Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is an action hack and slash game. Developed by inXile Entertainment and published by Bethesda, releasing on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in Mid-2011.
Gameplay in Hunted can be done either single player or co-op, whether it is online, or split screen. You play as either E’lara or Caddoc. E’lara specialises in using range weapons whilst Caddoc is the sword and board of the pair. Both of the characters have access to casting spells but these play a smaller part in the combat than you would think due to mana constraints. The hack and slash type combat system is really fun, and the range combat is even better. As you kill enemies they will drop fragments of shards, collect enough shards and you will get a skill point. You can use the skill point to purchase new abilities and upgrade the abilities as well. By the end of the game you will more or less have all of the skills so it doesn’t matter too much which you pick initially. If you are playing the game solo, you have the option at checkpoints to change which character you are in control of. In general, the computer AI is fairly intuitive at using your partner, helping you in battle etc.
I played Hunted on 4k, with graphics ramped up to max, and it does look really good. The environments you are fighting in, the backdrops and character models all look very impressive. What I was a little let down by is the animation. It just seems to of been done very lazily, using the wrong animation at the wrong time, such as when you are moving through a narrow hole that has nothing above your head, the animation that is used, is clearly just the stock “Generic animation when moving through object” as the characters will show hand movements as if they are holding objects above their head. It just felt really sloppy and looked very unprofessional at times. Other than the animation, the visuals department of Hunted is better than average.
Whilst the game has voice acting, the male actor doesn’t quite hit the right notes for me. Feels very generic meat head style and sometimes the words don’t quite match up with the character’s mouth so again, an animation issue. E’lara’s voice actor is slightly better, but again the issue with animation crops up again. Sound effects for weapons are really good though. Soundtrack is somewhat forgettable, even now after just completing the game, no music seems to have stood and stuck in my head.
I started out the game on the medium difficulty level and found that to be too easy, so I restarted and put the difficulty on the max setting, and this really does give you a challenge. You really have to make use of every single potion drop, every ounce of mana and above all else, make use of your characters roll ability. I can’t help but think it would still have been really easy had I been playing with another person rather than the AI though.
Whilst you are exploring the dungeons, caves and fortresses, you will find weapon wracks, depending on which character you are in control of, if you destroy said weapon wrack, you will get a piece of loot which is relevant for your character, so E’lara will usually get a bow, and Caddoc will usually find a sword or shield. The looting aspect of the game is probably one of my favourites, because well; who doesn’t like loot in games? Whilst the weapons and armour don’t have massive amounts of variety on, you normally only get two stats. For your bow it is usually speed and damage, same for swords but you can also get armour plated shoulder pads which adds a bit extra armour stat on for your character.
I finished Hunted in just over nine hours. I found that to be an acceptable length, whilst I wasn’t bored at the end of the game, I didn’t have a craving for any more though. The story is bland and very forgettable. There is a small amount of character development, but because they are both so generic in their stereotypes, I found it very hard to care about either of them. There is a high replay ability factor with this game though. Having only played it on single player and I focused my time on using E’lara, I could quite easily replay the game and get a whole different experience just from using Caddoc. You can also get probably at least one more run throughout of the game on co-op mode too. So you can probably reach about 25 hours’ worth of content if you push it.
Technically, there were a few problems. Like I said above, I was playing on 4k resolution with graphics ramped up to max. Whilst playing I noticed there to be a significant stutter in the game when you are entering a new area. At first I thought it was purely a resolution thing, so I dropped it down to 1440p but it was still the same, so I tried again to 1080p and the stutter was still there. I even turned down all of the options to minimum and the stutter still existed. So to put it shortly, I am not sure what causes this stutter, given that you are changing areas quite frequently you will suffer from it a lot too. Another issue I had, was the camera when your character is sprinting, it just jolts up and down all over the place and actually gave me a head ache because of it. Luckily you don’t need to sprint that often thankfully.
To sum up, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge has some nicely presented game play and mediocre visuals. The story is forgettable and voice acting is on the poor side of the scale. Overall, it is merely just an average game. Yes it is 5 years old at this point so take all of this with that into consideration. If it weren’t for the fun game play, I would have put this down as a negative review, however I will purely just recommend Hunted: The Demon’s Forge for purchase only when on sale. The game is retailing at £9, 99 but there are much better games of this genre out there for that price.