Encased is shaping up, but there’s room for improvement

Having come by means of a profitable Kickstarter marketing campaign in 2018, isometric CRPG Encased has been in early entry some time. With a launch set for later this yr, we’re taking one other look to see how far it’s come since we played it last year.

Developed by Darkish Crystal Video games, Encased is ready in an alternate model of the Nineteen Seventies. An enormous dome has descended upon the world (therefore the title) and can enable nobody who enters to go away. In an effort to examine and analysis the dome, humanity has based the CRONUS organisation. With our expertise and understanding catapulted ahead, CRONUS has grow to be one thing of a superpower. Your character is an worker introduced into the dome to help their efforts. Unsurprisingly, nothing is because it appears if you’re encased.

ENCASED: A choices-driven CRPG

You start by creating a personality from a handful of presets and sliders. Though there aren’t any conventional courses, you’ll as a substitute choose from certainly one of 5 “wings”. These are departments inside CRONUS, such because the blue-suited engineers, black-suited troopers, or orange-suited ex-con grunts. There’s nothing to distinctive right here. Your character has stats and perks you possibly can tweak which is able to decide your persona and prowess.


I’ll be trustworthy right here: I struggled to take a lot of it in. Even having performed as many RPGs as I’ve, there may be quite a lot of info right here. You’ve gotten eight attributes to regulate, starting from “muscle” and “guts” to “brains” and “psyche”. Some are self-explanatory, however some aren’t. To make clear, this isn’t a gradual drip-feed of information to acclimatise to love in, say, Disco Elysium. That is simply reams of stats and perks that can take some time to totally perceive. In the long run I sort of gave up and simply went with the default selections.

New world, who dis?

When you enter the sport, you arrive at an admissions centre and report for responsibility. You’re given a uniform, provides, a weapon, and despatched for coaching. Preliminary impressions even right here weren’t nice. We discovered it a bit clunky final yr, and never a lot appears to have been improved. Fight is turn-based, and appears to borrow parts from XCOM. Nonetheless, even in coaching there’s no cowl to cover behind so that you simply stand there and get shot.

It’s additionally infuriatingly tough to really hit something. Your character has all of the grace and fight proficiency of a half-blind squirrel. Fight is gradual and feels a bit ponderous, and failing to hit an enormous crimson barrel from round ten toes away is exasperating. After I lastly completed combating the conjured coaching projections, I simply felt irritated.


Fortunately, when you push past this poor opening gambit, the sport isn’t unhealthy. Actually, if you happen to took the fight out and centered on the RPG facet of issues, you’d have a greater time. There’s an terrible lot of dialogue in Encased, and also you’re usually introduced with selections and ethical dilemmas that have an effect in your story. Precisely how a lot of an influence stays to be seen, but it surely’s good to really feel such as you’re accountable for your destiny.

Dome candy dome

When you’re capable of go away this primary space, you’re given a bit freedom to discover, discuss, struggle and customarily role-play. The writing is fairly stable to this point, with fleshed-out characters, some nice world-building within the dialogue, and a normal aura that fits the setting completely. The society contained in the dome is bizarre one. Though not strictly cut-off from the remainder of the world, the truth that nobody can go away and so many are reluctant to enter in any respect provides the sense that you just’re in one other world solely. These encased have their very own slang, traditions, guidelines and rules. It’s fairly fascinating stuff, and I hope they discover it in additional depth within the full sport.


If there’s a grievance it’s that the 70s setting, regardless of the sci-fi airs and graces, has led to a little bit of a colorless pallette. There’s not an excessive amount of color or spectacle in Encased, which is a little bit of disgrace as there’s potential right here to be utterly off the wall. You’ll level and click on your means round varied environments and, to be honest, the extent of element is encouraging. There’s lots to see and soak up, and it {couples} properly with the dialogue and flavour textual content to create a robust, plausible environment.

Encased: A story filled with potential

At current, even after virtually three years in early entry, Encased nonetheless has a method to go. Lots of its techniques really feel a bit outdated already, such because the convoluted character creation and clumsy fight. There’s potential for a deep and enthralling narrative, however I can see that being let down by an over-reliance on fight that ought to quicken the tempo however really hinders it. Regardless of my reservations I’m intrigued by the premise and looking out ahead to discovering out extra concerning the mysterious dome and the sinister CRONUS. I simply hope I don’t should struggle my means by means of an excessive amount of of it.

Encased is shaping up, but there’s room for improvement


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