by Davneet Minhas
reviewed on PC
Hack and Slash and Hack and Slash and Hack and Slash
Anyway, appearance aside, E’lara prefers the use of a bow. Playing as her is exactly like playing Gears of War. You run to cover, pop-up, and fire arrows as quickly as bullets from a machine gun. It is so derivative it’s absurd.
Playing as Caddoc offers something slightly different. He favors an oversized melee weapon and a shield, so you can hack and slash and block. He also carries a crossbow, and E’lara can equip a small melee weapon, but neither is proficient with their alternates. Best to stick with what’s prescribed. Unfortunately, that variety in the two characters is negated by wave after wave of the exact same enemy attacking you, from the beginning of the game to the end. It quickly becomes tiresome, executing the same attacks over and over again: Block, light attack, light attack, heavy attack; block, light attack, light attack, heavy attack. Or, as E’lara, duck behind cover, fire, fire, fire; duck, fire, fire, fire.
Of course, as I alluded to before, playing with a friend is slightly better, not only because everything done with a friend is at least slightly better, but also because you can coordinate special attacks with your partner. Your buddy, as E’lara, can freeze baddies with a spell, and you, Caddock, can then smash them into little icy pieces. Or, your partner-turned-Caddock can suspend enemies with a whirlwind while you, the sexy elf, fill them with arrows.
But still, the game is exhaustingly repetitive. And even worse: the difficulty seems to increase exponentially when playing co-op. Enemies can kill you with a few small hits, so there is little room for error, and levels are quite long with too few checkpoints. The result: you and your buddy will end up replaying many sequences over and over again, increasing the game’s repetitive nature. Maybe I should retract my “Do not play Hunted alone” assertion. The game may, in fact, be more relentless with a partner. But without a partner, how will you pull off those tandem attacks? Regardless of how you play, the game mostly fluctuates between boring and frustrating and is always repetitive. Moments of satisfaction and glee are much too rare here.
Nothing to Collect Here
Oh, there is loot too, but it’s a strange sort of loot, loot devoid of any satisfaction. Smash a weapon rack and a shiny new weapon will pop out. But when you regard it, most of the time you will see it is worse than what you are already carrying. So, you throw it into your inventory to sell later on, right? No, not right. There is no inventory. The weapon just lies there, on the ground. The majority of weapons you find serve absolutely no purpose. Why even include them in the game?
Occasionally you will come across a magical weapon that can do tremendous amounts of damage, but such weapons have a limited number of charges. When all used up, the no-longer-magical sword or bow is terribly inadequate and leaves you vulnerable until you can find something more effective. Thankfully, this problem is alleviated later in the game when you can potentially unlock an extra weapon slot. But really, the only piece of equipment you’re ever excited to see is a shield. Shields have limited hit points; the more you block, the faster your shield degenerates and eventually breaks. So, as Caddoc, you are always on the lookout for a better one.
More Story But No More Game, Please
The best part about Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, and really the only interesting part, is the banter between E’lara and Caddoc. During battles, after battles, while climbing long flights of stairs the two constantly jab each other. I particularly enjoyed E’lara teasing Caddoc about his silly fear of bugs and his old age, despite being twice as old as him. Their back-and-forth conveys a strong familiarity, a long and eventful history together. And the voice acting is excellent. While the game’s story isn’t particularly engaging or memorable, E’lara and Caddoc’s repartee intrigued me. I want to learn more about their background together, about previous adventures.
But I would prefer these preceding stories in movie form. Comic books would work too. Just not another game. I have no interest in playing Hunted Again: The Second Demon’s Forge. The first was far too repetitive and just bland.
E'lara and Caddoc are full of wit.
Uninspired, repetitive combat; co-op on PC is completely broken.