Encased — the pursuit of a dream. A preliminary review
|Publisher||Dark Crystal Games|
|Publisher in Russia||Dark Crystal Games|
|Developer||Dark Crystal Games|
|Age limit||not defined|
Studio Dark Crystal Games at first glance, it may seem brash newcomer who tries to immediately climb to the top, inaccessible to many experienced colleagues. Only thirteen people were faced with a difficult (crazy?) the task is to create a great RPG in the vein of the old school, with a wide range, this linearity and the feeling of freedom. However, do not rush with skepticism. The team does not consist of former students, pursued the impossible dream, and experienced professionals who have done both parts of Divinity: Original Sin, Spintires, Leviathan: Last Day of Decade and even Mass Effect 2 with Dragon Age 2. Last week I was able to personally communicate with the developers. About what I saw and learned, and the story goes.
First sight Encased reminiscent of the Fallout, at least on the part of the atmosphere. The authors do not hide and speak with pride of that famous series really was one of the main sources of inspiration. But not only: the plot is unmistakable notes of “roadside Picnic” and “Annihilation”.
In the not so distant future… the world did not end. Rather, quite the contrary — humanity is steadily progressing on the path of progress and managed not to turn the Earth into a scorched wasteland. But once people stumble on a mysterious dome that arose in the middle of the desert — a large area was closed impermeable barrier. To get inside wasn’t easy, but scientists from the Corporation C. R. O. N. U. S. have found a way. Inside, however, nothing interesting was found. On the surface. But underground revealed ancient complexes with unknown advanced technologies.
A decade the company has studied the culture of an unknown people, probably of extraterrestrial origin. Scientific discoveries made by means of the found mechanisms offered C. R. O. N. U. S. so high that we turned into a small country with lots of resources and breakthrough technology. Encased originates at this point. Under the dome, where under the influence of the mysterious energy a new species of flora and fauna, found another cache of the vanished civilization. The main character in the expedition sent to investigate the discovery.
The group includes participants from various departments C. R. O. N. U. S., the so — called “wings”. There are five of them: the military, scientists, engineers, managers, and a kind of a penal battalion. The latter consists of prisoners who agreed to participate in dangerous missions in exchange for (relative) freedom. In the beginning, we have to choose the “wing” of the protagonist, thus defining its starting specialization. However, as in the last editions of Divinity, a gradation of classes in Encased there. If you start your journey warrior, no one can make until the very end to solve the problem only weapon.
The Department’s impact not so much on the manner of passage, much of the plot. Encased in felt the strong influence of Original Sin 2. The backstory gives a character a specific set of key traits like “criminal”, “nerd” and so on. These features affect how you turn, and open up certain options to continue the conversation.
I was shown a very early version of the project, showing the prologue. As in the most game-Larian, characters, which we chose as an alter ego, will still be involved in the events. They constitute the backbone of the group, sent to study the found hiding place. Our first task is to figure out how to get inside. In the best tradition of the classic RPG, there are over a dozen ways to achieve the goal, from the banal “go ahead and blow up the wall” to the ability to persuade the prisoner to risk his life and take advantage of the crumbling portal.
The authors say that the entry is built in such a way as to show the player all of the key mechanics and rules before releasing it to the world. For example, almost every decision has Encased in short-term and long-term consequences. If you go the easiest way and undermine the doors of the complex, it remains without explosives, which would help to get to the treasure behind one of the walls.
Uncover the story cards, the developers did not want, so the outcome of the expedition, I learned only. Inside the complex the group found an ancient artificial intelligence which perceived people as a threat. Of course, then it all went wrong: a good part of the associates died on the spot, and the main character caught in a stasis trap, where he spent several years. Freed, he finds himself in the same post-Apocalypse.
The arches of the dome since the incident, nobody else was allowed and was not allowed out of the zone, which every day becomes more dangerous and literally crazy all the inhabitants. In addition, due to our actions under the dome cleared up the mysterious Vortex — element, possessing intellect, and a strange relationship with the main character (you also remember “lost”?). We have to understand what the hell happened, and try to survive in the process.
Learned from the best
All lands under the dome, modified the internal atmosphere and mysterious forces available for study — that is, according to the story, thirty thousand square kilometers (which is an anomaly, since the dome itself is a little less than two thousand square miles)! Of course, in the vast world we will not release. Encased in the device like the first part of Fallout, or Pillars of Eternity, if you are not familiar with the classics. On the global map we are free to travel between the two hundreds of different locations, from the canyons to the bustling (relatively) cities. Unfortunately, to personally assess the diversity has failed, but the creators assure that each territory detail, and often has several levels in height. We believe in the word. Will try.
In fact, Encased is a collection of all the usual components of a classic RPG, with small patches of creators at their own discretion. As usual, all assignments — as an additional, and major, is allowed to pass in different ways. Social skills and the wonders of eloquence withdraw from many dangerous situations. But even when it comes to shooting directly to your hero to pull the trigger is not necessarily dirty work done by associates.
Direct control over companions no, but you can adjust the gear and the behavior of team members so that they themselves dealt with any enemy. In theory. In the demo version, the fighting is not included, and in the commercials they show are not in a hurry. In words it sounds familiar: if the peace episodes take place in real time, the battle is turn — based, with action points spent on any gesture.
There are interesting findings. For example, successfully occupied the height will greatly facilitate the battle. Shelter (destructible!) also give a bonus. But don’t expect the tactics of XCOM level. Of the interesting things worth mentioning about the sighting: the more you use a certain weapon, the more effective hero with him. The indicator consists of two characteristics: the treatment of certain type of weapons (e.g., firearms) and with a particular sample.
In addition to the standard guns, lasers and energy sledgehammers, some of the characters possess and psychotic abilities. Under them there is a separate branch in the system development. Pumping from classic indicators like strength and agility is recognizable, but not devoid of interesting ideas. Thus, passive and active skills are intertwined: improving a specific skill (e.g., shooting), you gradually open the associated talents and abilities.
Will appear in Encased and interactive scenes in the manner of novels Pillars of Eternity. In certain situations, the game turns into a text adventure where the available actions and the chances of success are determined by the skills of your character. Promise and fractions, relationships that should affect the ending, and the opportunity to earn the reputation of a criminal. You can even please the court, if maliciously to break the law.
Dark Crystal Games have a lot of interesting ideas. Plan a full cycle of day and night, which affects the behavior of NPC, which is rare for projects of this genre. From the point of innovation — the energy of the hero, who is constantly dwindling. If not to sleep, the protagonist can naturally fall to the ground from fatigue, even during battle. On the other hand, energy can be spent on strengthening any actions. If you can successfully strike a balance, the idea may come to the place.
Sorry, seen version does not give clear ideas about how Encased will eventually look and feel. The development is on Unity — on the same engine created Pillars of Eternity. But, in contrast to the project of Obsidian Entertainment, Encased offers fully three-dimensional world, without imitation hand-drawn backgrounds. The beauty and diversity of the landscapes in question — so far I’ve only seen a different kind of wasteland. I want to believe that the area under the dome will be more original and diverse.
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The authors understand that their power is limited, and therefore the scale they measure out accordingly. Encased approximately thirty hours of the game, which will include both the main story and many side activities. A bet is made on the nonlinearity and, consequently, a high interest in re-passage. Even the character selection in the beginning can greatly affect the whole experience. Personally check all the statements we will be able in early 2019, when Encased will go to early access. But a full release will take place just a few months after that. Hope.