Enshrouded: Crafting a Unique Fusion of RPG and Survival in a Handcrafted World

Enshrouded tries, and largely succeeds, at being a variety of games, taking elements of some cult classics and molding it all into a form that looks very promising

by Sededin Dedovic
Enshrouded: Crafting a Unique Fusion of RPG and Survival in a Handcrafted World
© IGN / Youtube channel

In the realm of indie game development, small teams occasionally manage to create extraordinary miracles. Enshrouded, a project by a four-person development team, is a testament to that. A unique blend of the action RPG and survival genres, Enshrouded stands out with its focus on narrative, exploration, and combat.

While comparisons to Valheim are inevitable, it's crucial to note the distinct features that set Enshrouded apart.

The world of round

Unlike procedurally generated worlds, Enshrouded provides players with a carefully crafted environment.

While this may seem to reduce replayability, the hand-crafted world enhances the gaming experience by rewarding exploration and delivering a dopamine rush with each discovery. Abandoned villages, towering castles and underground caves seamlessly integrate into the vast landscape, accompanied by the mystical "Veil", a blue mist that imposes time limits and introduces challenges against enemies and obstacles.

Enshrouded already boasts four expansive biomes, covering approximately 40% of the map, with the promise of additional content as the game progresses through Early Access. The inclusion of grappling hook and glider adds a new dimension, allowing players to navigate the colossal map with ease.

Enshrouded gameplay© Spd Gaming / Youtube channel

Narrative approach

While narrative takes a back seat in many survival games, Enshrouded strives to immerse players in its world. The story unfolds primarily through scrolls and books, reminiscent of the subtle storytelling found in From Software titles.

Although currently a minor element, narrative has a more significant presence than in typical survival games. Enshrouded places a strong emphasis on RPG elements, particularly in character development and combat. With a choice of 12 classes, players can customize their characters with unique play styles, even simply multiclassing through experience trees similar to those in Diablo and other ARPGs.

Although the game is geared towards solo, multiplayer introduces class roles such as healers, DPS and tanks, encouraging a synergistic experience with up to 16 players. Fast-paced combat, featuring responsive movement, quick punches, jumps, rolls, and a soul-like parry system, sets Enshrouded apart from its survival counterparts.

While the survival elements are relatively simplistic, Enshrouded introduces a complex building system. Limited to specific zones where players can place their altars, the game offers a wide range of options to modify building aesthetics, materials, shapes and creative combinations.

However, these structures primarily serve an aesthetic purpose, playing a minor role in functional aspects, other than to house the various NPCs that provide crafting services, quests, and more.

Enshrounded gameplay© SPD Gaming / Youtube channel

Equipment and optimization

The game's equipment system adds depth with RPG mechanics that affect stats, attack speed, attack styles, and elemental damage.

However, the armor lacks variety and upgrade options, which presents room for improvement. Enshrouded runs into optimization issues at higher graphics settings, affecting performance even on robust configurations. While the overall audio-visual presentation is pleasant, expectations are short and performance is hampered during certain moments in the game.

Exploring the depths of Enshrouded

Enshrouded attempts to offer players a multifaceted experience, weaving together a tapestry of genres that include survival, RPG, and exploration. The decision to forego certain traditional survival mechanics, such as hunger and thirst, allows players to focus more on the narrative, exploration, and combat aspects.

This departure from the norm is a bold move, showing the developer's commitment to creating a unique gaming experience unlike any other release in its genre. The "Shroud" mechanic adds an extra layer of challenge, introducing a sense of urgency and danger as players move through areas shrouded in a mystical blue mist.

This dynamic element tests the combat skills of the player but also requires strategic thinking and resource management. The narrative nuances in Enshrouded, delivered through scrolls and books scattered throughout the world, evoke a sense of mystery and intrigue.

The game takes a page from the book of titles like Dark Souls, relying on environmental storytelling to immerse players in its lore.

Dive deeper into RPG elements

Enshrouded's commitment to RPG elements is evident in its robust character development system.

A choice of 12 different classes allows players to tailor their characters to specific play styles, providing a level of customization rarely seen in the survival genre. The ability to easily multiclass opens up a wealth of possibilities, encouraging players to experiment with different combinations and playstyles.

The multiplayer aspect of Enshrouded further enhances the RPG experience, with class roles becoming more pronounced in group dynamics. The synergy between players taking on the roles of healers, DPS and tanks adds a layer of strategy, emphasizing teamwork and coordination.

The multiplayer option, which can accommodate up to 16 players, turns Enshrouded into a social experience where players can explore and overcome the game's challenges together. Combat in Enshrouded is a highlight, adopting a quick and fast approach.

Incorporation of elements such as dashes, jumps, rolls and a parry system adds depth to the combat mechanics. While the game offers a variety of combat options, the current lack of different enemy types and somewhat rudimentary boss mechanics leave room for improvement.

One significant challenge Enshrouded faces lies in optimization. Higher graphics settings strain even robust configurations, leading to noticeable performance issues during certain moments in the game. While the overall audio-visual presentation is aesthetically pleasing, addressing optimization issues is key to providing a smooth gaming experience across hardware.