Encased released on September 7, 2021 for Windows, Mac and Linux and will be available on Steam, GOG and Epic Games Store. For those who don't know what Encased is, it's a game by Dark Crystal Games. It has a variety of ways to play through it and a number of different endings to it. With all that said, is it any good or not?
Story: As previously mentioned in the last section, there are roughly 15 different endings in this game. That's awesome.
With that said, here's how the story starts. The CRONUS Corporation, which controls all activity under the Dome, consists of five departments called Wings. Your character is a company employee in one of these five Wings.
Encased is a classic isometric role playing game with many different options to deal with various situations. Most people, of course, will play in a traditional style, but the game has some very different experiences if players go off the main path.
Low intellect character
The smarter you are - the easier problems are to solve. Making yourself as thick as two short planks feels counter-intuitive. But that's the point. Play as a low intellect employee and a whole new story line opens up. Important negotiations? Why not dance instead of reaching a compromise. Trying to evade an enemy? Why not act like a fool and pretend you're a bird. A whole slew of special skills and comedic situations await you on this path.
What if we told you that you can play through the whole game and not kill even a single soul? That's right, you can, if you're up to the task, play the entire game using non-lethal force. Clubs, tasers, pepper spray and a well placed right hook with your fist can take down even the strongest enemies, allowing you to bask in your own sense of moral superiority.
At the other end of the scale is, naturally, the psychotic option, the Serial Killer. Instead of helping people and getting them to assist you you can simply kill them instead. Yes, you can travel the world, meet interesting people and then kill them all.
There are six factions in the game and you can wipe them all out. But don't expect this to be a walk in the park. They'll send over reinforcements and support from all across The Dome. Not only that, but you'll be hunted by vigilante squads who are rather upset that you're on a murdering spree. Once you kill everyone you can also expect a rather special ending
If you like to be in the shadows 24/7, then there's a playthrough for you too in the form of SIlent Runner.
Not only can you avoid anyone being aware of your presence by slipping into stealth mode, but you can avoid all human interaction and progress through the game by hacking computer terminals, hotwiring vehicles and lockpicking doors. Again, this will take you to a very special ending
Gameplay: As previously mentioned in the story synopsis, you can either kill opponents, or spare them by merely knocking them out with tasers, fists, etc. That is admittedly very cool and amazing to see. The button to enter the stealth is moved to the right sidebar, or by default it is located above the weapon bar: You control the game via the Keyboard, mainly.
The button to exit the stealth appears there as well: You can enter the stealth only out of sight of other characters (companions do not count).
You can track the state of your disguise by the indicator icon above your avatar:
By activating the cloak mode, circles with visibility zones appear around the characters. In the white zone the avatar cannot enter the stealth. In the red zone the stealth disappears at a rate of 1 per second. This is shown on the icon, which gradually loses its fill of white and when it becomes faded, the avatar becomes visible again.
Even under the Dome, criminal activity is still forbidden.
By attacking characters, picking their pockets, or hacking into terminals, you leave evidence. Discovered evidence triggers an investigation and if you're in the vicinity, you'll be prosecuted - it starts with a warning, then eventually results in a loss of reputation and finally ends with an attempt to send you to prison and/or the entire surrounding region turning on you.
In order to pick pockets and not get caught or take a comfortable tactical position in battle (or to lure the guards away from the camp) you need to use the stealth system.
Conclusion: The game is absolutely amazing. With 15 different endings and a variety of playstyles, this game will keep you playing for over hundreds of hours, for sure.
Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5.