Story And Setting
Visuals And Performance
Even though the premise is there, I can’t help but lean toward the conclusion that Enshrouded will go down as just another open-world survival title.
- Well-designed open world
- Rewarding exploration and crafting
- Vast skill tree
- Fun traversal
- Sublime visuals
- Uninteresting story
- Basic gameplay elements
- Performance hiccups
I went into Enshrouded thinking I was up for an open-world coop survival experience like Sons of the Forest or Minecraft, but I was greeted with something much different. While Enshrouded does market itself as a coop survival game, it branches out into something much more, taking inspiration from titles like The Legend of Zelda, which I aim to discuss in this Enshrouded Early Access review thoroughly.
- Editors Note: We tested Enshrouded on PC, playing over a dozen hours exploring the open world and all it has to offer.
Story And SettingWhile I normally don’t judge survival games based on their story, but rather on their coop and enjoyability, the narrative aspect still deserves a mention. The story of Enshrouded starts off with you being awakened in the world of Embervale, a broken world that was lost to the shroud unleashed by your ancestors because of their thirst and greed for magical power. Those who venture into the fog lose their mind and never return.
After completing the tutorial and unlocking the essential items, I always found myself just exploring and crafting better gear rather than having care for what was happening in the story.
Starting off in a huge open world with nothing except your wits, you must travel through the lands, scavenging resources as you explore the compelling world filled with monsters to defeat and knowledge to obtain. I won’t go too far into the story because I don’t wish to spoil anything and I personally believe that story doesn’t matter in a survival game.
However, I will say that the narrative starts off extremely slow and rather uninteresting. After completing the tutorial and unlocking the essential items, I always found myself just exploring and crafting better gear rather than caring about what was happening in the story. But, perhaps that’s the charm of open-world survival games altogether.
GameplayThe gameplay is where Enshrouded shines in certain aspects while falling short in others. Being an open-world survival game, Enshrouded strongly emphasizes exploration as the entire world is unlocked for you to explore from the get-go. Of course, you would have to finish the first few story quests to unlock the basic items, but thankfully, it doesn’t take too much time.
Enshrouded does a fantastic job of keeping the traversal enjoyable and making it convenient to cover long distances in little time, thanks to the geography of the map.
Aside from exploration, crafting also plays a key role in the overall gameplay as players are given a plethora of legendary weapons and armor to craft. Aside from armaments, players also have the pleasure of building their base wherever they want. You can even create a blacksmith workshop and summon the Blacksmith wherever you want, but remember that only the Blacksmith can be teleported to you, not his entire workshop.
Traversal And Combat
Enshrouded does a fantastic job of keeping the traversal enjoyable and making it convenient to cover long distances in little time, thanks to the geography of the map. I could craft the Grappling Hook and the Glider within the first two hours of my playthrough, allowing me to explore above and beyond as soon as possible.
The combat overall feels very clunky and the enemy AI acts very basic and predictable.
The Grappling Hook is somewhat mandatory to progress in the story but the Glider is somewhat optional and allows you to reach new locations much quicker, not making you worry about passing through the Shroud. With the Glider being by my side and tall towers scattered worldwide, the inspiration from Breath of the Wild felt very apparent.
Finally, if I shift my attention to the combat, this is where Enshrouded falls a bit short. Now, I do have some nitpicks here and there, regarding the overall quality and presentation but do keep in mind that this is an early access, so most, if not all, of the nitpicks will be improved and resolved as time goes on.Back to the point, the combat overall feels very clunky and the enemy AI acts very basic and predictable. Engaging in combat feels like a drag on certain occasions, and, if I’m being frank, downright boring. This is where I hope, developer Keen Games will shift their focus as they continue to improve.
But that’s not all that Enshrouded gameplay has to offer; players are also given the option to create their own build and progress through the story based on their preferred playstyle. Featuring a vast Skill Tree, it is a bit of a surprise for me to see such a thing in an open-world survival game, but it’s a welcoming surprise nonetheless.
Visuals And PerformanceNow, let’s first address the elephant in the room – the visuals. Enshrouded is not a game with photorealistic graphics since it follows a more artistic visual style approach. It’s quite apparent that the visuals take much inspiration from titles like The Breath of the Wild – even the stamina bar is inspired by it.
While it’s not bad by any means, Enshrouded does look and feel a bit generic after seeing just how many other games have also taken inspiration from Breath of the Wild, making it stand in a herd rather than standing out. Even though graphics are the last thing on the mind of an open-world survival genre fan, it is still something worth mentioning.
While it’s not bad by any means, Enshrouded does look and feel a bit generic after seeing just how many other games have also taken inspiration from Breath of the Wild, making it stand in a herd rather than standing out.
Before I start talking about the performance, remember that this is early access. Now, I have reviewed Enshrouded on an RTX 3060 TI and the stuttering and frame drops are very noticeable and can get very annoying if I’m being honest.
Fortunately, the developers have already recognized these issues, and they will probably iron them out as we progress through the timeline of Enshrouded’s Early Access. However, even then, it is not a good outlook for players wanting to jump in on launch day.
VerdictEven though the premise is there, I can’t help but lean toward the conclusion that Enshrouded will go down as just another open-world survival title. Because it doesn’t do anything unique, it doesn’t try to set itself apart from all other survival games currently on the market.
If you wish to sink a few good hours into a survival game with some friends, Enshrouded is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend, thanks to its 16-player coop. Unfortunately, the title doesn’t quite hit the mark for players wanting a unique and memorable experience.
Of course, you can expect another Enshrouded review from eXputer when it gets a full release, and with that, my review of Enshrouded comes to an end. While you are here, do check out some more of our reviews.
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