Hands-onEnclave PC

We take a new look at the PC version of Starbreeze's 3D hack-and-slash.



We recently had the chance to check out an updated preview version of Enclave, the upcoming PC port of Starbreeze's fantasy hack-and-slash game. The game takes place in the titular fantasy world of Enclave, a magical land that's embroiled in a war between the forces of light and the dark army known as the Dreg'atar. You can take the role of different character classes throughout the game, including knights, druids, and engineers on the light side, and assassins, berserkers, and sorceresses when playing as the dark. Accumulated gold throughout the missions is used to arm characters with a plethora of different weapons, ranging from standard swords, axes, and bows, to traps, bombs, and magical staves. Unlike in the Xbox version, both the light and the dark campaigns are accessible to you at the outset.

The PC port of Enclave features a new checkpoint save system. The developers introduced checkpoints into the levels as a response to complaints about the extreme difficulty of the original Xbox version, which forced you to restart a level from the beginning if you died. In the PC port, if a checkpoint is activated, you can replay the level from that point at the cost of a few accumulated gold pieces. Enemies and bosses that have already been damaged or killed retain that same state when you start back at a checkpoint.

Enclave for the PC also features a slightly modified control scheme to account for a mouse and keyboard interface. Overall, movement and jumping within the game feel fairly precise in the PC version. The precision is important in order to avoid falling into bottomless pits, a common complaint about the original Xbox version. The mouse and keyboard interface also seems to make it easier to avoid various traps in the game that can damage or outright kill your character. Dodging falling bricks, rolling barrels and rocks, and flying debris doesn't seem to be as big a problem in the PC port as it was in the Xbox version.

The aiming interface with projectile weapons such as bows and magic staves has been modified to account for higher precision with mouse aiming. Instead of presenting a large aiming circle around enemies, the crosshair in Enclave for the PC features a single green dot that turns red when targeted over an enemy. The change allows skilled bow and staff users to try for headshots that do much better damage than hits to the torso or other armored body parts. The sniper arrows you can find for the bow make aiming at specific body parts even easier; the zoomed crosshair on the bow will actually tell you what portion is targeted and what type of armor the enemy is using to protect itself on that body part. Though the interface changes have made aiming less of a chore, the change to a location-based damage model makes it quite a challenge to hit thin enemies, such as assassins or skeletons.

At this point, the Xbox version's collision-detection issues are still present in the PC version. Melee attacks will inexplicably miss at times when it looks like they should be connecting. Sometimes hits are registered when they shouldn't be--for example, while you are backpedaling. Bows at close range will also miss if enemies run in too close. However, bow-wielding enemies can still shoot and hit with ease at point-blank range. If the collision-detection issues can be ironed out before release, the PC version of Enclave should be a marked improvement over the original Xbox version when it's released in March.

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