GetDotted Domains

Viewing Thread:
"[GAME] Hunted: The Demon's Forge"

The "Retro Game Reviews" forum, which includes Retro Game Reviews, has been archived and is now read-only. You cannot post here or create a new thread or review on this forum.

This thread has been linked to the game 'Hunted: The Demon's Forge'.
Sun 04/09/11 at 13:15
Regular
"Carpe Diem"
Posts: 154
Swords and shields. Characters with pointy ears. Interminable Olde English. The dungeon crawling RPG is certainly a genre at home with the concept of 'tried and true'. Indeed, such games seldom innovate past their fans desire to grind up levels and loot some dungeons. For that reason, it is always curious when a game shies away from genre conventions, yet at the same time retains the imagery and themes which are synonymous with it's stereotype. Enter Hunted: The Demon's Forge; a pointy-eared, sword swinging romp from the same team who brought us 2004's 'The Bard's Tale'. Modern-thinking and co-op friendly, this attempt at revamping the dungeon crawler is a witty, if expected, action adventure. But with fierce competition from it's bigger budget brothers, is Hunted: The Demon's Forge a worthy conqueror, or does it try to run before it can crawl?

It is immediately evident on starting the game that all RPG elements are back seat affairs. The game is streamlined and action heavy, with early battles feeling more like those from a solid shooter than a hackneyed hack-n-slash. It is also apparent early on where the game took much of it's inspiration. Gears of War esque cover mechanics are present throughout the detailed environments, and many set-pieces are clearly influenced from Epic's acclaimed shooter series. However, to claim that Hunted is just Gears of War with a fantasy skin is to sell the game short in a number of ways. Indeed, the game is aware of it's comparative nature, and instead of trying to pull wool over eyes, creates a fun and refreshing game laden with sections both intense and whimsical. What follows is infinitely playable adventure, with the micro-management of many dungeon crawlers removed in favour of cinematic brawling, and enjoyable narrative.

Caddoc and E'lara are your standard fantasy game mercenaries. Working together to line their pockets, they pillage dungeons with nothing but swords, bows and obligatory banter. Recently though, Caddoc; the bald and bearded muscle man of the story, has been suffering bizarre and prophetic nightmares. In these dreams; as displayed in the game's excellent opening cutscene, a seductive demoness is luring him into promises of riches and endless pleasure. This, though initially ridiculed by partner E'lara (the pointy-eared and suspiciously dressed one), is soon revealed to be more than a dream when the demon meets up with them in the waking world. It is here where the story of the game begins, and the two protagonists are swiftly dragged into a tale of conspiracy and warring kingdoms. Hunted: The Demon's Forge tells a tale which is somewhat surprising in it's quality delivery. Whilst starting out as a simple catalyst to move the game from battle to battle, it quickly becomes engrossing and clever, with numerous moments to inspire emotion and drive you forward toward it's conclusion. Caddoc and E'lara are a unique pair; with conversations ranging from sublime to ridiculous in the time it takes to swing a sword. There is also the whisper of a deeper lore, with unlockable segments of in-game history granting small insights into the world. Moreover, the protagonist's often hint at their own pasts, though are never fully given the time to explain their stories in any detail. It is unclear whether this is intentionally vague, or whether such elements were unfortunately cut to further condense the action-plot ratio. As it stands, Hunted's story is well acted and compelling, and will likely surprise many a player with it's interesting cast and quality pacing.

Of course, the real meat of the experience is found in the combat. Both Caddoc and E'lara have strengths and weaknesses, with Caddoc using a sword and shield, and E'lara preferring a long range bow. This allows for a certain level of strategy, as you choose which play style matches the situation and also your own combat preferences. Unfortunately, although both characters are equally controllable, you can only swap between them at designated areas. This can sometimes lead to entering combat with the 'wrong' character for the given battle, but it is thankfully not a major concern. Both characters have access to a backup bow or sword respectively, though clearly their skills with them are lacking compared to their own chosen form of combat. Weapons themselves are picked up from allocated racks, which reveal either a new shield or weapon whenever they are visited by a character. Shields are degradable and eventually break, making their pick-up far more important than hunting for a new broadsword or bow. Either way, the further you get into the game, the stronger the weapon pick-ups become. It all leads to a very smooth combat experience, with the standard array of fast and heavy attacks mixed up with combos and finishing moves. Using both characters also allows you to change the pace to suit your mood, with E'lara more adapted to hiding in cover, and Caddoc charging in up close and personal. This makes playing as bow-wielding E'lara more reminiscent of the aforementioned cover-shooter genre, whilst sticking with Caddoc is truer in spirit to the hack-n-slash roots of the game's aesthetics.

As well as combat, there are numerous parts within the adventure where simple puzzles are required to move on. The most challenging of these come in the form of optional pathways, where a labyrinth or traditional puzzle await those who wish to explore the dungeons. Other than this, most non-combat elements are lightweight and basic, such as lighting a fire with a flaming arrow or triggering a set-piece by pushing an object. That said, these patches of the game allow an element of exploration; a slow down from combat and a longer focus on the atmosphere of the environments. Furthermore, playing with a friend will allow such moments to be solved co-operatively both online and split-screen. Indeed, many parts in the game are forged with the idea of co-op set firmly in mind; such as opening doors with the strength of both characters, or defending a battlefield with optional ballistas. That said, single player gamers will not be left wanting, as the AI is generally competent and smooth; with characters taking down multiple enemies, and helping themselves to scattered potions and weapons.

Such collectibles are abundantly dotted in almost every corner throughout the levels; mostly in the form of breakable pots which reveal health pickups and gold to loot. Additionally, crystals that you find around the world can be periodically spent on upgrades and abilities. This is the only real RPG element in a game otherwise free of levelling and grinding. However, selecting which attacks or spells to purchase allows light customisation to the protagonistís fighting styles. For example, you can charge up an arrow with an ice attack; allowing for long range shattering of foes, or upgrade your sword's lunging attack to take down multiple enemies at once. Up to four abilities can be stored at once on the face buttons of the controller, though yet again they are only changeable at assigned points during the adventure. Ultimately, Hunted may not excel at a range of differing in-game concepts, but the core gameplay remains solidly paced and, above all, compelling to play.

Technically, the range of locations to visit in the game are designed with the sort of high fantasy imagery you'd expect from many a western RPG. Medieval villages and rural landscapes are displayed with sharp attention to detail, though unfortunately suffering from the texture pop-in most prevalent with the Unreal engine. There are also a number of minor issues; a enemy stuck in between a wall or a missing texture to name the most common. Thankfully, these do not often impede on the gameplay, with the only potentially annoying concern being 'snapping' out of cover unintentionally. Other than this, the game is a colourful and cogent experience; content with not trying to break any boundaries yet still existing with sufficient visual flare. Voice acting however is markedly high quality, with the likes of Xena's Lucy Lawless voicing main character's within the game. This gives the experience a professional aura, a feeling which often overshadows the flaws to reveal a game that, although not as sound as it could be, is thematically solid and always alluring.

By it's end, Hunted: The Demon's Forge is a lively adventure through a familiar backdrop, standing out not because of it's niche, but because of it's agreeable new spin on the genre. Fans of fantasy and dungeon crawling will find plenty here to keep them busy, and those looking for a earnest and challenging game will likely be surprised at what is on offer. It may not excel at the flash and fanfare of higher profile genre examples, but this lengthy and proficient fantasy journey provides many a dungeon worthy of crawling.

8/10
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Sun 04/09/11 at 13:15
Regular
"Carpe Diem"
Posts: 154
Swords and shields. Characters with pointy ears. Interminable Olde English. The dungeon crawling RPG is certainly a genre at home with the concept of 'tried and true'. Indeed, such games seldom innovate past their fans desire to grind up levels and loot some dungeons. For that reason, it is always curious when a game shies away from genre conventions, yet at the same time retains the imagery and themes which are synonymous with it's stereotype. Enter Hunted: The Demon's Forge; a pointy-eared, sword swinging romp from the same team who brought us 2004's 'The Bard's Tale'. Modern-thinking and co-op friendly, this attempt at revamping the dungeon crawler is a witty, if expected, action adventure. But with fierce competition from it's bigger budget brothers, is Hunted: The Demon's Forge a worthy conqueror, or does it try to run before it can crawl?

It is immediately evident on starting the game that all RPG elements are back seat affairs. The game is streamlined and action heavy, with early battles feeling more like those from a solid shooter than a hackneyed hack-n-slash. It is also apparent early on where the game took much of it's inspiration. Gears of War esque cover mechanics are present throughout the detailed environments, and many set-pieces are clearly influenced from Epic's acclaimed shooter series. However, to claim that Hunted is just Gears of War with a fantasy skin is to sell the game short in a number of ways. Indeed, the game is aware of it's comparative nature, and instead of trying to pull wool over eyes, creates a fun and refreshing game laden with sections both intense and whimsical. What follows is infinitely playable adventure, with the micro-management of many dungeon crawlers removed in favour of cinematic brawling, and enjoyable narrative.

Caddoc and E'lara are your standard fantasy game mercenaries. Working together to line their pockets, they pillage dungeons with nothing but swords, bows and obligatory banter. Recently though, Caddoc; the bald and bearded muscle man of the story, has been suffering bizarre and prophetic nightmares. In these dreams; as displayed in the game's excellent opening cutscene, a seductive demoness is luring him into promises of riches and endless pleasure. This, though initially ridiculed by partner E'lara (the pointy-eared and suspiciously dressed one), is soon revealed to be more than a dream when the demon meets up with them in the waking world. It is here where the story of the game begins, and the two protagonists are swiftly dragged into a tale of conspiracy and warring kingdoms. Hunted: The Demon's Forge tells a tale which is somewhat surprising in it's quality delivery. Whilst starting out as a simple catalyst to move the game from battle to battle, it quickly becomes engrossing and clever, with numerous moments to inspire emotion and drive you forward toward it's conclusion. Caddoc and E'lara are a unique pair; with conversations ranging from sublime to ridiculous in the time it takes to swing a sword. There is also the whisper of a deeper lore, with unlockable segments of in-game history granting small insights into the world. Moreover, the protagonist's often hint at their own pasts, though are never fully given the time to explain their stories in any detail. It is unclear whether this is intentionally vague, or whether such elements were unfortunately cut to further condense the action-plot ratio. As it stands, Hunted's story is well acted and compelling, and will likely surprise many a player with it's interesting cast and quality pacing.

Of course, the real meat of the experience is found in the combat. Both Caddoc and E'lara have strengths and weaknesses, with Caddoc using a sword and shield, and E'lara preferring a long range bow. This allows for a certain level of strategy, as you choose which play style matches the situation and also your own combat preferences. Unfortunately, although both characters are equally controllable, you can only swap between them at designated areas. This can sometimes lead to entering combat with the 'wrong' character for the given battle, but it is thankfully not a major concern. Both characters have access to a backup bow or sword respectively, though clearly their skills with them are lacking compared to their own chosen form of combat. Weapons themselves are picked up from allocated racks, which reveal either a new shield or weapon whenever they are visited by a character. Shields are degradable and eventually break, making their pick-up far more important than hunting for a new broadsword or bow. Either way, the further you get into the game, the stronger the weapon pick-ups become. It all leads to a very smooth combat experience, with the standard array of fast and heavy attacks mixed up with combos and finishing moves. Using both characters also allows you to change the pace to suit your mood, with E'lara more adapted to hiding in cover, and Caddoc charging in up close and personal. This makes playing as bow-wielding E'lara more reminiscent of the aforementioned cover-shooter genre, whilst sticking with Caddoc is truer in spirit to the hack-n-slash roots of the game's aesthetics.

As well as combat, there are numerous parts within the adventure where simple puzzles are required to move on. The most challenging of these come in the form of optional pathways, where a labyrinth or traditional puzzle await those who wish to explore the dungeons. Other than this, most non-combat elements are lightweight and basic, such as lighting a fire with a flaming arrow or triggering a set-piece by pushing an object. That said, these patches of the game allow an element of exploration; a slow down from combat and a longer focus on the atmosphere of the environments. Furthermore, playing with a friend will allow such moments to be solved co-operatively both online and split-screen. Indeed, many parts in the game are forged with the idea of co-op set firmly in mind; such as opening doors with the strength of both characters, or defending a battlefield with optional ballistas. That said, single player gamers will not be left wanting, as the AI is generally competent and smooth; with characters taking down multiple enemies, and helping themselves to scattered potions and weapons.

Such collectibles are abundantly dotted in almost every corner throughout the levels; mostly in the form of breakable pots which reveal health pickups and gold to loot. Additionally, crystals that you find around the world can be periodically spent on upgrades and abilities. This is the only real RPG element in a game otherwise free of levelling and grinding. However, selecting which attacks or spells to purchase allows light customisation to the protagonistís fighting styles. For example, you can charge up an arrow with an ice attack; allowing for long range shattering of foes, or upgrade your sword's lunging attack to take down multiple enemies at once. Up to four abilities can be stored at once on the face buttons of the controller, though yet again they are only changeable at assigned points during the adventure. Ultimately, Hunted may not excel at a range of differing in-game concepts, but the core gameplay remains solidly paced and, above all, compelling to play.

Technically, the range of locations to visit in the game are designed with the sort of high fantasy imagery you'd expect from many a western RPG. Medieval villages and rural landscapes are displayed with sharp attention to detail, though unfortunately suffering from the texture pop-in most prevalent with the Unreal engine. There are also a number of minor issues; a enemy stuck in between a wall or a missing texture to name the most common. Thankfully, these do not often impede on the gameplay, with the only potentially annoying concern being 'snapping' out of cover unintentionally. Other than this, the game is a colourful and cogent experience; content with not trying to break any boundaries yet still existing with sufficient visual flare. Voice acting however is markedly high quality, with the likes of Xena's Lucy Lawless voicing main character's within the game. This gives the experience a professional aura, a feeling which often overshadows the flaws to reveal a game that, although not as sound as it could be, is thematically solid and always alluring.

By it's end, Hunted: The Demon's Forge is a lively adventure through a familiar backdrop, standing out not because of it's niche, but because of it's agreeable new spin on the genre. Fans of fantasy and dungeon crawling will find plenty here to keep them busy, and those looking for a earnest and challenging game will likely be surprised at what is on offer. It may not excel at the flash and fanfare of higher profile genre examples, but this lengthy and proficient fantasy journey provides many a dungeon worthy of crawling.

8/10

Freeola & GetDotted are rated

Check out some of our customer reviews below:

Continue this excellent work...
Brilliant! As usual the careful and intuitive production that Freeola puts into everything it sets out to do, I am delighted.
Impressive control panel
I have to say that I'm impressed with the features available having logged on... Loads of info - excellent.
Phil

View More Reviews

Need some help? Give us a call on 01376 55 60 60

Go to Support Centre
Feedback Hide Feedback Tab

It appears you are using an old browser, as such, some parts of the Freeola and Getdotted site will not work as intended. Using the latest version of your browser, or another browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Opera will provide a better, safer browsing experience for you.