Hunter or Hunted?
These kinds of games always put people on the fence, we’ve been playing it single player and cooperatively over the last few days and finally we’re ready to share with you, what we think. Whilst everyone else is swannin’ around E3 that is! Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is a good game, you’ll find better because some of the flaws take away from the experience and it feels like a throwback at times, to older games of the genre. However, the bottom line is that the game’s fun and with a friend it’s even better.Story
In Hunted a pair of mercenaries, E’lara (the last elf of her kind) and Caddoc (a thoughtful human warrior) are set upon a crazy quest to rescue villagers from an invading force, known as the Wargar. Think like goblins from Lord of the Rings and give them some crazy Hellraiser aesthetic. Along the way they find out that things are more interesting than they first assumed and fantasy hijinks ensue. It’s not a bad story, but it is clichéd. However what really sets Hunted apart are Caddoc and E’lara.
Yes she might be a bit scantily clad, but she’s a total professional and ready for a fight. Caddoc is more a thinker and it’s the relationship between these pair that makes a far more interesting journey than the main story itself. Gameplay
Hunted is basically a fantasy Gears of War experience, there’s cover, cover mantling, cover shooting and both characters are equipped with a ranged weapon and a melee variant. E’lara is the archer and Caddoc is the melee guy. Later on you can unlock a second weapon slot and keep two weapons of your primary type in your inventory. All of this unlocking is done by killing monsters and finding secret areas, eventually you’ll begin to upgrade the core elements of your character, increase their health and mana, the amount of vials they can carry and so on. This approach makes it far more interesting than levelling up via experience points and keeps you in the action.
Caddoc and E’lara can find secondary weapons on their adventures as well as equipping armour and shields, these often degrade over time and need to be replaced. Magical weapons have a spell effect bound into them that only lasts a short while and once it’s done the weapon defaults to the base damage compared to the spell damage which is lower. Then it’s time to smash a weapon rack and find a new weapon pretty quickly. Fortunately these weapon racks are hidden all over the various large levels.
Depending on which character smashes the rack depends upon the weapon released as well.
Caddoc and E’lara can cast weapon and battle magic, these two types of spells are useful and some of them can be powered up to battle charge your ally. The AI is very good at using battle charge magic once you’ve unlocked it for single player and often times the use perfectly when you just about need it in a tight spot. There are numerous battle magic spells, such as one that lifts your enemies skyward allowing E’lara to pepper them with bow shots. One that creates a Sigil of Pain on the floor that damages the enemy over time and in E’lara’s case – her weapon magic can transform her arrows into ice, fire or armour breaking shots. These skills are upgraded via hidden crystals you discover as you delve deeper into the various environments and levels.
The whole thing plays well enough in cooperative single player with the AI and there’s a lot of teamwork opportunity, if you or your partner go down you can toss a revive vial their way and get them back up. If you have unlocked it, a double battle charge will release a spell link that damages the enemies and forms a spell bond between the two characters. The levels are pretty big and there are numerous hidden secrets to find, magical weapons to uncover and gold to collect – gold is your ticket to the Crucible Map Creator and the more you have, the more complex maps you can create to play/share and enjoy.
Combat is pretty satisfying as both characters and its visceral enough; you need to become adept at blocking and dodging for some of the fights since the game will throw staggered waves of enemies at you from time to time. It’s very rinse/repeat but as I’m fond of saying, so are most shooters and that includes the blockbuster style Call of Duty games at their core design. Caddoc cracks skulls and E’lara lets the arrows fly, there are several kinds of bows to suit her style as well – fast bows let arrows go at an insane rate and are good for from the hip shooting, medium bows are the same and slow bows let you zoom in to get a better shot.
If you’re in melee with either character, learn the value of a well placed shield block and you’ll survive a lot longer.
With its mix of cooperative based play, that works fairly well overall and the myriad of secrets and things to find, Hunted works well as a game in single player. The best experience is in multiplayer and we’ll cover that in a short while.
The game uses checkpoint based saves.