Best I can tell, the anti-drug message involved stabbing it until it went away. Just like real life.

Growing up, I’ve watched most friends drift away from this fictional medium for the most part. Whether it’s not having a life or perhaps simply unnecessary stubbornness, I play more games nowadays then most people I know. Not only that, but I play games to the end, whereas most people would put down the controller and return the game. In my experience however, playing to the end has a unique payoff, a sort of fulfillment, however worthless it might be to others.

Screw you I have... pixelated memories?

Going into this game, I was mildly intrigued. What I had thought was just another hackn’slash fantasy turned out to be a unique take on the third-person shooter genre. It’s by no means polished enough to stand up to some of the more auspicious titles around, but it conveys its story well and keeps itself contained admirably while providing smooth and solid gameplay.

The story has you playing as one of two mercenaries, I’Lara the strategically-clothed elf with a love for explosions and Caddoc the oddly thoughful berserker human. Giving them both just enough of a background to get started, the story takes off with the both of them being hired to rescue some undead goth girl with an oddly mundane origin. Unsurprise ensued. At least it has a nice anti-drug message? :3 Still, I can’t tell whether or not I should applaud inXile for getting most of the backstory across in-game through the corpses you interrogate… while the banter between Caddoc did serve to flesh out the world rather well, the plot honestly felt like a side-story to what was honestly just two buddies trying to increase their k/d ratio.

Some of the dead people are more interesting to talk to than others

Aside from the necessarily modern spin on fantasy humor that is the game’s story, there is of course the graphics, which visually flesh out the story. Ultimately I was left to believe that this world is some kind of medieval Sera, and couldn’t help but wish for a trusty chainsaw bayonet. While not quite up to par of some games that it clearly takes influence from, the game is fairly pretty (and I’Lara’s physics are a nice touch I suppose), though close inspection will reveal a rough edge to most everything.

The Unreal Engine is actually fairly easy to pick out in any game it is used in. Whether it’s the physics of objects and bodies within the game world or the graphics of the environments loading at the last minute, the thing that really shows the influence of the engine is the gameplay. The fact that the game, which alternates between sword-fighting and cover-based shooting, does so in such a smooth manner is probably due to the influence of the unreal engine.
Yes, playing this game should remind some players of a the overblown curbstomp that is Gears, albeit with an enhanced emphasis on cooperation. Far from simply pointing and shooting, you have the option to annihilate your foes with bows, magic, and assorted sharp objects. The key is that all combat can be augmented by your partner at almost any time. Add to that the segmented co-op profiles and the experience can get interesting. In my experience any game that utilizes co-op well is good. This game, while most assuredly a suggested rental title, is very fun to play with friends. This is the most important influence it gets from Gears of War. The fact that the combat is simple, fluid and fun. There’s also the option to play as a half-naked elf hottie, but I have a feeling people will have already discovered that by the time they pop in the disc.

Remember, it's not slutty, just strategically placed.

Rounding out things is the sound. While the music is standard fantasy fanfare, the voices are actually done well. The problem lies with the character lines, which are a tad uninspired. I’ve often thought of not including a sound aspect in most reviews, as for the most part I really have very little to say about the sound unless the soundtrack or voice acting “grabs me”.

IN CONCLUSIONNESS (that’s not even a word)

Strawberries: A healthy of any spelunking lifestyle

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is straightforward and for the most part enjoyable. It’s not perfect, but it gets the point across well despite the general roughness. I would have to say that anyone looking for a unique co-op experience should definitely check it out, or even someone just looking for a unique take on the fantasy genre.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge was developed by inXile entertainment. The game also makes little to no mention of an actual forge. Ah well, maybe it’ll show up in the sequel.