VGamingNews

Enshrouded

31 May, 2024 - 4:35 pm by
About 8 mins to read
Reviewed on: PC

Amidst the current climate of national turmoil and financial woes, it can feel at times like we’re living in our own brand of survival game, where the only safe place is our home, away from… people. Jumping into the survival genre has titles that come with its own unique styles and construction mechanics, with personal favourites being Valheim and The Forest. That is until Enshrouded threw its hat in the ring, where before I knew it, tens of hours had passed before I had even left the tutorial area. Whilst still in its early access, the team over at Keen Games has developed what is shaping up to be one of my FAVOURITE survival games, and the beauty is, they are only making it better.

This is an abridged version of our Enshrouded video review, which can be seen here:

We start our adventure with a bit of back story, where we are essentially told that the people of Embervale got greedy for some powerful elixir, tapping out wells of the stuff while killing each other for it. In doing so, they released the deadly shroud that now plagues the land. We are Flameborn, beings forged by the humans and ancients to clean up everyone’s mess. Now beyond this, much like Embervale, the story itself is enshrouded. Once released into the world, your main means of lore come from the various scrolls and parchments scattered across the land. These can also act as quests that then uncover locations on the map to explore.


At A Glance

Enshrouded

Positives

+ Excellent mix of combat, crafting, and RPG

+ Gorgeous and vast world to explore 

+ Lots of content, even for early access

Negatives  

– Story lacking at present
– Performance issues currently

– Not enough hours in the day to play more!

Overall

8 /10

Played On

PC

Also Available On

PS5, Xbox Series X|S

Find out about our scoring policy here.


When you eventually set out to explore Embervale, you’re tasked with finding and rescuing the blacksmith, and doing so introduces another unique mechanic. There are multiple different characters you are tasked with finding that you deploy around your base, and interacting with them allows you to construct and enhance new armours, weapons, and items. They are essentially work benches personified, but introducing this mechanic via various characters instead of behind a simple menu makes settlements feel a lot more alive.

During your adventure, you discover the elixir wells deep beneath the shroud, where you race against the ticking clock to chop down the shroud root, clearing the surrounding area of the deadly fog at the source. The shroud itself is excellently designed; you are always able to see where it is from above, but it just about blocks your view of what’s beneath until you pull up your big boy pants and jump into it. A timer starts to tick down, and if you don’t manage to stick your neck above the shroud in time, it envelops you and you die.

You’ll also notice large towers along the horizon, these act as Assassin’s Creed-type viewpoints, except they don’t immediately reveal the surrounding map, and they each bring with them a bit of platforming and puzzle-solving to get to the top, where you can then unlock that tower as a fast travel point. Fast travelling is currently limited however to the unlocked towers and your flame altars, which means you will need tactical altar placement around the map.

The sights themselves are beautifully hand-crafted, and again, unlike many other titles in this genre, they are not procedurally generated. This means that the world layout is the same for everyone, every time. You’d think that this would hurt replayability, but even in its early access phase, there’s so much to discover and do that I don’t see myself needing to make another character to run through Embervale a second time.

Each biome, each cave, each building, and each dungeon comes with it a brilliant range of visuals and music that work together to create the perfect atmosphere. One moment you’re in a tranquil forest appreciating nature, the next you’re in a pitch-black cellar where all you can hear are your footsteps and the groans of the monsters. You can even discover a great vista and have the music crescendo at the perfect moment. Ultimately, you are at the mercy of the cruel hands of time. Not only can you spend hours building, but the map is huge, with multiple points of interest, quests to complete, towers to ascend and bosses to defeat. Many hours can pass before you make any meaningful progress in the game, time really does fly when you’re having fun.  

That doesn’t mean to say Enshrouded isn’t without its flaws, currently, the delicious mix I mentioned earlier is like a pack of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. You don’t know whether you’re about to bite into a tasty new discovery as you’re gliding around, or chew on the FPS dropping as you then plummet to your death. Notable issues I have come across so far have been: poor rendering, where at the start of my game I play as a floating axe and shield for a few minutes. A couple of changes that I feel would make a positive impact would be to have a way of telling how far along day and night cycles are, and to be able to have clones of the NPCs between each base. During our play-through, regardless of where we were or what dangers we faced, we kept zipping back to our original base to recuperate and then just zip back.

The reassuring thing is that most of the issues I have encountered are fixable and performance-based, and I’m sure they will be optimised at full release, as the developers are very active and engaged with the community. There has already been a major update with the Hollow Halls patch, in keeping with their roadmap for what’s to come. One key new feature, being able to sit on your furniture! Surprising how much it was missed when it wasn’t possible.

Enshrouded is available now on Steam, with later releases this year on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. I have been running co-op with the other half thanks to the kind folks at Keen Games and Evolve PR for the review codes. The trouble is, advancing through the game without her is like continuing a TV series that you were watching together by yourself… (you better have that doghouse ready!) Despite the performance issues, which one can expect in Early Access, it has scratched every itch a survival-action RPG has to offer. Whether it’s exploring the gorgeous sprawling world, seeking out battle with great varied combat, or staying back at basecamp to use the unique building mechanics to make an empire, I’m very excited to see the finished product, as well as the plethora of content I’m sure Keen Games have in store.

In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.


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Our Rating
8