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Demon Hunting: First Impressions From The Demon's Forge

A quest or a fantasy?

Fantasy is big at the moment. Skyrim is looming over the distant horizon and Dragon Age and Witcher sequels are memorably recent on shelves while Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale invades the digital download space with a hefty axe and a healing draught. So, will inXile’s Bethesda published action RPG add something to the healthy market for fantasy or is it destined to be an also ran by the time the next Elder Scrolls epic arrives?

The game eschews the almost standard character creation process, instead preferring to set you into a tighter narrative. Doubtless, this is a means to integrate the plot, voice work and interaction more wholeheartedly into the cooperative nature of the game. Cooperative play is a big selling point for Hunted: The Demon’s Forge with split screen and online play encouraged.


E'lara definitely doesn't want to do much jumping in that outfit.
The two protagonists are Caddoc and E’lara, a shaven-headed human and a lithe (and very scantily clad) elf. Both have melée weapons in the shape of swords and shields which can be upgraded by pillaging your fallen foes but each has a ranged weapon too, be it crossbow or double-curved bow. Caddoc is better at smashing stuff close up and E’lara is more successful at range. Magic makes an appearance too, with spells granted via character upgrades.

The game begins with Caddoc’s haunted dreams of a demon and a quest. He wakes and explains it to his companion, who mocks him lightheartedly for his overactive imagination. Pretty soon, elements of the dream start to become a reality and these two mercenaries are plunged into a living nightmare.

The early stages of the game hold your hand through a fairly standard tutorial in which you have to dispatch enemies in various ways, revive your companion and solve an incidental quest to earn an enchanted weapon.

These incidental quests will arise at times through what is, at least in its early stages, a completely linear, dungeon-crawling experience. You learn of them by way of “Deathstones” and corpses that you encounter on the way and it’s possible to fail the quest by continuing too far along the linear path you’re on so that return is impossible. They seem to be intended to add some atmosphere and depth to the gameplay but the first one was nothing more than a sort of puzzle tutorial. That’s likely to change as the game stops holding my hand and leaves me alone with the monsters though.


Cooperative face-kickery is the order of the day.
The facial animations are slightly rough, anti-aliasing (on PS3, at least) is a little hit and miss and there’s plenty of fade-in on the textures but when everything is just right, Hunted is capable of looking quite becoming.

It plays in quite a similar way to Fable, with a kind of hack-and-slash take on the combat side of what makes up an action RPG. There’s a cover system in there too which seems like it will be imperative for later areas as things get a little more taxing.

As for the RPG elements, those are going to require quite a lot more play time before they start to manifest in a meaningful way but there is a levelling system and your equipment has stats to represent its effectiveness. Skills can be levelled up using crystals collected along the way and various areas of your skillset can be upgraded. It’s not as intricate or involved as old school PC RPGs but there seems to be enough depth to it that you should be able to have some variation on multiple play throughs, at least in the early stages.

The Crucible level editor is sure to increase longevity too, with its simple system for creating wave-based dungeons and whole interlinked arenas that can be altered to allow multiple weapon loadouts and enemy types, there should be a reasonable amount of scope for variation in the downloadable levels made by others and in your own creations.

In truth, it’s a fairly familiar experience to anyone who enjoys this kind of hack-and-slash action RPG and although the PS3 version I’ve had a brief time with isn’t the most beautiful game (I imagine the PC version would be prettier), the narrative has been engaging enough to make me want to continue along with these two friends on their demon-guided quest.

We’ll have a full review as soon as we can.

14 Comments
  1. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    looks like an enjoyable game from what i’ve seen of it.
    do you know if you can choose who to play as?

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:14.
    • Akuar
      Member
      Since: Jul 2010

      I heard that at certain checkpoints one can actually swap characters with your partner, so ,yes.

      Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:20.
    • OneShotWook
      Member
      Since: Jun 2010

      From what i’ve read Haz you can stipulate what character you wish to join with in the multiplayer options before searching.

      Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:21.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      In single player, there are little plinths placed through the areas where you can switch between characters so you are controlling the right one for upcoming puzzles but it’s not an option you make to begin with.
      Co-op, you obviously get a choice :)

      Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:27.
  2. Amphlett
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    I checked out a couple of videos for this game yesterday, prompted by your competition for a free copy. I wasn’t impressed with what I saw, either technically or from a gameplay viewpoint, hence I didn’t bother entering the competition and leaving it to others who may be more interested in this type of game.

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:14.
  3. OneShotWook
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    Thanks for the info,games sounding more and more interesting.I’m interested in seeing if Caddoc can two hand a weapon,is that a possibility from your experience?

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:18.
  4. OneShotWook
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    Ah another question i had was if there was to be armour appearance changes in the loot?most of the vids i’ve seen show the same outfits.

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:23.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      No apparel changes yet but I only played through the prologue (and a little bit!) for the purposes of this article. They might come later or they might not.
      Caddoc carries a shield all the time so no two handing yet… again, that might change later.
      Interestingly, the sword he has to start with is a “Bastard sword” which I recently learned is a hand-and-a-half sword, not quite a full two-hander but larger than a single-handed sword

      Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:32.
      • OneShotWook
        Member
        Since: Jun 2010

        Thanks for the info Colossal,hm maybe he can switch it up later like Demons Souls.
        Glad you posted this anyways,hard to find a good source of info for this game as of yet.

        Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 10:06.
  5. R4U Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Really like the look of this game! I can imagine my Wife and I playing this co-op. Hopefully I win today’s comp as I can’t really afford a copy of my own after buying a 3DS last week lol

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:35.
  6. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    Now i am really hoping that i win the comp for a copy of this.

    This sounds like something that i can get addicted to for a while. I just hope it is not filled with bugs given Beth’s history. This sounds like a 8-9/10.

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:48.
  7. SpikeyMikey23
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Nice read CB, I know its the kind of game the mrs would love which is why I asked for the xbox version should my luck continue. We can both play it then :)

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 09:54.
  8. Crazy_Del
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Here’s hoping for a win competition on this game!
    (fingers crossed) lol
    Great read indeed Peter.

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 10:28.
  9. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    Amazing.

    Comment posted on 02/06/2011 at 21:05.

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