Control in the game is responsive, but unfortunately there are other problems which make combat difficult in the game. There is a long recovery time between swings of melee weapons - a handicap that does not seem to be shared by some enemies and that they can easily compensate for in terms of their sheer numbers. You'll often be attacked by groups of enemies and will take several hits while waiting to initiate another attack. You can carry shields as a defensive measure which would alleviate this problem somewhat if it weren't for the spotty collision detection. Blocking attacks with a shield is a seemingly random affair as you can have your shield up and aligned right at an enemy only to have their next swing of their weapon connect with you and cost you some health points.
|You'll face a variety of enemies in a variety of locations.|
The problem with the melee weapons is compounded by the fact that the movement keys are used in conjunction with attacks to determine the type of swing. If you are dodging while taking a swing, you may find that you've inadvertently unleashed a slow three swing combo while taking hits on your exposed flank.
The bows in the game provide you with ranged attack and can be quite powerful when used with flaming or grenade arrows. However, the reload time for bows is even longer than the delay between swings of a weapon, leaving archers extremely vulnerable to mob attacks. Even drinking health potions is time-consuming. Drinking a potion causes your character to sheath his or her weapon, pull out the bottle, and drink the potion. It's a nice bit of animation, but you'll lose half of the benefits of the potion thanks to all the hits you'll take while drinking it.
The slow attacks and enemy mob tactics make Enclave difficult enough to complete, but this complexity is further increased by the lack of mid-mission saves. The game features a lot of scripted events in the missions that can easily surprise you and cost you the life of your character. There are also plenty of hidden traps and dangers that can turn a misstep into death. You may find yourself ten minutes into a mission when a skeleton emerges from a crypt backing you into a pit in which the fall causes you to die instantly, as happened to me during play. My only choice at that point was to restart the level all the way from the beginning, with all monsters, traps, puzzles, and scripted events reset. This is the kind of frustrating occurrence that can instantly end a play session in disgust. Some levels feature spawn points that will let you regenerate within the same mission once you locate them. However, these are not placed or used consistently enough to make them of much good. You'll still be stuck with replaying many missions from the very beginning, and more than once.
Enclave looks great and can be a lot of fun to play at times. Unfortunately, this fun is tempered by the frustration created by the lack of mid-mission saves, surprise death traps, and a combat system which makes a challenging game even more difficult. If you can put up with these frustrations, then Enclave's great graphics and atmosphere will provide you with some entertaining action.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 78%. A great looking action-slasher that may prove to be too frustrating to many gamers.
System Requirements: Pentium III 700; 128 MB RAM; 16 MB Video RAM; 4x CD-ROM; 2.2 GB Hard Drive Space; Mouse.