Home Featured Enshrouded: A Captivating Blend of Valheim and Minecraft Unveiled

Enshrouded: A Captivating Blend of Valheim and Minecraft Unveiled

by William Linden

Enshrouded: An Intriguing Blend of Voxel Worlds and Valheim-inspired Visuals.

Enshrouded combines the immersive voxel world mechanics popularized by games like Minecraft with visually captivating elements reminiscent of Valheim, presenting an intriguing survival action RPG experience. In a noteworthy departure from their previous title, Portal Knights, Keen Games now introduces us to Embervale, an open world that has succumbed to the corruption of a deadly fog. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a hands-off preview of Enshrouded, presented by creative director Antony Christoulakis. While post-apocalyptic survival games are not uncommon, Enshrouded showcases promising features that set it apart.

In Enshrouded, players assume the role of the Flameborn, tasked with dispelling the pervasive fog and rebuilding the shattered remnants of the world. The game opts for a more intuitive approach, omitting lengthy starting tutorials. However, if needed, players can find assistance within their Journal. Christoulakis describes Enshrouded as a friendlier survival experience compared to Valheim. While neglecting to eat or drink won’t result in immediate death, players will miss out on temporary combat advantages such as increased constitution or enhanced stamina endurance.

Enshrouded also breaks away from traditional fixed class selection, offering players a neutral build that can be developed through an expansive skill net. Skill points earned while leveling up unlock new powers, with abilities branching into Ranger, Warrior, and Mage styles. For instance, the ‘Runner’ ability boosts sprinting speed while reducing stamina consumption, and ‘Quick Charge’ halves the charge time for magical projectiles. The game provides a wealth of options, and if a particular build doesn’t work out, players have the option to reallocate their skill points.

For those inclined towards building, Enshrouded offers destructible environments that yield new materials. Essential items can be crafted anywhere, while more advanced crafting options are available through crafting tables or non-player characters (NPCs). While extensive underground cave systems are not a prominent feature, players can shape and terraform the land to construct their bases. Whether opting for a block-by-block building approach or utilizing pre-determined templates, Enshrouded caters to both players who prefer simplicity and those seeking in-depth creation. Additionally, an undo button alleviates potential frustrations caused by missteps in construction.

Deviating from randomly generated sandboxes, Enshrouded presents a fixed 25km layout world. Similar to Link’s gliding ability in Breath of the Wild, players unlock a gliding skill early on to facilitate quicker exploration. The world is teeming with intriguing locations such as local chasms, abandoned dungeons, and fortresses that transform into labyrinthine caves. Of particular interest are the lore items hidden within these areas. Beyond detailing past events, these items offer hints about unique treasure locations, adding an extra layer of discovery and lore immersion.

However, caution must be exercised when venturing into the lower regions, as many are enshrouded in a dangerous fog known as the Shroud. Entering the Shroud triggers a time limit, placing players in an “Enshrouded state.” This time limit can be extended through the use of specific items or by finding flames. Nonetheless, securing a safe passage becomes increasingly challenging when facing menacing monsters lurking within the depths. While these creatures can appear elsewhere, players can take solace in the knowledge that they cannot approach their bases.

Combat in Enshrouded offers a range of options. Players can choose their armor, shields, and ranged or melee weapons using a standard equipment system. Alternatively, for those inclined towards a more magical approach, staffs utilize mana as ammunition for casting spells, while wands prove effective for mid-range attacks. Players also have access to basic attacks, shields for defense, parrying for countering opponents, and dodge rolls for evasive maneuvers. Witnessing the Flameborn execute a sneak attack after concealing themselves among tall plant life provides a sense of satisfaction. While the combat mechanics feel functional, they could benefit from further depth. During the hands-off presentation, the focus primarily revolved around a sword and shield combo, limiting direct comparisons with the two-handed weapon mechanics.

Each foggy area in Enshrouded is home to a Shroud Root, the source of the fog’s corruption. These roots are guarded by formidable foes. Defeating these guardians grants randomized higher-tier loot, which can be further upgraded to unlock new perks such as additional blunt damage. However, the removal of the fog resets periodically, as Christoulakis confirms that the world regenerates after a set amount of time. While this may disappoint players seeking permanent progression, it mitigates the risk of destructive actions by other players in multiplayer. Additionally, it allows for replaying quests with friends, as Enshrouded supports cooperative play with up to 15 people.

Unfortunately, the hands-off demo did not provide a glimpse into Enshrouded’s character creator. However, based on the showcased features, Enshrouded appears to hold considerable promise. By catering to both seasoned and casual players, the game strikes a pleasing balance in its approach to survival gameplay. Enshrouded is set to arrive on Steam Early Access later this year, with the full version slated for release on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2024.

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