infestedandy's Hunted: The Demon's Forge (PC) review

A potentially great game stuck in a hollow shell

  

  
 
As cooperative based action-RPGs go, Hunted: The Demon's Forge treads a careful path. So careful, mind you, that it barely tries to do anything imaginative to grab your undivided attention. Whether it be the story, combat, or core mechanics of the game, Hunted is a supercharged mothball of lost potential. From the mind of Brian Fargo, this is something rather hard to believe.


The mercenaries of... well, somewhere.

As cooperative based action-RPGs go, Hunted: The Demon's Forge treads a careful path. So careful, mind you, that it barely tries to do anything imaginative to grab your undivided attention. Whether it be the story, combat, or core mechanics of the game, Hunted is a supercharged mothball of lost potential. From the mind of Brian Fargo, this is something rather hard to believe.

Hunted spins a tale straight from the cloth of the typical anti-hero. Its protagonists, E'lara and Caddoc, are hardened mercenaries bent on amassing a fortune in gold, regardless of what or who hires them on. After accidentally stumbling on an item called the Deathstone which allows clairvoyance into the past of the dead, both mercs begin dealing with an albino, busty, goth lady named Seraphine. Seraphine promises augmented power beyond mortal reckoning if they do what they are told. Somehow this leads to the discovery that an angry demon is ravaging the land with followers addicted to a substance known as "Sleg." Yadda, yadda, yadda, Caddoc and E'lara must find out what's going on before it's too late.


At least the view is nice. What? IT IS!

If you couldn't tell, I'm terribly unimpressed by this game's narrative. It's one thing to be safe and standard, and something completely different when you're nothing but derivative. Surprisingly, that also just so happens to be the theme of Hunted; being unoriginal and boring. You see, with the creator of the original Interplay at the helm of the studio (whose worked on such classics as Baldur's Gate), it's tough to settle on the fact that there's no compelling story to follow. The game tries to think its plot is intelligent, but it never ventures beyond its very limited imagination.

Since the story is rotten, the combat must be somewhat decent right? You'd think so, especially for a self-proclaimed "dungeon crawler," but it's definitely not. The problem stems from the game being too simplistic. With a single four hit combo and a heavy attack button to throw in, the maneuvers you pull off in the thick of combat are it - right from the very beginning. You do gain three unique abilities along with three magical spells, but even these special powers are hardly impressive. E'lara ends up being the more useful of the two since she can sit back and pop hundreds of dudes with her bow. Both characters have melee and ranged functionality, but I'll give you one guess as to who's better in melee and who's better at ranged.


In case you couldn't tell, this game can be kind of dark.

Depending on how the game's feeling, you also may have the opportunity to execute an injured opponent. The first few times are cool, but the animations never change and you can only watch someone take a slow-mo arrow to the face so many times. The spell effects from weapons and special abilities does sound excellent and is visually appealing, but that positive fact is sent to the depths by the mechanics behind the weapons. Remember how I said it was a "dungeon crawler?" Well, there's zero inventory in this game. That's right, the only difference besides certain increases in damage is the speed at which a weapon attacks. Enchanted weapons deal a ton more damage, but their special ammo is limited in quantity usually making you toss your weapon soon after you pick it up. What kind of dungeon based game disallows an inventory and wide array of weapons to select?

Weapons aren't the only thing the game is stingy about, you can only switch your playable character at specific points in the game called Obelisks. Why you can't dynamically switch I'll never know as it leaves much more to be desired when it comes to combos and other special attacks. You can play with a friend over the internet to lessen the pain but even that won't save you from the retarded AI.


Weapons that glow in the dark. Pretty cool right?

I've never played a game where I've felt bored wailing on a Minotaur. How does that happen? Even worse, the game is riddled with awful, overly extended encounters with AI that sometimes will run in wild circles and perform other aneurism-inducing feats. I can't tell you how many times I was thwacking a skeletal soldier in the back to never have him retaliate, ever. There's about twenty other ludicrous encounters I could share, but I think by this point you get the idea.

Hunted's enemies are ankle-biter spiders, Wargar gremlin things, skeletons, and Minotaur. That's the extent of the lavish selection of beasts you can slay. But wait, once you travel to a new area you can fight the same exact creatures with a different skin! This is incredibly lazy game design, and it's only accentuated when there's a door every 12-feet that gets you to the next area. Caddoc and E'lara even joke about the amount of doors in the game when they're opening them - hilarious.

After you give up on the monotonous adventure mode you can always jump into the fully featured Crucible mode. The Crucible is a map-maker of sorts that doesn't allow you to create actual levels. That's right, you can only select from presets. The gold you get in the adventure unlocks these presets and regardless of what you choose, no matter what it is it'll always be a wave-based, room to room map. In other words, it's a waste of time. The potential here was huge and because of lazy design, the Crucible turned into random used space on your hard-drive.


What a tramp.

With all the bad, the only decent things I can say about this game are the new library of sounds InXile freshly recorded and the occasional scenic view. The banter, combat, enemies, and doors are all part of a considerably heinous package you must steer clear from.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge is laughable at best. It's not the worst game in the world, but it's certainly nowhere near even above average level. Perhaps the mindless nature of the game could save you from untold hours of boredom, but by my experiences that's a stretch. Save your money, save your time because the Demon's Forge will only make you cry.
1 Comments
Posted by Little_Socrates

This seems like the kind of game that literally earns the player almost nothing. It doesn't sound like it teaches you what NOT to do because what it does wrong is all lazy, derivative, or simply poorly coded, and what little it does right is stolen from other products.

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