Encased - Early Impressions

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ALLTheDinos

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I'm a few hours into playing this game, and after seeing Rorie write a blurb on it in the newsletter, I thought some other people might have picked it up as well. Here are my thoughts on it for anyone who might be interested in playing it or discussing the early section of the game:

  • As Rorie said, it is very much a Fallout 1/2 or Wasteland style game. If you've had a hole in your heart for a late 90's CRPG, this might be right up your alley.
  • From character creation, a "build" mostly functions as it does in Fallout, with the addition of choosing a Wing to join. I chose White Wing because I usually like playing a high-intelligence, tech-proficient character, but there's also Black (soldiers), Blue (mechanics), Silver (speech-focused), and Orange (rogues). Both preset and custom options available.
  • Yes, if you make Brains your dump stat, you can unlock special dialogue! Also, a special perk that can unlock benefits to leveling certain skills (I forget which). I love it when games do this.
  • It takes a bit to get going, as the first area is entirely dialogue and a soft tutorial. Once you get to your first different location, it starts to show more of what it has going on. The game really encourages exploration and poking at things from different angles before rushing to complete an objective.
  • Autosaves appear to be done whenever you load into a new area. My advice is to manually save often, and keep some saves at certain intervals in case you want to do something a different way. If you see something that obviously looks like a battle ahead, definitely save because you can find yourself overwhelmed fairly quickly.
  • I'm nearing the end of the first major area outside of the starting location, and the story has taken a turn I didn't expect at first. I'm really digging the atmosphere and writing so far, and I'd love to hear what others think.
  • Voice acting is pretty good, albeit unpredictable on when it might activate. There was one funny bug where a guy drew a gun on me but the voice line was a cheerful "hello!".
  • Leveling up feels meaningful, as active and passive skills get unlocked at skill thresholds. I agonized over my level 3 perk choice as well, which is usually the mark of a solid RPG.
  • Finally, inventory is a little bit of a mess, and I'm not sure when I'll have the chance to offload a bunch of loose (but valuable) crap I've picked up over the last couple of hours. If anyone has progressed further and has any tips on what to prioritize, I'd appreciate them.
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rorie

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@allthedinos: I'm glad someone else is trying this out! Like I said, I haven't gotten super far, but so far I've been pretty impressed with the amount of polish. I know this has been in early access for a couple of years, so maybe it's not surprising that they've had the time to dedicate to making it work alright, but I was pretty surprised at the sheer amount of V/O they have going on, even in the early game.

Curious if anyone else has been playing?

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BladedEdge

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Had I not been dumping something like eighty hours now into Pathfinder Wrath of the righteous I would likely be playing this.

I did see some coverage of it over on YouTube on a channel I was following for the Pathfinder game I mentioned, who after one hundred percenting the game gave it some pretty high praise. It does seem like it will allow for a variety of styles including stealth and persuasion versus all-out combat, it's got several interesting seeming companions, and the story is not without its Merit and interests although I wouldn't say it's a game of the year writing material it will keep you invested seemingly.

The only thing they noted specifically I recall is that the wing you choose your character to be a part of does have character and story implications, however it's more like picking a race or background in a fantasy game as opposed to a organization or faction, though I am sure you could play to said organization/wings beliefs and focus.

But it's more like, if you were raised on a farm, you'd know more about that even if you don't have to believe the same things the "farmer faction" does or support them. Though I did make that example up.

It also seems to split skills between combat and non-combat in a useful manner and the report I'm basing this off of said that both were viable has to complete the game as I said.

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whitegreyblack

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Thank you for putting this game on my radar. I'll have to take a look at it.

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ALLTheDinos

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I'm nearing the end of Act 1 (or so I believe) and thought I could update my list of thoughts / tips accordingly:

  • My initial entry was posted right before the end of the Prologue. It does a pretty good job representing what you'll do in the game, and I think that if you beat the Prologue once you can get special items to speed through it in later playthroughs. If that is indeed the case, I'm definitely playing this game multiple times through.
  • Right after you start Act 1, the game points you in the direction it thinks you should go. My recommendation is to go there first, as you can pick up a couple of companions that make early game much more fun.
  • Additionally, having companions dramatically increases the maximum carry weight. So if nothing else, you should consider a party of 3 just to pick up more stuff.
  • You can hover over any given creature or NPC to see their rank (aka their level) to easily determine if you should sneak around / run away or if you can take on a group of enemies. You might want to save right beforehand just in case, though.
  • I continue to enjoy the active skills and perks, though it looks like there might be a level cap at 15. As someone who's currently rank 14, that does concern me a bit. I haven't allocated super efficiently.
  • Skills you unlock might also depend on the type of weapon you have equipped. For example, leveling High-Tech Weapons unlocks several active skills, but one for dart, one for penetrator, etc.. You might find yourself not basing your loadout on the loot you find alone, but rather which skills fit your party best. Gives another layer of flexibility I think similar games sometimes lack.
  • Story-wise, I think it's become more conventional as I progress. There are some fun touches (I love any interaction I have with The Fops), but I'm more or less banking on wilder shit to happen around the end of Acts instead of all the time.
  • The overworld is pretty simple, and traveling both increases your various meters and also introduces random events. I got the Survival perk that basically lets me ignore all of them, but you could potentially get into a lot of random encounters if you have a low Luck score.
  • Crafting is not something I enjoy in games usually, and it's not super necessary here. I'd be interested to see if anyone has things they strongly recommend.
  • Finally, to answer my own question from last time: merchants do appear in Act 1. One thing that's not clear is you have to manually trade their combonds (currency) to just get cash for your items, and you can only find those combonds in their "All" inventory tab. Maybe they'll correct that in a patch, but it took me some trial and error.

I might try to write up a full review of the game after I'm done playing it, or maybe I'll update this post a final time. According to Googling, the total time to beat is 18-40 hours, and I'm around 24 right now. I've heard Act 2 is fairly brief, but I've been enjoying doing sidequests and exploring the map. Hope other people are enjoying this, and don't forget to light it up.