Is Enshrouded, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
Enshrouded is a lot of fun, but it’s hardly what I would call a traditional survival game.

Points of Interest.

the Lowdown
Genre: Survival
Developer: Keen Games GmbH
Publisher: Keen Games GmbH
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 24 January 2024
Supported Modes:

Exploration.

Unlike most survival games, where building and crafting are the main reasons to play, Enshrouded places equal importance on exploring and encourages this by placing lore snippets around the map that point the way to treasure, rare resources, and enemy encampments, from letters that reference bandit troubles while giving just a vague indication of what direction, to more in-depth records that fill out the lore of the world, lore snippets help guide their player around the new world in which they find themselves, without holding their hand or taking away the thrill of discovery.

For those with the gear and courage to delve into the shroud, even greater danger and rewards are present within fog-covered areas, but linger too long and risk losing your newfound treasure, as while you keep your gear upon death, most resources are dropped, and unless you feel brave enough to brave the shroud once more to receive your bag, potentially lost forever.

Overall, an incredibly enjoyable aspect of the game that I feel should have been the core focus of Enshrouded as while it is an excellent exploration game and a decent sandbox role-playing game, it is a rather unimpressive survival game and one that will not hold the attention of veteran survival gamers for very long.

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Base Building.

Enshrouded combines the freedom of voxel-based block building with the ease of a traditional survival game building system by allowing players to freely mix and match preset building components with individual blocks, allowing for some truly stunning builds that can easily rival the most aesthetic builds found in titles such as Minecraft.

In addition, preset pieces can be edited manually to carve away unneeded elements and seamlessly meld into the blocks around them, allowing for arched doorways, seamless roof design, and a level of architectural freedom that titles such as Ark Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles could only dream of offering.

Unfortunately, Enshrouded has one huge flaw, and that is unlike titles such as Minecraft, Conan Exiles, 7 Days to Die, and to a lesser degree, Ark Survival Evolved/Ark Survival Ascended, there is no reason to build a base, as while tossing down a few blocks and a bed will help recharge stamina quicker,  enemies do not attack player bases, meaning that a shack of wood is just as useful as a stone fortress, which does make building a strongly fortified base feel pointless outside of player-driven role-play, or building a base simply for the joy of building base.

Overall, it is an excellent building system that feels wasted on a game that offers little to no reason to build more than a modest wooden shack and maybe a few extra foundations to place NPCs and workstations.

The shroud and its minions should seek to snuff out the light, and as a follower of Jesus Christ, I cannot help but be reminded of a verse from Johns’s gospel.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. - John 1:5

While the light of Christ endures forever, Enshrouded would be a much better game if the enemies of the light at least tried to extinguish the flame at the centre of each player’s base each night, adding a lore-friendly way for players to see some action other than venturing out into the shroud, while giving players who wish to avoid danger to their base a way to avoid it by sleeping through the night, ensuring their build remains safe while leaving the option open for them to enjoy PvE raids, once their base is fully secured, and they feel confident in their ability to defend their stronghold.

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Content.

Enshrouded offers players more quest and dungeon content than a traditional survival game, with only Conan exiles and its collection of excellent dungeons coming close to the amount of “MMORPG-lite” content found in Enshrouded, and I would love to see the developers lean heavily on this and the exploration aspects of the game development continues.

While the survival aspects of the game are in sorry need of an overhaul, by the time the developers make all changes required to make the survival mechanics attractive to survival gamers in sufficient numbers to ensure ongoing development, there will be too few survival gamers left to form a nuclear community, especially with so many other survival games titles already on the market, that offer a much richer survival experience than anything Enshrouded could replicate in a reasonable amount of time, without abandoning all other positive aspects of the game, which would be a cataclysmic mistake.

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Classes.

Continuing the trend of borrowing inspiration from the MMORPG genre, Enshriouded allows players to fill various roles from DPS to tanking, perfect for cooperative play when facing off with some of Enshrouded’s most difficult encounters.

In addition, each class has its own skill tree nodes, allowing players to spec into multiple classes, offering a level of freedom seldom seen in the MMORPG genre, something made possible because Enshrouded is not an MMORPG.

Far from allowing a massive amount of players to populate the world, even the largest currently available Enshrouded servers allow only 16 players to play at one time, and this, combined with a lack of PvP content, ensures that even the most unbalanced builds are essentially harmless to anyone but the unlucky player, who messes up their build so badly, that they are unable to tackle the higher level enemies and encounters without help from others or a remaking their character altogether, due to Enshrouded not currently offering a way for players to reset their skill tree or reassign points to other nodes.

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Performance.

Despite just starting its early access journey, Enshrouded runs well on a variety of hardware, and I am easily able to hit 60FPS/1080p on maxed settings on my 5700 XT, an excellent workhorse GPU to be sure, but hardly cutting edge in 2024.

Community.

Despite over 1 million players downloading Enshrouded and daily peaks of over 120k concurrent players, Enshrouded has little in the way of community, with only a handful of servers being open to the public, a situation made worse due to most servers allowing only six players, with even the largest servers allowing for just 16 concurrent connections, all but ensuring that enshrouded will never attract the type of community loving gamer that has kept titles such as Ark Survival Evolved, Rust, 7 Days to Die, and Conan Exiles at the forefront of the survival genre for the better part of a decade.

While a larger concurrent user cap and official dedicated servers will improve matters somewhat, without PvP servers or a PvE reason for players to build defensively, Enshrouded will struggle to remain relevant in the months and years ahead as players grow tired of building bases that will never see combat.

Farming resources for weapons and gear that ultimately do little but allow players to farm harder instances for yet more gear, a progression system better suited to the MMORPG genre than the survival genre, where player agency, server communities, and the ever-present threat of losing what is yours, keeps players coming back for more, even as some of the most popular game in the genre celebrates their 10th birthdays*.

*Rust and 7 Days to Die celebrated their 10th birthdays in December  2023, while Ark Survival Evolved turns ten years old in June 2024.

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Griefing.

Unfortunately, players who do not password protect their server or invite the wrong people to their server run the risk of losing everything; with players being able to move between servers freely, griefers have taken to travelling to unprotected servers, cleaning out other players inventories, before returning to their home server with their ill-gotten gain, a very important issue that the developers must move to address swiftly before Enshrouded loses what little open server community that it currently has.

Terrible Launch Window.

Despite enjoying one of the best survival game launches ever, Enshrodued chose a terrible time to launch, with rival survival game Palworld hogging the majority of media attention due to its record-breaking growth that saw it attract 19 million players in a matter of days and surpass two million concurrent active users on Steam alone, becoming only the second game in Steam’s 20-year history to do so.

While Enshrouded’s 120k concurrent players count is excellent, and shifting over a million copies in less than a week is very impressive, compared to Palworld’s sweeping of the genre, it appears to be insignificant, at least in the eye of the gaming media, which cannot stop talking about Palworld, while Enshrouded struggles to receive significant coverage of its successful launch and impressive concurrent user count.

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Enshrouded FAQ

Enshrouded is a survival video game developed and published by Keen Games GmbH, it was released on 24 January 2024 and retails for $29.99.

Platform Availability.

Enshrouded is available exclusively on PC.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

Enshrouded offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Server Browser

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Enshrouded is unrated and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Enshrouded is a very decent game that has had a fantastic opening week in early access, but already the cracks are starting to show, and while the developers are not inexperienced in creating excellent games, they have very little experience in making a successful survival game, with their sole previous entry having more in common with a four-player cooperative title, more than anything resembling a traditional survival game.

While they have been very upfront about what Enshrouded is and is not, many of those who purchased the game did so thinking it would be something more akin to 7 Days to Die or Conan Exiles, and soon Keen Games will have to decide between sticking to their original vision for Enshrouded and risk losing the majority of their players, or listen to players (who seldom agree on anything) and risk losing the majority of their player base, overall a very unenviable situation, and one I certainly would not want to be in.

While I recommend Enshrouded to fans of the sandbox and open-world role-playing games, at this time, I cannot recommend it to fans of the survival genre, as Enshrouded hardly qualifies as a survival game at all, let alone a good one.

Is Enshrouded Worth Playing In 2024?

8
Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Enshrouded" a rating of 8/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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