Hands-onEnclave

We get a chance to play through a complete build of Starbreeze Studios' third-person action game for the Xbox.

We recently received the final version of Conspiracy Entertainment and Starbreeze Studios' medieval third-person action game Enclave, and we've played through some early portions of the game. The game begins with a storybook introduction sequence that refers to an evil creature named Vatar, who is trying to conquer a part of the land that has strong ties to magic. After sending his troops into battle and killing almost all the land's inhabitants, Vatar is confronted by one of the last wizards, who strikes the ground with his staff, opening an enormous rift that swallows Vatar. Ultimately, it saves the magical lands from Vatar but also creates new conflicts between the two groups of people separated by the rift.

In the first level, you assume the role of a warrior who wakes up in a prison. After you have a brief conversation with a fellow inmate, an opportunity to escape presents itself, and you leave the cell and escape the through the corridors of the castle. While you're in the first few rooms, you'll notice that the castle is constantly being bombarded by enemy catapults, as large blocks fall from the ceiling and erupt from the walls. If you're not careful, you can be harmed by the debris.

After a few seconds of exploring, you'll come across a standard sword that your character can wield by pressing a specific button. When you find other weapons, such as a crossbow, you can select it by simply pressing the same button again. Attacks in the default control scheme are performed using the right trigger button, and depending on whether or not you're backpedaling, the warrior will swing his sword in different directions. For example, if you're moving backward, then he'll only use a general side slash, whereas if you're charging forward, he'll use overhead chops and a variety of other moves. When you're using a long-range weapon like the crossbow, a small reticle will appear on the screen. This reticle will change color to indicate if an enemy is in range. When enemies are within a certain range, a circle-shaped target will appear on them, and you'll have to move your reticle into the circle to successfully hit them.

You'll find plenty of secondary items scattered through the halls of the castle as well. There are potions that heal your character, as well as shields, torches, and gold. Shields can be used by pressing the left trigger, and while they don't appear to completely block an enemy's attack, they do absorb a generous amount of the damage. The gold comes into play before the start of each mission. There will be a menu that shows which characters you can choose from, and after selecting one, you'll have the option to outfit him or her with long-range and short-range weapons, ammunition for the long-range weapons, armor, and potions. This doesn't actually factor into the game until you come across the huntress in the third mission. Naturally, the huntress plays a little differently from the warrior. She's much faster than the warrior, so it's easier to run up to an enemy, take a few swipes with the dagger, and then run back to a safe area. However, she doesn't appear to be quite as strong, so when a large group of enemies are involved, she can get into trouble quickly.

Like a large number of other games, Enclave has basically adopted the Halo control scheme, where you move the character using the left analog stick and manipulate the camera using the right analog stick. Ducking and jumping are executed by pressing in on the left and right analog sticks, respectively. You can also switch between third-person and first-person perspectives by pressing one of the face buttons on the Xbox controller, but it's a little more difficult to engage in combat in the first-person mode simply because you can't really judge how close the enemies are to your weapon.

We'll have more on Enclave in the coming weeks. It's currently scheduled for a mid-July release.

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