Considering how little would remain after an apocalyptic event, it’s a scenario that continues to be explored thoroughly. Creators have examined so many different aspects of what one might experience in such a world and Encased is focused on exploring that. Dark Crystal Games has come up with an interesting take in that the world seems to be at peace due to a shared curiosity surrounding a mysterious dome. Simply called the Dome, you play one of many people sent into this contained wasteland in hopes of uncovering its secrets and anything that might benefit humanity. Should you choose to go into this post-apocalyptic bubble, be prepared for the challenges that follow.
No Place Like Dome
Humans are willing to do incredible things in the pursuit of truth in progress. This is an idea that many people around the world share which is the case in Encased. At the brink of global conflict, the mysterious Dome appeared and all countries put their feuds on hold to investigate it. The Dome contains a dangerous but fascinating world full of otherworldly energies and relics. As such, various companies and organizations have been created with the sole purpose of sending people into the Dome to find out whatever they can. You play one such person, but there is a catch: Once you go into the Dome, there’s no leaving it. Since you’re stuck there, you may as well try to explore and discover as much as you can and maybe thwart some evil schemes on the way.
Waste Not, Want Not
It’d make sense that one of the most important rules of survival is to not waste a single thing. Encased makes a solid effort to adhere to this rule. One of its key efforts is the level of immersion. Though contained within the Dome, the world you’re able to explore is quite vast and diverse. Despite being a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it’s far from empty with structures and weirdness to fill the gaps. If you’re planning to see it all, be sure to bring a lot of supplies.
Then there’s the level of detail behind your character and lore. The character creation system provides a decent setup for physical appearance, but it’s mostly about the background. Stats, abilities, traits, and skills can all have very different impacts on the gameplay. Depending on where you put the few points you begin with, some paths will close off while others open. The Wing system also adds a nice boon to your stats as well as how the people respond to you. It adds richness to the world around you.
Then there’s the degree of freedom you have when exploring or progressing. Almost everything you can interact with can be dealt with in multiple ways. If you see a locked container, you can try to pick the lock or break it open with or without tools. You’re welcome to sneak around taking what you want, try to convince people to give it to you, take it off their dead bodies, or order one of your companions to take care of it. It’s open-ended to give you plenty of options even if your first one falls through.
When you’re patrolling the wasteland, you don’t want to waste anything. Unfortunately, Encased tosses a few things that could’ve been put to better use. The first of which would be the overall aesthetic. Even with high settings, humans, and creatures look and feel unnatural. This isn’t helped by the fact that you’ll spend most of the game moving around and watching the movement animations stagger making you wonder if you’re controlling a mannequin instead of a person.
There’s also a lot of text. While a lot of the character details and background information definitely fill out the world, there’s so much to remember and track. It’s normal to encounter a random character only to have them tell you their whole life story. Even the smallest interactions will fill up your log with countless entries from several categories. The amount of voice-acting is a nice touch, but considering the average person reads faster than these characters speak, their talents may fall on deaf ears.
Then there’s the imbalance of stealth and action. While it’s perfectly fine if you want to go around taking out anyone who blinks at you, stealth is a much more logical and safer choice. When in stealth mode, enemy detection is dramatically highlighted to show you exactly where they are and how far they reach. However, unless you walk right up to an enemy and start nuzzling it, you’re pretty much guaranteed to sneak away without a scratch.
Solve The Encased
Encased is a 3D post-apocalyptic strategy RPG where you explore a contained world full of strange forces. It’s immersive with lots of rich detail and much to see and do. It has some problems with visuals, easy stealth, and avalanches of text to deal with though. Still, if you’re gonna be trapped, you could opt to be encased.
TechRaptor reviewed Encased on Steam with a copy provided by those behind the game's release. It is also available on Switch, PlayStation and Xbox.
- An Immersive and Vast World Full of Mystery
- In-depth Character Background and Lore to Influence Gameplay
- Freedom to Approach Various Scenarios in Multiple Ways
- Unnatural and Stiff-Looking Models and Animations
- A Burden of Text and Dialogue to Go Through
- A Simple and Somewhat OP Stealth Mechanic