idiivil's Hunted: The Demon's Forge (Xbox 360) review

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Hunted: The Demon Forge's Review

Hunted: The Demon's Forge

Overall Reviewer's Grade: 4.5/5
Recommended to players who liked Resident Evil 5, the Gears of War series, and Army of Two. 

Written by: IDiivil. Please do not reproduce without explicit, written permission.

  • Story
  • Graphics
  • Sound
  • Gameplay and Controls
  • Multiplayer
  • In Closing
Hunted: The Demon's Forge is a tale of two mercenaries by the name of Caddoc, a male warrior, and E'lara, an elven ranger. The story begins with the pair lead to a pale-skinned projection of a woman named Seraphine who, after a series of events involving an artifact called the Deathstone, reveals that her physical body must be rescued. Seraphine promises that, should they do as such and return her to her father, the Lord Mayor, Caddoc and E'lara would be handsomely rewarded. Spurred on by the shine of gold, then, the mercenaries embark upon an adventure that leads them into a discovery that could threaten the whole of their realm. 
Overall, the story of Hunted: The Demon's Forge is well writ. The reasoning for the main characters to continue in the story in spite of the dangers is reasonable, and while the true intention of either character is sometimes difficult to decipher (E'lara's general troublemaker self can be hard to connect to why she'd go out of her way to help a stranger, for example), their overall well-meaning natures and histories help contribute to the player's understanding of each character. There are not many moments, if at all, where the player should feel confusion or dismay as to the direction of the plot and the actions driving the characters.
While Hunted cannot compare with current games like Gears of War 3, it certainly does not lack in its presentation. While gaming, it is a rare occurrence to see any textures loading throughout the player's movement, and the player is never to find a repeated level design such as in the game of Dragon Age 2. On top of that, Hunted challenges its gamers to always be on the lookout for small, out of place details that can lead to hints of secret areas and, most importantly, rewards. The only flaws that can be noticed with Hunted in graphic design are the silhouettes that are occasionally left behind by enemy dropped items and, very rarely, textures that the player can clip through. Of course, the large breasts of the game's female characters (and lack of dress) is often noted, though whether that detracts from the game or adds to it is the player's preference entirely.

With good voice acting and careful attention to environmental sounds, the creators of Hunted: The Demon's Forge ensures that the player never be distracted by anything out of place. The personalities of Caddoc and E'lara shine through their voices and match the situations they are placed in accordingly, and smaller, less noticeable details such as the echoes of footsteps, the flicker of a fire, a far off dog, and a crying woman also lend to the realism of each environment played in. Only in near-death gameplay can the voice actors be questioned, as Caddoc and E'lara sometimes sound too calm given they are a few seconds from a game over.
Gameplay and Controls:
Hunted: The Demon's Forge is average to better than average in their controls. While there is a tutorial at the beginning of the single player campaign as well as a manual, the player can find themselves a little confused at first with the battle magic and magic skills offered to them (whether in how to switch to them or how to return to their original weapon). A lack of inventory is as well often referenced as a point of annoyance, though the game offers plenty of containers throughout the player's exploration to offset this. The save system can also be unforgiving, lending to a risk of repetition should the player find themselves dying often and having to return to their last checkpoint. 
Thankfully, this repetition does not carry over into actual combat. Though melee is topped off after a four move combination, the introduction of a shield, a magic system, and different weapons adds variety. For example, it is crucial for the melee player to use their shields to block attacks, as some enemies do large amounts of damage and require well timed counterattacks to defeat. For the ranged player, a sharp eye and proper aim requires constant focus, and the sometimes unpredictable movements of the enemy keeps the game energized. 
Another crucial note for players is to always be on the lookout for new equipment. Shields in this game can break, and weapons are often on a charge system where they eventually run out of their power after extended use and become a weaker version of what was originally offered in statistics. Though some players may find the need to continue searching for items to be frustrating, the game offers no shortage of spots to search in and often gives an item better than what was originally equipped.
Overall, Hunted delivers with smooth controls, accurate aim, and interesting combat mechanics (different magics, tactics, and cover/sprint systems similar to Gears of War). Should there ever be a time that the player finds the game too easy or too difficult, there is also always the option to alter the difficulty (with the choices being Casual, Gamer, Hardcore, and Old School - this last unlocked after beating the campaign through once).
Multiplayer (and without):
Because Hunted offers all levels of coop play (whether split screen, system link, or over the console network), the potential for lag during one's game is severely decreased. Cooperative mode is also very well synced, with enemies being where they are visualized as well as your partner. In fact, part of Hunted: The Demon Forge's selling point is its cooperative gameplay due to the importance of each character throughout the game.
Should one not have a cooperative partner, though, the artificial intelligence for the secondary player is decent. The only parts the player may struggle with is to have assistance from the AI in opening up secret areas. The option to switch characters throughout the game at obelisks (marked at purple points) does redeem this flaw, though, and leaves single play available to any player willing to give Hunted a shot independently.
 In Closing:
Hunted: The Demon's Forge is a game that sells exactly what it is - and surprises you with more. Incorporating its dungeon crawling style with smooth playing, challenging battles, and interesting level design, Hunted is a rewarding game that can be enjoyed singularly, but most definitely with a friend.
Happy gaming.

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