first announced, Enclave only now supports a single player mode. This isn't always a bad thing as it means the developer can really make sure that the single player game is as good as it can be.
Enter the world of Enclave where the eternal battle once again rages and you have entered into the fray to unite the divided peoples of the "enclave" and the "outlands."
Installation, Settings and Loading Speeds
Enclave comes on the single Xbox DVD-ROM. The game loads up into the menu pretty fast, you get the basic options, continue game, load game, new game, options and credits. Once you select whatever one you want, the game starts to load, this is where it can feel that the game takes a while to start, each level takes upwards of 25 seconds to load.
First impressions are pretty good, the menu is excellent looking and really well animated. The game supports widescreen mode. I have started off on the "Light Campaign" which means I am attempting to be a good guy. The into movie is fantastic looking and really well narrated, the quality of the intro movie really is superb, the intro gives you good detail on the story via the narration and the turning of pages from a book.
You awake from being knocked out in a dungeon caught by outlanders. Suddenly a blast from one side of the prison wall smashes a hole and gives you means of escape. As I walk through where the blast occurs, I turn around and head into a new room with a sword lying on the ground, I pick it up and then arm it with the A button. To my left is a leaver I pull it and a new doorway opens, this leads to some sewers which I can't get through until I find a torch. I find the torch and make my way through the sewers. Once I get through the sewers I finally get to pick up a shield, this is equipped with the X button, as I turn around after equipping I am attacked by a new creature; you use the right trigger button to swing your sword and the left trigger to block with the shield. Once this mission is over you get to meet up with more NPC who join you in your quest to take on the enemy.
The first few levels are not very hard to complete, this worried me at first as I thought the game might be short-lived, but Enclave does get harder the further you get into it. There are 25 levels for both the Light and the Dark campaign so the game should last for sometime for most users. And you have to play through the whole of the light campaign before opening up the option to play on the Dark side.
The problems that I have are the lack of save game places as I prefer to save anywhere, you can't in Enclave, and your game is automatically saved when you complete a level. I guess this means the game will last longer for some people, but perhaps the chance to save a couple of times during a mission would have been better.
Then we have the fact that you canít really smash up anything in the game, barrels, glass windows etc Ė none of them shatter when hit, I guess this could have put even more of a strain on the engine than there already is (See graphics section) but it doesnít really add to the atmosphere not being able to demolish any of the objects scattered around.
Your attacks vary depending on what weapon you have in hand, for example my first sword has 3 basic attacks, one click for once swing, two clicks for 2 swing attack combo, 3 clicks for an even more harder 3 swing attack combo. Controls are very easy to get used to. The left thumbstick moves you forward, back and strifeís whole the right thumbstick controls the view whilst pressing down on the right thumbstick makes you jump. Y drinks health potions. The main problem you are likely to have it the actually in game camera, as it can sometimes make it hard to see who you are fighting when you are in a small room.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics are gorgeous there is no doubt about that, high resolution textures all over the place, big set pieces with walls collapsing and debris falling around you and towards you, great lighting. But there are some frame rate issues which is a shame, it isn't enough to spoil the game but there are hefty slow downs during play, at first I thought that this may be due to me playing in widescreen mode, but I was proved wrong, no matter if I was in widescreen, letterbox or 4:3 the game still had a frame rate problem and changing from PAL 60 to PAL 50 also made no difference what so ever.
The last complaint (and one that affects a lot of Xbox titles) is the text, its too small and hard to read and again it makes no difference if I am playing in Widescreen or 4:3 video display modes.
Sound is pretty good with some great voices and good music along with explosions, chinking armour, sword swinging and the suchlike. I did have a few problems with my two speaker setup though; voices seemed to fade as if they should be miles away from my character, even if they were standing next to me. But this didnít happen very often.
All in all - I have to say that if you enjoyed Rune on the PC/PS2 then you are likely to enjoy Enclave, I liked Rune and I have enjoyed playing of Enclave. You just must not buy the game expecting something special or different, because you won't find it.