Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is a third-person action RPG that introduces a lot of cool elements. Sadly, the main gameplay can get repetitive and the level design is dull and uninspired most of the time. One of the plus sides, however, is that New Zealand’s own Lucy Lawless voices one of the characters.
The game begins by introducing us to the two main characters, named E’lara and Caddoc. E’lara is an elf and is proficient with a bow and arrow. Eagle eyed gamers will realise that her character design is heavily inspired by Lord of the Ring’s Legolas. Caddoc is the other main character and strangely looks like former WWE Superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin - only with a heavy British accent.
The story is that Caddoc has a vision of Seraphine (Lucy Lawless’ character) who tells him he and E’lara need to find an ancient artifact that could help rid the evil that plagues their world. Seraphine tells them that there will be a big gold reward if they agree to help her.
The voice acting and character development in the game is something I haven’t seen in a video game in a long time. You’ll often hear humorous banter between the two main characters. It’s very funny when E’lara mentions Caddoc only trusts Seraphine because he finds her attractive (both agree to help her as they’re in it for the money).
Much like many dungeon-crawler games, the level design is dull compared to the personalities of the main characters. You will often have to traverse very dark dungeons (literally), caves and rainy villages. It was nice when I played in a level in a nice bright jungle but sadly, the majority of the game is set in very drab locations. It’s kind of a missed opportunity since the game uses the Unreal Engine 3 to power its graphics.
The enemies you will face in the game vary and Lord of the Rings fans will notice some similarities in their designs. The common enemy in the game is called Wargar and they resemble the Orcs. Other enemies are also heavily inspired by other types of literature as more than one type of Minotaur appears in the game. Although they all look similar the enemies are well designed and look very menacing. They’re much more threatening than most of the enemies encountered in Final Fantasy XIII.
The gameplay can be fun at times and the controls are easy to master. If you don’t feel like fighting up close and personal, you can use the game’s cover system to shoot arrows from afar. This proved to be very helpful as your partner could then defeat enemies from up close. You can also pick up a shield and block arrows and attacks. Not only that but you have access to many magic attacks too that you can upgrade as you progress further into the game. The most helpful magic technique I gratuitously used was the lightning bolt attack – it can be very helpful in killing off the many enemies that you will face.
As fun as the gameplay can be, it is bogged down by a few glitches. There was one time I was supposed to light a purple flame using my arrow but the game would not recognise it. I then had to restart the game from the last checkpoint. There are several times the game doesn’t allow you to shoot your arrows. No matter how many times I pressed R2, my character just stalled and I had to resort to restarting the game yet again.
As there are two main characters in Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, you can opt to be either character during the game’s main campaign. Unfortunately, you can only change character when you reach a checkpoint; the game would have been more fun if you could choose to swap between them at any time.
Of course, you won’t have to worry about swapping characters if you’re playing the game with a mate. There’s a co-op mode that allows you to play online or via old-school split screen. It’s actually easier to play the game by yourself as the AI rarely gets itself killed. Playing with a mate is hard because you only have a limited number of heath vials to revive your partner – once they’re all used up it’s game over.
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is far from a bad game. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the many shooters that are flooding the video game market today. The main characters are very charismatic and the story is engaging. Too bad its average graphics and glitches prevent it from being a more enjoyable experience.
Lasting Appeal: 7.5