Hunted: The Demon's Forge Preview

We team up for some good ol' fantasy action adventure in this upcoming cooperative game from InXile.

For those of you who have been stating your disapproval for the lack of split-screen multiplayer, guess what? Hunted: The Demon's Forge will have split-screen multiplayer. The entire game is designed around cooperative play with a friend or AI counterpart, so the addition of split-screen is a welcome one. We didn't actually get to play split-screen, however (we just saw it on the menu); but during our recent meeting with Bethesda, we were able to spend some time playing through the tutorial and partnered up with a developer from InXile for some dungeon-crawling action.

Play as E'lara if you prefer a third-person shooter experience.

Described as a cover-based hack-and-slash or third-person shooter--depending on who you're playing as--Hunted is an action adventure that encourages cooperative exploration with lots of combat included. The story follows a pair of mercenaries: the more serious, mace-wielding Caddoc; and the sassy, silver-haired elf, E'lara. The tutorial felt familiar, especially because it was essentially the demo we've seen from last year. Although, it did give us a chance to play as either Caddoc or E'lara to see which one we preferred. Depending on your play style, Caddoc is your traditional brute that can get up close and melee. He's got a shield and a big club or axe, so you're pretty much set as long as you keep mashing those buttons. E'lara requires a bit more finesse to play as because her melee weapons are not as strong as Caddoc's weapons so she relies heavily on her bow. As E'lara, it will feel more like a third-person shooter, with limited ammo and everything. There are pick-ups and weapons along the way, but knowing that you can't just randomly fire one arrow after another will force you to come up with some kind of tactic. We preferred playing as Caddoc, mainly because he can take a beating when swarmed by enemies, whereas E'lara needed a more careful approach.

The cooperative play in the game has been described as "co-op at a distance," meaning that you don't necessarily have to be right next to the other person at all times. If you ever find yourself lost, you can push down on the left stick to bring up a blue light that will point you in the right direction. Depending on the situation, sometimes Caddoc is going to have to take the brunt of the assault, especially against heavily armed undead creatures that would make short work of E'lara. When one person goes down, the other has a chance to revive him or her. You can't carry multiple healing items, so you'll have to keep an eye out for potions and your health. There's no inventory to manage either, so when you come across something nice, take it and move forward.

It takes teamwork to solve the puzzles that you'll encounter, and the ones that we came across basically involved lighting every brazier and exploring all the dark corners. We should probably give E'lara more of a chance, as Caddoc's hack-and-slash routine can get repetitive. Luckily, there are checkpoints throughout the game where you can swap roles. Hunted: The Demon's Forge looks to be a solid cooperative experience if you've been itching to do some dungeon-crawling with a partner. For more information on the game, feel free to check out our previous previews here. We're looking forward to more fantasy action when the game ships on June 1.

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Discussion

58 comments
EmAniMage
EmAniMage

sounds... interesting. I will be keeping my eye on this one :)

xbibax
xbibax

I have no idea about this game,so I'll wait until it's released,and for the walkthroughs.

Sydrum
Sydrum

@geel2w thx for the update mate, your preview restored all of the hope I've lost thinking this game to be pure hack'n slash with co-op.

ReaverGod666
ReaverGod666

Looks pretty good. I'm a big fan of Bethesda games so I'll probably get this one. I doubt I'll use the co-op very much though (I'm not into partnering up that much) but I think its a pretty good feature to include.

dellis66
dellis66

preset classes are fine but character customization (looks, sex, etc.) is a must

Mcortijo01
Mcortijo01

Anybody know if this will have online co-op?

j040pl7
j040pl7

ooo i didint know this was a co-op. this should be nice if they make it around the abilities of the 2 characters.

djamaa
djamaa

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

Kerethos
Kerethos

Keeping an eye on this game, as I do love a good co-op experience. Still think they've got too little clothes and armor on, but I suppose that might change as you progress through the game.

geelw
geelw

Also, @felisele: inXile is made up of a bunch of RPG veterans who've made other games BESIDES The Bard's Tale remake (maybe do some research before you slam people who bust their asses in the industry for longer than some of you have been alive). Additionally, just because YOU didn't like that game doesn;t mean that it wasn't a decent game. Yeah, yeah, it wasn't a "real" BT game like the classics, but it never pretended to be. That and the PC version had ALL of the old games included in the box, so it's not as if they pretended those old titles NEVER existed.

geelw
geelw

Part deux: In one of the maps, you NEED to learn quickly how to take out enemies from all ranges, as you'll have archers in the distance, a ballista of sorts and fast-moving armed skeletons on your ass in seconds. There was one "boss" encounter that wasn't a fight at all, but a QTE that required Caddoc to push a column to break a wall before the boss attacked (I think that ugly-looking thing will be fought later on, but it was a nice preview of what some of the bigger monsters will look like). There's more, but I'm saving that for my blog. I really liked what I saw and played and I think there are a lot of gamers who'll want in on the fun, period. For the haters... I'd say at least RENT the damn game before you trash it based on an incomplete preview or the impressions of jaded writers on other sites. I think the BIG mistake is the "shooter" label - this is more of an action/RPG that forces you to think fast and act faster. Yeah, it has a "cover" mechanic (and if you're not using cover here, you'll die over and over, trust me), but it's NOT Gears of War, Kill Switch, Mass Effect 2 or whatever other cover-based shooter du jour is in your head. Co-op is great and requires teamwork and focus, as the AI is FIERCE and comes at you from all sides. The game can be a bit on the tough side because it's not all about spamming potions and over-buffing then running up to a boss and getting hit in the face 200 times as you hack away until it drops dead.

geelw
geelw

Er... why are these previews so short and non-helpful? I also played the game at the NYC event and here's the real rundown. Not mentioned: You can get common to rare random drops from bashing weapons racks in the levels, as part of a quest reward (hell, one of the first items you get is a nice axe with a freeze damage bonus) or as item drops from killing enemies. You can carry two sets of weapons (melee and ranged). E'lara CAN use a damn sword and her archery can save you in some spots. Inventory isn't needed because the game is trying for a sort of "realism" in forcing you to use what you can carry, NOT shuffling through 200 swords in an invisible bag. Sure, I miss that (and I see a lot of you complaining about it here) but I actually appreciated the developer breaking a few of the old set in stone "rules" and making me as a player USE the weapons at hand or see what an enemy drops when you kill it. It's actually nice that a LOT of enemy drops are junk weapons, as what would you EXPECT a skeleton to be carrying? Anyway, you can purchase/upgrade spells and hotkey them to the D-pad before hopping into battle. Elara is weaker at melee attacks, BUT not useless at all if she gets a decent blade and mixes in spells. The game isn't a mindless dungeon hack at all, as you're just going to die if you rush in swinging... (TBC)...

feliscele
feliscele

Sadly, I have a very bad feeling about this game, considering the only other console game inXile has developed was The Bards Tale.

Charliesix
Charliesix

Joystiq's preview of this game says the game is pretty crappy. But I'm still hoping for the best. I like how they are trying to meld two games into one: shooter and action slasher. It's certainly a fresh approach!!!

buft
buft

@Sixshooter13 you're right that was really vague, hardly a preview at all. the game certainly seems like it would be my cup of tea but i would really love to know more

Sixshooter13
Sixshooter13

This was a vague preview. This game hasn't had much coverage. I am interested in it though. I'm going to keep up with this one.

zombiechopper
zombiechopper

Looking forward to this, it'll be great to play through twice, once as each character. Hopefully it'll be better than the crappy PoP. If it does well it could herald a new era of split-screen co-op.....

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Although, this game appears interesting, it still has a lot to do to put it on my list of games. But I am still keeping an open mind on this one.

luckylogan
luckylogan

This is a perfect example of a game that could copy Demon's Souls deep combat and really benefit from it. I hope it is not just hack-n-slash. Unfortunately, lack of inventory means lack of variety in combat styles. I have very low expectations from this one.

Imakuleus
Imakuleus

Excellent. The technology is there. I ,for one, will always have my eye open for split screen co op games and /or turned based games to accomodate hotseat.

TheMacbeths
TheMacbeths

@majere613 I have the same feeling. It would be nice if E'lara, being an elf, could use some magic spells. Playing all the way through with the same bow and arrows can get as repetitive as Caddoc's hack-and-slash routine, I guess.

Black_Adder_
Black_Adder_

I'm not sure I'll get much dungeon-crawling with a partner because it sometimes seems that having help from AI is better than to try and play together with another human being, but I am waiting for this game. Might be way better than Fallout 3. Also waiting on how the new Elder Scrolls will turn out - Bethesda's original game also was better than their effort with Fallout franchise.

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

Another point I had noticed in the advert running for this game... have you SEEN the SIZE of some of the bosses? If there's one thing I enjoy, it's a massive boss fight. Especially in Co-op. Sounds like a strange thing to compare, but the "Sledge" boss fight in Borderlands is a great example. There was utter CHAOS in my living room the first (and second actually) time we fought that guy... I'm hoping for a LOT of moments like that in this game. and Ideally, a system link option also. Longlivity is important to me too. I would like to see a re-generation aspect to enemies in Hunted. Ie, Unlike say, Dragon Age, where once an area is cleared and bad guys have been hacked up, it usually stays cleared and the enemies dead. It would be nice to be able to go back to dungeons / areas and have a whole new bunch of guys to engage (ie, Oblivion etc)

omidsaint
omidsaint

i havent any hope for this game but i wish it becomes good game

majere613
majere613

This increasingly feels to me like a fantasy version of RE5. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

poovannaorcbane
poovannaorcbane

sad that its not an rpg :( and doesnt have inventory management either :(

method115
method115

Also I heard they werent going to do split screen coop for this game until the fans cried out for it. Unless something is drastically wrong with this game they've basically guaranteed a first day buy.

monkeypants
monkeypants

They need to stop calling it a "dungeon crawl". That's the devs tagline, they use that description in every interview it seems - and it implies a loot-based rpg, a la diablo, which this is very much not. Not that the game doesn't look great for what it is. It does. I can just see hardcore rpg'ers picking it up having seen the "dungeon crawl" description, coupled with some footage, and think they're gettin' a Gears of War/Diablo hybrid, and end up just gettin' Gears of War with bows and arrows.

method115
method115

I just got my GF into gaming and it's been the greatest thing I've done since discovering porn on the internet. It took 8 years of hard work and I did it....anyways my point she'll love this type of game. We had a blast in borderlands.

witchersanu
witchersanu

game play would be awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

kitty
kitty moderator

Can't wait for this game. I've been keeping a close watch on it, since mid last year.

Lastbullet777
Lastbullet777

i would prefer 2 watch a real gameplay, but it looks cool

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

I don't know, I'll need a demo to make sure.

OverlordEX
OverlordEX

Looks like it might be pretty fun, maybe I'll ask for it for my birthday...

CEMETARY_GATESx
CEMETARY_GATESx

This preview seemed a bit flat and lame. No detailed description of combat, environments, or plot. This game unfortunatley looks like a flop waiting to happen. I hope I'm wrong because I would love a good co op fantasy game but I don't think this is it.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

It sounds interesting, I'll wait until I can see some real gameplay and not just a trailer.

Allan_X
Allan_X

I mean, I thought we'd grown beyond all that "Ook, ook, man crush and stab, woman hide and plink!" stuff. These days, when given the opportunity to customize their classes and characters, players are just as likely to create fragile mage/rogue dudes as they are to make burly, axe-wielding amazons. Don't give me that fixed class stuff; it's just too cliched.

Allan_X
Allan_X

If there's one thing I'm sick of, it's class restrictions on Action-RPG characters. If you want to be the one with the bow, you gotta play as a chick. If you want to be the one with the sword, you gotta play as a guy. How offensively stereotypical can you get?

Decessus
Decessus

@sieg6529 I get what your saying. I'm split on the matter. On the one hand, I agree that Bethesda should demand a certain level of quality, but I also think it's good that Bethesda publishes games from developers that may not be as well known or as well funded. I think this Hunted game is a good example of that. I've never heard of InXile before.

No_SuRReNDeR
No_SuRReNDeR

This game had me at the sinfully clad assassin girl pic...I dont even care if it sucks I'm buying it.

hayden4
hayden4

please don't get a 5 or 6 out of 10! please please please..