Coming from developer Keen Games (Portal Knights) is the newest survival action RPG in the formula made popular by titles like Rust, Day Z, and ARK: Survival Evolved. Featuring survival as a main component, alongside crafting and building mechanics, deep combat systems, and skill trees—all rolled up and set in a magical, fantasy world—Enshrouded is the next title from one of the leading independent video game developers in Germany.
“Enshrouded is the culmination of what Keen Games dreamt of creating for years,” explains Creative Director of Enshrouded, Antony Christoulakis. “We can’t wait to bring this to our players and to shape the future of Enshrouded together with our community.”
As a game in this genre, fans can get excited about multiplayer creation at a high level, alongside all of the trolling you could possibly hope for, on servers with one to sixteen players. Set in an abandoned realm corrupted by a mysterious fog, the players of Enshrouded will be tasked with upgrading their hero in order to take on difficult bosses and create a kingdom fit for a king with its in-depth building options.
Starting off in a decaying world of magic, players will notice the thick fog covering certain areas as it spews up from the depths of the earth. This caused the people to turn into mutated beings that needed to be vanquished—freeing them from their new prison. As a Flameborn, the player is the last hope for this land and its people. Utilizing your magical abilities, you’ll fight your way through different enemies on your way to unlock the truth behind the fog, across green forests, deep fissures, and lost dungeons.
Sounding a bit like Stephen King’s The Mist, just in a more medieval, high-fantasy backdrop, Enshrouded’s story is quite a bit more creative than those you’ll find in some similarly designed titles, where usually, the story is told almost completely through the player’s actions, like in Minecraft, for example.
“…Enshrouded’s story is quite a bit more creative than those you’ll find in some similarly designed titles…”
Onto one of the major pillars, Enshrouded is a survival game—first and foremost. While the developers relayed they didn’t want the player to perish for lack of water, making it a more casual survival game, the mechanics are still in place where starting with nothing and working towards different goals are a huge part of the gameplay loop. Food acts as a buff, where differing dishes give certain boosts to stats. Thus, hunting and farming are important to keeping your character buffed, as well as for crafting.
From there, the crafting systems and building mechanics seem pretty dense. The crafting reminded me a ton of how titles like 7 Days To Die or ARK: Survival Evolved—just from the third-person perspective. Gathering resources like rock, wood, and more allows for building, much like you’d expect, but the system in Enshrouded mixes in a bit of Minecraft as well, where the building is done through a voxel-based pattern across the ground, where whatever is made is glued together seamlessly, allowing for some pretty high-end builds.
While also simply a part of basic survival, Enshrouded takes things to a whole new level. Construction is as easy or elaborate as the players choose, where blueprints of elements like stairs or walls are pre-made and ready to go, or you can take the time to place each resource—brick by brick. Featuring over 100 props, including trophies from slain bosses, for decor, Enshrouded allows the player to not only create the most unique and intimidating builds around but also to make sure there’s comfy furniture inside to make it even more immersive.
Grabbing legendary artisans allows for these building mechanics to be completely customizable in town form as well, as you could build a blacksmith shop and plop your blacksmith there, for example. This opens up a realm of possibilities for the player to enjoy. Terrain shaping tools also allow you to change the world around you, as several locations found have destructible environments on top of it all, much like My Time At Portia. Adding in the servers filled to the brim with all of your friends, and you’ve got the recreation of building out entire fortresses with your friends.
“While also, simply, a part of basic survival, Enshrouded takes things to a whole new level.”
The combat systems in Enshrouded seem to be densely packed with magical abilities while keeping to a more normal pattern in comparison to the genre. Looking a bit like Dark Souls, with slower-paced fights, rolling, and parrying, Enshrouded has a skill tree that allows the player to choose the way they would like to play between ranged combat, melee combat, and magic while also featuring several skills that deal with traversal, or just to make life easier—like an orb that can follow you around for light so you don’t have to carry a torch anymore.
Randomized loot from boss fights allows for replayability, as well as experience grinding and the rush when you get just the perfect new weapon or shield for your arsenal. Tactically utilizing your abilities in tandem with your loadout is crucial, where fights can quickly get difficult based on the numbers or strength of the baddies encountered. Dispel the Shroud and save the people!
Finally, the traversal in Enshrouded looks to be pretty insane, as it utilizes gadgets like a Zelda-esque hookshot to get to higher places, as well as a Wingsuit to cross vast distances—yes, they had those in the Middle Ages, don’t question it. All jokes aside, climbing to the top of a tower and jumping off to get to a new, fogged-out area in order to slay some crazy enemy seems like the real deal, not going to lie.
All in all, Enshrouded is joining a genre that’s had a ton of titles come and go, and while each failed project didn’t make the cut for whatever varying reason, each tended to keep to a genre norm, and Enshrouded looks to offer a ton of mechanics that go way over the top, especially in the building mechanics. People will surely use this new title from Keen Games to create vast kingdoms, quite literally, all while really playing the role of ultra-King Arthur. This is definitely one fans of the genre will want to place on their wishlists and keep an eye on in the future!
Enshrouded is coming to PC through Steam Early Access in 2023 and can be wishlisted now. The latest news surrounding Enshrouded is available on the official website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.