Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
It’d be easy to dismiss Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, the upcoming action-RPG from inXile Entertainment, as just ‘Gears Of Warcraft’. After all, it does seem an impromptu mash-up between a cover based shooter and fantasy hack-and-slasher – and initially it’s hard to see how the concepts mesh. But spending some time with Hunted at Gamescom, we discovered how its co-op concept is being fleshed out.
In Hunted you control two warriors in a mixture of Gears Of War-style ranged combat and hack-and-slash close-up action: either the burly male fighter Caddoc, who wields various melee weapons with devastating effect, or the skimpily dressed but deadly – aren’t they always? – female warrior E’lara, with her bow. There’s a very strong focus on co-operative play as you battle the orcs, skeletal warriors and other nasties of this dark fantasy world, with both players needing to back each other up, cleverly flank enemies and use abilities in tandem in a simple-to-grasp combat system. The RPG element is equally straightforward, with weapons slowly deteriorating over time and needing to be replaced with weapons in the field.
As well as hitting enemies at range with bowfire, E’lara can freeze them with magic attacks or status buff her partner so that Caddoc can charge in and smash them apart, and should either fall in battle to the ravaging hordes – easy to do if your buddy isn’t watching your back – the game allows you to magically revive them so long as they’re in sight. It’s a clever feature that should cut down on frustrated cries for help when you play with a friend online.
But it isn’t all just about fast-paced and bloody combat, with a smattering of puzzles added to the mix: we watched the pair hunt for switches that needed to be hit to drain a waterlogged cave. What we liked about Hunted was its fun flow of co-op combat, with both E’lara and Caddoc exchanging sardonic banter, and that, despite its slightly bland fantasy looks, is what makes it stand out. Just how well that feeling will translate into a single-player experience worries us slightly, but for now it’s looking like a promising and slightly different two-player experience.