Hunted: The Demon's Forge Hands-On Preview

Hunted: The Demon's Forge

The recent trend of RPGs making the shift to more action-oriented play styles doesn’t apply only to the first-person perspective. Bethesda Softworks’ and inXile’s Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is taking the unique route, as an over-the-shoulder third-person dungeon-crawler… and it’s built for cooperative play.

The game is a dark fantasy where barbarian Caddoc and ranger E’lara must work together to slay leagues of undead and other, equally nasty foes in a campaign that promises to be driven by a twisted, mysterious story. The inXile representative showing off Hunted explained that the team hopes to surprise players with certain aspects of the story, a very minor example being the bloodthirsty nature of E’lara in contrast to Caddoc’s more tempered personality.

As in the Gears of War franchise, of which Hunted‘s partially cover-based play is reminiscent, cooperation is very important in Hunted, especially when considering the combat dynamics inherent to a blade- and bowman (bow-woman) team. Players will want to use each character’s specific talents in synergy with one another in order to most successfully clear out the waves of enemies the game will throw at them, and will be able to swap roles at any of the mid-level change points throughout the game. And if you’re short on friends, single-player mode will offer up an AI-controlled partner, although this particular demo didn’t give us any idea of how that AI might perform.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge

"Co-op at a distance" is a design philosophy the team has focused on, and it comes into play in a variety of ways. Gears-age players have grown accustomed to running over to their fallen comrades to help them get back into the game, or to be close when administering health boosts or buffs, but Hunted throws that idea out the window and gives players the ability to hurl healing potions and battle-charge spells at their partners from across the arena, thus keeping them within each other’s reach even when split up. The game also provides natural opportunities for long-range cooperative gameplay with things like stationary ballistas, E’lara’s ice arrows, and Caddoc’s very entertaining shield-bash rush attack.

Not only will Hunted‘s core play mechanics remind players of Gears of War, but inXile team members are not shy about relating their game’s level design and organization to the popular shooter, either. What they described and what the demo seemed to imply was that the game will feature less of a steady population of foes and more of a Gears-style, point-to-point combat arrangement. Players will reach trigger points as they play, initiating streams of enemies that will have to be cleared before moving on to the next location. Conversely, other parts of the game encourage branching from the main path and doing a bit more of the exploration that can be found in traditional dungeon crawlers, often at the advice of the game world’s riddle-loving "magic mouth" stone statues.

Combining Gears-of-War-like design with the fantasy dungeon crawler genre is very interesting and enjoyable, judging from what we played at this year’s E3. Hunted: The Demon’s Forge seems like it will definitely be worth a look when it arrives early next year on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.