Hunted: The Demon's Forge Hands-On - Ranged and Melee Combat, plus Secret Side Quests

We get our hands on this upcoming cover-based hack-and-slash game at QuakeCon 2010.

by

The 15th annual QuakeCon event is under way at the fabulous Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas, Texas, and id Software's parent company, Zenimax Media, has brought several of its other games to the event to show to the press. One of these new games is none other than Hunted: The Demon's Forge, the next game from InXile--a studio that created the 2004 hack-and-slash remake of the classic role-playing game The Bard's Tale, and one that includes developers who worked on the original The Bard's Tale from the 1980s. So although the third-person action game, which pits you against armies of ugly "wargar" (which resemble the ugly orcs of the Lord of the Rings motion pictures) in open fields with various levels of cover, it will also attempt to bring back the classic exploration elements of games like the original Bard's Tale and Wizardry.

This dynamic duo is ready to hack and slash their way to victory.

In our hands-on session, we played through the second level of the game's fourth chapter (there will be six chapters in all), "Aquifer" in the Xbox 360 version of the game. The level took place in the smoldering ruin of a town assaulted by wargar and minotaurs, and in it, we played only as Caddoc, the male half of Hunted's two-character team. The other half of the team, the elf archer E'lara, acted solely as a computer-controlled companion to provide us with backup. As it turns out, both characters can do battle in one of three ways--in melee, with ranged weapons, and with magic spells.

However, E'lara specializes in archery and can zoom in on her targets at a distance but is a poor melee combatant. Caddoc has no zooming ability on his crossbow, but with a boost from one of E'lara's magic spells to "charge" his weapon with electricity, he can fire powerful charged bolts. More importantly, Caddoc is a melee specialist who is best at hacking his foes to bits up-close by using a weak attack and a strong attack to deliver strings of different attacks. While Caddoc's mighty swings can put away most normal enemies, he can also incapacitate others, and then use a bloody, brutal execution attack to finish them off.

In our session, we arrived at the town to find one of the last surviving guards finishing off an incapacitated minotaur before angrily declaring the invaded town as good as lost. Undeterred, our stout adventurers ventured forth into the flaming ruins to find small pockets of wargar charging out to attack us. Without a decent zoom function usable from a distance, Caddoc's crossbow didn't seem nearly as useful as his sword and shield, so we rushed headfirst into battle and chopped up our foes while E'lara hid behind cover to feather our enemies with arrows.

Melee combat is pretty straightforward and seems to work best when opened with a few weak attacks ended with a strong attack or two. Most standard wargar can't take a great deal of punishment, though there are larger variants that carry giant tower shields that can soak up a great deal of punishment. Caddoc also carries his own shield, though it can be destroyed if it soaks up enough damage. Fortunately, he can snag a new one from the corpses of his foes, and he can also snatch up fallen enemies' weapons, such as the giant wargar's mace, which isn't as effective against armored opponents but works great against enemies with shields.

These ugly wargar are no match for Caddoc's three weak attacks followed by a strong attack.

After murdering our enemies in brutal fashion, we encountered a highlighted corpse on which we could use our "deathstone" item--a bauble that lets the heroes speak with the dead and will open the path to many of the game's secrets and side quests. In this case, the corpse belonged to a dead wizard who entreated us to seek out a cursed fireplace, from which we'd find clues about the locations of his scattered bones. Side quests like these will be completely optional but will lead to rewards that are far better than those you'll find playing through the game's main story.

Discussion

37 comments
itchyflop
itchyflop

@ArcZerato!!! ahhhh a devoted Microsoft fan maybe??!!! i'de like to point out that i do in fact agree with you, having owned 3 xbox 360s all of which failed within a year (elite model too !!) great piece of hardware or rushed hardware to make money before SONY released the beast ???!! ps3 has the name SONY which to most yells out quality and reliability, seeing as i haven't had to send my ps3 back or come home to disappointment when i have to re-send my box back to re repaired!! certain aspects of some games are running faster utilising Xenos (Xbox 360) processors compared to the Cell processor PS3!!! but how long would you like to play them for and i know this really frustrates xbox owners but thats what the system does so accept it, its like a game of Russian roulette never knowing if your box will start today!!! With minor frame rate issues and some small visual differences (sharpness mainly) ps3 has longeivity. Not forgetting we have to respect the father of vision Mr gates/steve jobs without these guys i believe we wouldnt have progressed as quickly as we have with computers. Though i do agree totally some games are best suited for microsoft and i have to admit the kinect was a brilliant idea!!, for future gaming with visuals to match ps3 has the edge. :)

ArcZerato
ArcZerato

@itchyflop the xbox versions are always better when comparing multiplatform games. See bayonetta, red dead redemption, mafia 2 and etc... ps3 has only name.

itchyflop
itchyflop

the ps3 is now only showing its raw power, the games are so much better with loads going on and pixels even bill gates would love!!! bye bye xbox and wii!!!

Xx_Hopeless_xX
Xx_Hopeless_xX

Sounds like my kind of game...Can't wait to see how it turns out..

icebox98
icebox98

@Kevin-v, @Waldkrieger and @gentlebrute: guys its one thing to see an the Ad's,the previews etc and another thing wen u play the realthing and finally get to judge it by your own taste.All of u sound convincing at this moment but lets all wait for a demo or some after release comments or if u ain't the patient type lets pre order this to finally get to know how will really rate it( make sure u buy it were they can refund u if it ain't awsome enough. but in the mean time this looks awsome!

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Waldkrieger -- Previews may occasionally mention highlights and quirks, but they are not meant to evaluate. These builds are a work in progress. Evaluating an in-progress game months or years before its release based on 30 minutes or less of playtime would be disingenuous, because the work--and our evaluation--may not reflect the quality of the final product. Previews are primarily informational and not meant to evaluate an unfinished work; reviews are intended to evaluate and act as a buyer's guide for consumers considering a purchase of a final product. If you are looking for an opinion on a game's quality, a preview is not where you will find it, by very nature.

marcopolo426
marcopolo426

@Waldkrieger, Its not cowardly reporting but being sensible. At the end of the day, the game is not finished and its against journalistic etiquette to judge it before playing the full game. If you really want to know what the game is all about (in someone else's view point of course), wait for the full review after the game is released. In any case if you read between the lines of this 'Hands On' you can pick up subtle gameplay innovations, story presentation arc etc. So why not form your own opinion which all reviews, hands on, previews etc. are meant to encourage rather than waiting for some reporter to tell you whats what?

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

@gentlebrute Enjoy your gliches and control problems. Because with your mentality, they wont even be mentioned in previews. The people want to hear about these things, they want to know what they are possibly getting themselves into. It is called constructive criticism. I do not want to read about "Joe goes here and hits this box to get from point A to Point B with trees and small cars in the way". I want to hear about the gameplay and how well things work in the game. What things might need work, and the reporters opinion on it. But, the "Hands On" does not do that. It is weak cowardly reporting. Kane and Lynch 2 for example: Had it mentioned opinions and criticism in the "Hands On" report they might have fixed issues (the lackluster controls for one) before the final product was released, but it was not. This is exactly what I am talking about. You simply do not get it. We shall agree to disagree.

gentlebrute
gentlebrute

@waldkrieger: And what makes you think that they don't get constructive feedback from the journalists who try out their games? It has ZERO benefits to have problems and bugs published when most of them are ironed out during development. Do some end up in the final product? Sure. The only hands-on that point out glaring issues are ones covering games that are pretty much finished, not for a game that has TBA for its release date.

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

@gentlebrute News flash!!! If the developers read a properly made "Hands On" they could see what others thought, complaints or ideas, and make improvements to things mentioned. What a concept heh? I have read countless previews of games that mention glitches and control issues which still remain in the finished product. Get a clue yourself.

Wolf-5
Wolf-5

Looks Good... gotta see more on this one!

mdboomer
mdboomer

Original Bard's Tale developers, awesome lets get out the grid paper and crawl through some dungeons. Thank god for post 1980's auto mapping!!!

gentlebrute
gentlebrute

@Waldkrieger: What, you think this game is already finished and whatever issues plague it will be there when you finally go pick it up? Of course they're not going to report on something that's likely to change. It's a freaking work-in-progress! Get a clue please.

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

As usual, not one mention of glitches, control issues, or anything at all telling us what we REALLY want to know >>> Does it play well. I have grown to HATE Gamespots "Hands On" reports. It is weak and lackluster reporting.

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Barighm
Barighm

The studio behind the Bard's Tale remake? Urge to play this game...dropping...

ChemicalsBoy
ChemicalsBoy

This genre usually plays best with some amount of character creation or customization (champions of norrath, baldur's gate, demon's souls too I suppose), instead of just pegging you as one of two characters (just sayin') but I won't judge until I get more insight

jimgray1066
jimgray1066

I read somewhere this will not have split screen. Gears of War is an okay game, I have played 1 & 2 through multiple times becasue of split screen. This looks like a fantasy Gears of War, which makes me want to jump for joy. No couch co op makes my heart hurt.

ermus
ermus

Not so very secret anymore :p

DEATH775
DEATH775

I'm definitely getting this.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Sounds cool. ill be following this love me some rpgs..Man if this comes out next year..Looks like 2011 could be the rpg year..

Cobra5
Cobra5

Me and my girlfriend have been waiting FOREVER for a good co-op RPG. The last one we've had fun playing was Baldur's Gate 2 (10 years ago...).

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

My wife and I are waiting on a release date for this game. I doubt it's going to be to "everyone's" tastes, but I know for a fact a lot of us will enjoy this. Really looking forward to it

Buzduganjr
Buzduganjr

it looks like will be an interesting game :D

ironcreed
ironcreed

Really digging this game. It is like a dark Golden Axe.

assasin887
assasin887

what the heII does being highlighted have to do with anything?????????

jad206
jad206

How secret can they be if the person is highlighted? :l

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I am interested but I will be suprised if the combat is very rewarding.

ivanfred
ivanfred

"we encountered a highlighted corpse on which we could use our "deathstone" item--a bauble that lets the heroes speak with the dead, and will open the path to much of the game's secrets and side-quests." I find this to be very interesting.