While I'm not a huge fan of first person shooters (I don't play Unreal or any similar games), but Enclave might just have gotten me hooked. I prefer to play games that involve strategy with a bit of action thrown in, but the gameplay offered by Enclave drew me in. It starts easily enough - you're trapped in a prison, but thanks to an invasion, you are able to break out. Each level has a set amount of gold hidden throughout and while you do not need to collect it all, it is a nice bonus and a fun addition to the levels aside from the standard kill everything, find the end of the level. With the gold you collect, you can buy weapons, armor, potions, etc. But where this game differs from most, is everything you buy can be sold for the same amount, so basically, you equip yourself for the level, run through it collecting gold, and then sell your stuff and get ready for the next.
The controls are fairly straight-forward, and from my little first-person-shooter experience, it's the standard layout - W and S for forwards and backwards, A and D for side to side and the mouse controls where you look and your weapons. It took me a while to remember where all the keys are for the extraneous features - changing weapons, using potions, opening doors, etc., but with the quick reference card provided, the learning curve is not steep at all. Even though I thought it would be hard to play the game with a trackball, it worked surprisingly well with only a few problems - especially when you have to turn more than 270 degrees one way. I figure with a mouse, that problem is not evident at all and shouldn't be a problem for the majority of players out there.
The only downside I found with the gameplay is the fighting interface. It takes a while to swing a sword and reset for the next swing, so when faced with multiple enemies, it becomes hard to attack all of the bad guys at once. The fighting interface is much better with a non-melee weapon such as a bow or crossbow, which, when combined with the higher amount of damage done by these weapons makes them extremely useful. The melee weapon delay isn't really a huge problem, but just a minor annoyance at times, especially when it seems the enemies don't suffer from this drawback.
Overall, it appears as if being an Xbox port has helped out here. Designed specifically for a PC and not for cross-platform compatibility, the game performed well on my PC even though I don't have a state of the art graphics card (yet...I'm working on it). I imagine the graphics would be even better with a DX9 compatible card. The great thing about Enclave is that it runs very smoothly at the highest quality available to me. There were no lags in rendering and no problems at all with multiple characters on screen at once.
The detail is exquisite and the levels are finely crafted. I enjoyed roaming around the levels searching for the gold even when the action was a bit slower. The lighting and water effects are especially notable. They add an eery style to the game that enhances the storyline and brings the surrounding setting to life. A very nice job is done with the reality of the setting and you can tell a lot of effort was put in to the complexity and detail.
The sound, similar to the graphics, is extremely well done. Quite a bit of attention was paid to creating the soundtrack that plays in the background of the missions. Not too loud to obscure sound effects coming from enemies and their weapons, it also lends to the eery feeling the graphics provide initially. While some of the sounds seem to be repeated at times with different enemies, overall, the variety was good and the different enemy cries, grunts, and attacks were as realistic as you could expect from a fantasy game and are especially realistic when they come up from behind you.
Enclave is definitely a solid game. Gameplay, graphics and sound are all quite well done and with multiple storylines, different characters to uncover throughout the levels and a wide range of items to be used from level to level, the game offers a wide variety of playability upon repeat playings. The game does take up quite a bit of hard drive space (2.2 gigs), but with hard drive prices this low, it shouldn't be a problem for most gamers. Highly recommended for fans of first person shooters and even for those who don't. The game is just fun to play, the learning curve isn't too high, and boasts some great scenarios.