Encased is a Post-apocalyptic Western RPG, developed by the Russian studio Dark Crystal Games and published by Black Tower Entertainment. It was released for PC in Steam Early Access on 26 September, 2019.
The story begins in 1971, when a geological expedition to the archaeological zone C-12 Nashville discovered a mysterious alien mega-structure called The Dome. Further archaeological remains of a civilization named The Forefathers were found there. An international organization called the Cronus Foundation was founded in order to explore the Dome and exploit the technologies of the Forefathers.
The protagonist is one of the Foundation's employees, who discovers an artifact inside the dome and comes into contact with an entity known as The Maelstrom. They accidentally free it, which causes a global cataclysm, and wake up five years later, in a world that was profoundly changed by the awakening of the Maelstrom.
This work encases the following tropes:
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The ruins of the ancient and mysterious cities of the Forefathers inside the Dome.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Maelstrom, the alien artificial intelligence created by the Forefathers, to serve and help the latter, an advanced and advanced artificial intelligence beyond any imagination, which had rebelled against the Forefathers, then accidentally awakened by the protagonist, causes the devastation of the world and of the human race.
- Alternate History: The discovery of The Dome in 1971 had led to the end of the Vietnam War and by extension, the Cold War. It started a reconciliation between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, as they put aside their rivalries to create the Cronus Foundation in order to explore The Dome and exploit the alien technologies inside it, which led to a new scientific revolution. The awakening of The Maelstrom, however, had led to the situation rapidly evolving, to the point a nuclear war occurred while the protagonist was trapped inside the "mental sphere".
- Archaeological Arms Race: Conducted first by the Cronus Foundation to control and dominate the technologies of the Forefathers inside the Dome, then directly the major world powers after the awakening of the Maelstrom.
- Assimilation Plot: The Maelstrom aims to unify all human minds, in one and only mind, creating a "common Consciousness" or a "collective consciousness".
- Crapsack World: The territories within the Dome are dominated by the Forefathers military drones, which will kill or destroy everything that comes their way. The surrounding territory is also hostile, made of marshes, deserts and rugged lands interspersed with the Forefather ruins and full of ferocious wild animals, marauder and raider bands, and the fanatical religious sect.
- The Cult:
- The Sect of Cybersattiva, a New Age-like religious sect, founded by a guru called Jootha Jones, which is based on the spiritual aspects of Forefathers and Dome technologies, religion venerates the Forefathers as gods, like gods supreme, believing that they were a spiritually superior civilization and that the Forefathers, had evolved and progressed to a higher stage of existence, believe that even advanced and advanced technologies such as Robots and Androids, can have a soul and that the advent of a "Singularity" can make the human race progress and evolve spiritually.
- The Church of the Maelstrom is a religious organization that spread inside the Dome after the awakening of the Maelstrom, and venerates it as a God.
- Fish out of Water: The Main Character entered the Dome in 1976 as stated by the intro, in a technologically advanced world, finds themselves thrown forward into 1978, in a post-apocalyptic world, devastated by the awakening of the Maelstrom, which caused the collapse and decay of civilization.
- Human Popsicle: At the end of the prologue, the protagonist ends up trapped in a "mental sphere" generated by the Maelstrom, and only awaken from this "hibernation" five years later, in a world destroyed and devastated by the "Liberation" of the Maelstrom.
- Lost Forever: The quests in Concord Station will be lost forever once you leave Concord Station for the main quest. The game gives you plenty of warning that there is no turning back from there.
- Lost Technology: The technologies of the Forefathers.
- Powered Armor: The "Servoshell", a heavy military armor used by the Cronus soldiers, mainly used by the "Black Wing", that is, the security wing of the Cronus Foundation.
- The Precursors: The mysterious alien civilization of the Forefathers, which colonized the Earth at the dawn of time and space. They created the Dome and then the Maelstrom, but had mysteriously disappeared afterwards.
- The Remnant: The "New Committee" faction, founded by the remains of the Cronos Foundation after the awakening of the Maelstrom. They are nostalgic of the past and aspire to restore both the glory of their foundation and the advanced society before the awakening of the Maelstrom. While they try to restore order and stability in The Dome, their government is also authoritarian and oppressive.
- Scavenger World: The Post-Apocalyptic society inside the Dome, after the awakening of the Maelstrom.
- Shout-Out: The game has multiple of these towards other post-apocalyptic/survival games.
- The player character can throw bolts and screws to detect, disrupt and discharge anomalies, just like in the Stalker games.
- The Servoshell is an obvious one towards Fallout's power armor. Likewise, the structure of C-13 Nashville's interior and Vault 15 is rather similar, and the bodysuits assigned to C.R.O.N.U.S. employees are very similar to vault suits in the Fallout series.
- The gas station where the protagonist arrives, before reaching the C-12 Nashville, is called Roadside Picnic, which is a reference to the novel Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky Brothers. The novel is also a source of inspiration for the aforementioned Stalker series.
- Timed Mission: The introduction mission is timed and requires the player to finish within a day. If the player does not finish the quest in a day by either waiting out the timer or sleeping repeatedly, they will get a death sequence (and an achievement).