Enshrouded Review: A Survival RPG that Needs to Clear the Haze

Co-op, Action and Survival Blend in a World That’s Not Quite Ready

Early Access Review
last updated Jan 24, 2024
If you can see through the fog of its current issues, Enshrouded might be worth the gamble.

A Shrouded Start

Enshrouded kicks off with a premise that is as intriguing as it is ambitious. You're a 'Flameborn,' tasked with the lofty goal of fighting back a corruptive fog and restoring your kingdom to its former glory. With the promise of a vast world and demanding bosses, one can't help but tip their cap to the developers' vision. The cherry on top? The potential to coop this experience with up to 15 other players - because misery loves company, right? Unfortunately, the current execution feels akin to engaging in a joust with a pool noodle—plenty of spirit, but lacking a solid punch.

Dodging More Than Just Danger

Enshrouded's gameplay loops feel eerily familiar, and that's because they pluck elements from the modern survival RPG garden. The gathering, crafting, and building mechanics are intuitive and somewhat responsive, providing a comfort food experience for veteran survivalists. Combat chases the same muse, yet every swing and dodge seems to remind you that this is an Early Access title. We sometimes find ourselves dodging more bugs and glitches than in-game arrows, a frustrating experience that cools off the initial excitement faster than a snowstorm in July.

Sonic Ambience or Sonic Ambush?

On one hand, the audio bears the hallmark of careful concoction—ambient noises, combat sound effects, and musical interludes that seek to be atmospheric companions on your quest. However, consistency is key, and at times, the audio feels like it's playing a game of hide and seek. One minute you're enveloped in a sweeping orchestral piece, the next you're wondering if your speakers decided to take an impromptu vacation. The inconsistency can leave you feeling more disconnected than a call on a moving train through a tunnel.

A Visual Journey of Highs and Lows

Graphics in Enshrouded masquerade as a double-edged sword—stylish and cool, yes, but also bedeviled by elements that appear as if a fog not only shrouds the in-game world but the screen as well. Performance, while passable on a mid-range rig, has summoned the fury of those sporting more expensive hardware, hinting at optimization issues. The allure of voxel art can pull you in, but don't be surprised if your frame rate decides it wants to play hopscotch while you're trying to enjoy the scenery.

The Co-op Conundrum

When Enshrouded plays nice, you glimpse the potential co-op haven it could be. But, as it stands, co-op is much like that one friend who says they'll show up to your party and never does. Severe crashes and instability dominate the multiplayer scene, thrusting players back to their desktops faster than you can say 'game over.' While single-player provides a reasonable workaround, it feels like settling for plain toast when you were promised a full English breakfast.

A Promise of Better Tomorrows

Between the lines of frustration and facepalms, there's a glint of something special with Enshrouded. The developers are diligent, pushing fixes faster than a barista on a caffeine high. If you're the patient type, willing to weather the storm of early access woes, you might find a diamond in the rough that shines brighter with each update. But for now, strap in for a bit of a bumpy ride, and don't be shy to buckle that feedback seatbelt tight—it's needed. Game Cover Art
56 .27% Developer & Publisher Keen Games GmbH Early Accesss Release Date January 24, 2024

Verdict and Summary

Enshrouded is like a mysterious tome—crack it open and you're met with potential wonder, but also the possibility of a paper cut. It's unmistakably rough around the edges, with performance gremlins and multiplayer mayhem tarnishing an otherwise engaging concept. If you can see through the fog of its current issues, and the siren call of co-op gaming is strong, then Enshrouded might be worth the gamble. But for those whose tolerance for unfinished tapestries is low, you're better off with an already woven masterpiece.