Review by jennafaith1

"Like Golden Axe Beast Rider, there is a good game here below obvious flaws."

Hunted: The Demon's Forge (HDF) is an action game from Bethesda that puts you in the role of two adventurers and takes you through a linear adventure filled with monsters and action. The gameplay consists of Gears of War style cover and shoot mechanic and a typical melee block and strike system. Your heroes are well animated and the graphics in general are pretty good. The music is typical of dark ages/fantasy scores and the game delivers a fair share of fun. It supports split screen co-op and XBOX live co-op.

STORY 6/10: E'Lara (hot elf chick) and Caddoc (Beefy warrior dude) are mercenaries looking for work and fortune. They stumble upon a demon woman who promises power and certain doom, but E'Lara agrees anyways. And off they go on a typical adventure doing some dungeon crawls and saving the land from the evil demons. The story really never sets itself above the average Sci Fy Channel plot points, but the main characters have good chemistry and are attractive.

GRAPHICS 8/10: The graphics have been called bad, but I find them to be very good. The characters are animated well and the detail on the protagonists and the higher demons are very well done. The main problem with this game is that the whole game is DAAAARK. Be ready to turn up that brightness slider on the options menu, because even in daytime missions, certain areas are hard to see. Once you turn up the darkness/brightness, you get to see pretty well and what is there is good. The characters are animated well and the action flows pretty well. Colors are subdued, but it is clearly the art style of the game. Dark, ugly, gritty, kind of evil too. Great detail on the bosses and some enemies. Some enemies clearly have shortcuts taken, but you will only notice if you really look. Overall, it's a good looking game.

SOUND/MUSIC 7/10: Nice dramatic pieces and decent soundeffects are all here to tickle your speakers. Sometimes, it gets really loud to create tension but the game sounds good. Voice work is on par with Gears of War. Witty one-liners and some melodrama from NPCs. Once again, the script is just average, but the main characters have chemistry. The game looks good and the sound backs up the graphics real well.

GAMEPLAY/MECHANICS 6/10: This is where the game starts to break apart. You either play a left Trigger Aim/Right Trigger shoot game with your archery, or switch to melee with Left Trigger Block/ X and Y attack. No counters, sloppy combat and picky controls. Your left and Right bumpers activate potions and magic. So sometimes you want to use magic, but your character uses a potion instead and vice versa. The melee combat is sloppy and slow. Sadly, you don't really feel that powerful either because the enemy is good at blocking and you must smash their shield to get to the meat. They can also smash your shield and it must be replaced often. These mechanics are bad choices in the programing of this game because the battles are desperate struggles fighting a pretty well trained enemy and bad controls. You can get around it, but you have to adjust to the limitations of the game.
The good news is that the shooting mechanic is quite good. Standard Gears of War style. Take cover, pop up and shoot. There are headshots in this game and they are brutal. When you kill enough,(Or sometimes completely randomly) you can preform a super move. This move kills an enemy in a gory fashion but takes about 5 seconds to perform in which you are stuck while your partner may need help. It's not that significant, but a co-op player in trouble might die while you hog all the glory. It seems that it's better to play as E'Lara because a cpu controlled E'Lara is simply not aggressive enough on single player. XBOX live co-op is pretty good. The game is linear so there is not much confusion. The split screen is much more difficult because the screens are not just smaller because of the split, they get squiched from the sides too. Unless you have a Hi-Def 40 inch minimum, the split screen is almost useless.
Overall, the game is functional, there are no major glitches. Sometimes your partner and you get stuck for a minute on each other, but most games do that.
My final verdict is that the gameplay is adequate but not well done. This game is perfectly playable, but could have been better.

FUNFACTOR/REPLAY 7/10: This is a light game with a fair amount of action but is generally slow paced. Gears of War players will not be impressed. However, the game is fun to play and works well with charismatic characters and a functional story. Good graphics and good sound make the whole package a nice experience. A NEW GAME + mode starts you over with some new perks, but still resets your abilities. There is a FORGE mode that lets you create some dungeons for you and your friend. This is pretty cool but if you add too many demons in one room, the combat mechanics begin to break down. The gold you collect in the game allows you to buy monsters for your creative death trap, so enjoy a couple of playthroughs for gold farming.

OVERALL 7/10: HDF is good game not deserving of the low scores it has been getting. Call of Duty junkies need not apply here, but if you like games like Dragon Age 2, Golden Axe, Jericho, and Army of TWO; you'll feel pretty good about the game. Good graphics and music with functional gameplay makes for a nice rental. I bought it on launch date but I liked it because it delivered what expected; Decent game with cool characters. Enjoy the FORGE.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/06/11

Game Release: Hunted: The Demon's Forge (US, 05/31/11)


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