Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Encases is a wonderfully built cRPG from Dark Crystal Games that is truly inspired by the original Fallout titles. Taking plenty of inspiration both in gameplay and in its fresh cyberpunk style, Encased truly encompasses what it means to pay respects to genre juggernauts while taking a little slice of the All Time Greats pie all for itself. Whitty when appropriate, grungy in all the right parts, and both new and exciting while being comfortable and nostalgic, Encased is an excellent adventure that all cRPG fans should get their hands on.
Truth be told, it is hard to find many games out there that claim some inspiration or another came from this or that oldschool or classic favorite, but Encased truly did blend many of the favorites of yesteryear with the flair of today’s titles. While Dark Crystal Games has released Encased into Early Access, something to keep in mind is that this title is still under development and many of the considerable bugs or spelling/grammar errors will be worked out before it launches. The hopeful expectation is that Encased will be in Early Access for about 8-9 more months so we will see a Q2 2020 full release.
By and large, Encased is a solid Early Access title with more than 10 hours of interesting gameplay; you will start off with the hyper-familiar character creation tool where you can choose your wing or faction. After choosing your look and skills, you will head off to your adventure. One of the things I do like about Encased is that you choose your faction or wing and it dictates your skills and in some cases, the outcome of the quests.
This adds not only replayability, but also immersion. If you are more into your soldier-y goodness, then you can pick the Black Wing which is a security force, you might run into problems speaking or interacting with the Orange Wing faction, which is primarily made up of ex-cons or current criminals. These types of choice elements appear throughout the game on a fairly regular basis so there are plenty of things to go back and play the game with different Wings. Those very interactions are a large part of the replayability factor as the side quests are really where Encased shines; sure the core story arc that is currently in game is fun, but side quests and interfaction politics have clearly received a lot of love from Dark Crystal Games.
The gameplay itself is nothing new to the cRPG world; combat is traditionally turn-based on a grid, not unlike Fallout 2. Leveling in Encased gave me wonderful pangs of nostalgia for Wasteland 2 (which isn’t even that old!) as there are about a thousand skills (exaggeration) to choose from, which means the grind for maxing will be real, and each skill that you level up enough you will get a new ability. It is an older system for leveling, but it is a tried-and-true system that gives you real control over how you level and how immersed you are in the world.
Even after a dozen or so hours in, Encased feels both fresh and nostalgic at the same time. From the excellent graphics, if mismatched clean-yet-battered user interface, to the excellent models and animation, Encased has encompassed all that made the traditional isometric RPGs of yesteryear great and built upon them. This is a title that I and MANY others are greatly looking forward to when it releases in 2020.Score: N/A