I’m a sucker for CRPGs, and one of the first games that got me into them was Fallout and its sequel Fallout 2. While the 3D first person continuation of the Fallout series has been (mostly) beloved by fans, I really miss the isometric perspective and the freedom that the originals allowed. Thankfully games like Wasteland 2 and Wasteland 3 have filled in the gap somewhat, and it’s good to see games like Encased that are attempting to make a game that is Fallout-like, with its own twist on alternate history.
Encased is an isometric computer role-playing game (CRPG) that has been kicking around Early Access for almost two years now. In it, you play as a newcomer to The Dome, an inexplicable and completely contained dome, full of anomalous objects that have driven the technology in the world of Encased. You start off as an employee of the Cronus Corporation, but soon find yourself on a one way trip from which you can’t return. Don power armor, avoid radiation, complete quests, and engage in tactical turn-based combat. In Encased you’ll meet lots of NPCs, and you’ll have the choice to help them, or wreak havoc and shed blood wherever you go. Unfortunately, to get to the meat of Encased, you have to go through an intro that is an absolute pain in the ass. When I first got a hold of a preview version of Encased years ago, I struggled to get through the beginning, so I was absolutely gutted to discover my old saves were no long compatible—I had to do it all again just to see the new content. But once you’re given the freedom to explore the open world, Encased really shows its true potential.
Encased is still in Early Access, and developer Dark Crystal Games is still plugging away at it, even if sometimes the updates seem few or far between. Voice acting has been added in a significant way, adding a whole new dimension to Encased. Also, Encased’s second act is now playable almost to the end, adding a dozen or so more hours to gameplay, and lots of new content and encounters to sink your teeth into. While the game’s Early Access information box says its release should be later this year, at this point that seems a bit optimistic—but it’s good to see Encased finally receiving these long-awaited updates.
While I’ve definitely had mixed feelings about Encased, its newest update has gotten me excited again. Years ago I thought it had the potential to be a great CRPG in the style of Fallout, and while it’s taking a little while, it’s finally reaching that potential. Hopefully we won’t have to wait years longer to get the third and final act, but if we do and it turns out great, it might just be worth it: Encased could very well be something special. It has interesting character, intriguing lore, and each update is more polished than the next.
Encased is available on Steam Early Access.
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