Review: Hunted Demon’s Forge

Hunted: Demon’s Forge should be avoided at all costs.  A friend of mine and I had been looking forward to this game ever since we saw the early trailers, but negative reviews caused us to pick it up from a Red Box rather than buy it.  Thank god for that.  The graphics are ugly.  The colors are a visual mess of dark greens and browns, leading to visuals where you can barely make out where your enemies are at times.  The environments are linear, feel copy/pasted at times, and are unnecessarily dark.  There are plenty of tiny obstacles to get your feet stuck on, dead ends that serve no purpose, and NPCs that just loop a single lazy animation until they run away.

Hunted claims to blend hack’n’slash with third person shooting, but it you actually try to use your sword for more than a few seconds you’ll just die because most enemies will just fill you with arrows.  Even if you manage to get within striking distance of an opponent they can just strike back in the middle of your combo and kill you because swords don’t phase them at all aside from chopping off pieces of their health bars.  A clever person might use the shield to block incoming arrows while they approach their enemies, but the game gives them a swift kick between the legs when they realize that shields break after only a handful of encounters.  To make things worse you can’t strafe at all while using your shield, which means that you can only use it to block enemy arrows if you have a straight path to them.  Any slight turn to navigate around obstacles leaves you fully exposed.  All of these factors make melee combat a moronic test of patience and a massive waste of time.

Who doesn't love muddy visuals where everything seems to be the same color?

What about the ranged combat?  The male character starts out with an incredibly slow crossbow that takes a long time to load between shots and only shaves off enough health to kill enemies in 2-3 shots.  This makes ranged combat (the only remaining option) tediously boring.  Picture playing through an entire Gears of War game with only the torque bow, but the bolts don’t explode.  That’s a pretty accurate representation of how not fun it is.  The elf character has a much faster regular bow, so you also get to have all the fun of watching your ally pick off enemies several times faster than you.  Playing as the elf could be a bit more fun, but once you run out of arrows you have to resort to the unbalanced melee combat again.  Even when you have a healthy supply of ammo the combat only consists of auto-locking onto your opponents and shooting them until they’re dead.  At best the game plays like a very slow version of the combat in GTAIV, but that would be an unfairly positive association to bring forth because at least GTAIV had more to bring to the table when you got past its uninteresting gun fighting.

I could get into the terrible writing, uninteresting characters, shallow RPG elements, glitchy gameplay, “don’t use the whole screen” splitscreen, lack of visible inventory, etc, but why bother?  This game borrows the flaws of several genres while offering few of the actual benefits.  Hunted: Demon’s Forge simply isn’t worth your time or money and should be passed up and forgotten about.  I just feel sort of dirty after playing this, and that’s coming from someone that beat Two Worlds and completed Divinity II.  There are better games to be playing than this, people!


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