Enclave HD, the 3rd person action game which originally graced Xbox and PC, has been ported and remastered for modern consoles. Now available with trophies, and a new, remastered soundtrack, you can jump into the Light or Dark campaign and start hacking and slashing. If that sounds fun, you're in luck; you can grab a copy of the Nintendo Switch version right now as part of IGN Plus.
Plus members – get your Nintendo Switch key for Enclave HD here on its IGN Rewards Page. Not a Plus member? You can easily become one by checking out the IGN Rewards page.
What is Enclave HD?
Enclave was originally developed by Starbreeze Studios (the makers of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, The Darkness, Payday 2, Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons, & others) and came to the original Xbox in the early 2000s with twin campaigns; Light and Dark, which pit players on opposite sides of the war. It went to PC the following year, but this is the first time this floppy, old-school 3D (or first-person) slash-em-up is available on Nintendo or PlayStation consoles at all.
Set in the world of Celenheim, Enclave HD is remastered with up-rezzed textures and FMVs, but it's still absolutely the same game. Swing your sword wildly at little goblins, snotlings (yes, you read that right), orcs, and more as you fight to defend yourself against the armies of the Dreg'Atar in the Light campaign, and fight to conquer Celenheim in the Dark campaign. Unfortunately you can't jump into the Dark campaign without beating the Light one first, but you'll gather gold and choose between different unlocked characters before each short level, equipping weapons, armor, and even potions by using that gold.
It's a genuine throwback to be sure, so beware if you have no appetite for bugs or sixth-generation design decisions, but if you have an affection for gaming history or retro experiences, give it a spin.
Enclave HD Developer Interview
Q: How did the development team get involved with Enclave, & what fueled the decision to bring back this Xbox game?
A: The idea to bring an upgraded version of the original Enclave to modern consoles came about through Ziggurat’s conversations with licensor TopWare Interactive. It was mutually agreed that Enclave would be a great fit for Ziggurat’s goals of preserving and enhancing timeless games from the past, as it has continued to have an active community of players on PC but has been absent from consoles for multiple generations. Ziggurat reached out to the trusted and experienced porting developers at Sickhead Games, who had previously worked with Ziggurat to bring the definitive versions of Real Heroes: Firefighter to PC and Xbox as Real Heroes: Firefighter HD.
Q: Games like this are a rare breed nowadays. What does the team think about what Enclave brings to the table, compared to more modern game structure & mechanics?
A: Enclave is a 3D third-person action RPG, with so much emphasis on the action that it can even be considered a hack-and-slash game. It was a rare breed in its own time, as most other action RPGs from this era were either top-down isometric games in the vein of Diablo, or first-person games in the vein of Ultima Underworld, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and the Elder Scrolls series. It was not common to see a 3D RPG with a third-person perspective with levels designed to allow for positioning, crouching, and jumping as useful tools in traversal and combat. There are also few action RPGs from that era which increment gameplay in a stage-based rather than quest-based structure (Odin Sphere on PS2 comes to mind, which was released 5 years later than Enclave on Xbox).
Enclave came out nearly a decade before third-person 3D action RPGs like Demon’s Souls, Kingdom of Amalur, and Dragon’s Dogma. FromSoftware games in the vein of Demon’s Souls could be seen to have more in common with Enclave than other Action RPG games from the time of Enclave’s release, since Enclave places greater emphasis on level design, 3D space (short and long-range combat, verticality, platforming, etc.), set pieces, and brutal difficulty than most early 2000s Western RPGs. The combat in Enclave has much more of a hack-and-slash feel than Dark Souls, but it still offers a satisfying experience to those looking to make their way through menacing but beautiful environments with a dark medieval fantasy theme.
The sequencing of the game into dozens of missions allows the story to unfold in a compelling way for first-time players and for convenient revisiting of individual missions to replay them with a different playable character (or for the completionist looking to pick up every bag of gold they might have missed on their first playthrough). Rather than the player controlling a single character with a skill tree that unfolds over time, you can switch at will between six different playable characters with distinct abilities and equip them with the gear of your choice between missions. Progression comes in the form of earning more gold that unlocks better gear for each character, rather than in the form of leveling character attribute points or skills on a skill tree.
Q: What are some of the team's favorite game elements?
A: The game features a light campaign and a dark campaign which overlap in ways that are fun to discover. There is a huge variety of playable characters, not only allowing for multiple playstyles but also for replay of missions with a different set of abilities. Starbreeze clearly put a lot of love and effort into the lore and backdrop of the game. The art direction, detailed environments, and overall atmosphere are even richer for it.
There is a wide variety of challenges present in the game’s enemies and environments, as well as bonus missions with unique challenges that recall sieges on castles like you’d see in a Lord of the Rings film. There are easter eggs throughout the game to discover, plus overpowered unlockable characters to earn when you beat the game that let you bulldoze your way through the game’s missions when you replay them.
Q: What are some of the team's favorite stories from development?
A: The most memorable and rewarding parts of working on this game have been in collaborating with passionate individuals seeking to make the best version of the game possible a reality. TopWare Interactive provided a wealth of resources to help us bring about the best possible physical release in collaboration with Limited Run Games.
The developers at Sickhead were diligent in making custom extensions to the game’s original lighting tools to render higher resolution light maps and did several passes to find the best possible method for up-resing the textures and user interface for fidelity and readability. Speedrunner Landon Rivers consulted with us to fix some of the legacy bugs which had been known by the community for years, and gave his insights to help ensure all the best parts of the original come through in Enclave HD.
Q: Did the team include anything unique to this remaster?
A: All the textures – including user interface – are upscaled for a better look on modern displays in Enclave HD. The original game made heavy use of full motion video not only for story cinematics, but also in its gorgeous menus. These full-motion videos have been upscaled as well, retaining their eerie feel at a fidelity suitable for today’s screens.
In the past we’ve added voice acting to a game that did not originally have it (in BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites, in which Laura Bailey reprised the role of Rayne, and in American Hero in which Timothy Bottoms reprised his role as Jack), but this is the first game Ziggurat has updated where an entirely new soundtrack (not just a remake or enhancement of the original OST) was added. You can play Enclave HD with the game’s epic original score, but you also have the option to play with entirely new music throughout the game. We’ve also added a “Mixed” mode which plays a hand-picked track from the original or new soundtrack, depending on which mission you are playing.
A huge amount of Trophies and Achievements are included on supporting consoles. If you’re a trophy hunter, there will be plenty for you to do in unlocking them all.
Q: What would you tell potential players, who are thinking about jumping in?
A: While Enclave may seem like a linear game, it does reward exploring its side paths, nooks, and crannies because picking up the gold you’ll find there is what allows for equipping better gear on future levels. If you get stuck on a particular level, try using a different character or revisiting older levels to pick up more gold so you can use better gear.
Although it may seem like a modern action RPG at first glance, because there is no roll and the shield is not a guaranteed block from the front, in melee combat it’s best to physically avoid attacks by moving your character back. Crossbows have a partial aim-assist mechanic with the large circle that appears over targets. Firing while aiming in that circle will automatically aim bolts at the target directly. Bows have no aim-assist but many arrow types allow you to nock multiple arrows, or have an area of effect, to make them easier to use in close range.
We hope that longtime fans of Enclave enjoy this new version and we hope that new players get to dive into the best version of a true gaming classic.
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Brian Barnett writes reviews, guides, features, & more for IGN & GameSpot. You can get your fix of his antics on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Bluesky, & Backloggd, & check out his fantastic video game talk show, The Platformers, on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.