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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hunted: The Demon's Forge

So I finally finished a game, though not one I had even planned on buying let alone finishing. When I go to the Mall I must stop at Gamestop. I rarely buy anything there but I browse cause I can't help myself.
My husband and I are always looking for something to play together so Co-op written on any box makes us take a second look. I'm not sure why I picked up Hunted but I looked at the back and saw co-op and showed it to my husband.
Now, I had heard about Hunted when it was released, but the reviews were fairly meh, so I didn't pay much attention to it. But, it was $11, it was co-op and our favorite employee was working at Gamestop, so we decided to buy it. (Yes, I am more inclined to shop at Gamestop when this one guy is there. Don't know his name but he's awesome and since he used to work at my preferred Gamestop he knows us well. He knows my husband is gonna sit on the floor looking at a game box confused while I point out stuff to my kids and tel them if it sucks or not)

The only thing we had in mind when we took it home was: MONEY BOOBS!!!!! (I know, I know, you're thinking WTF? just..just give me a sec)
A while back Unskippable did the opening of Hunted and boobs that pour money was one of the jokes in it...just..oh just watch this and it will make sense:




With thoughts of money boobs and co-op play we brought it home, turned it on and spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out how to start a co-op game...this does not bode well...

Finally figured out how to start a game (tip: you can't play co-op til after the tutorial and you really should do the tutorial) and chose Normal because well, we're experienced adventurers right? No sooner did we start the game that we touched some weird purple crystal, swapped characters, got utterly confused and died. Reloaded (note to self, don't touch purple stone) and tried again only to die horrifically....like 5 times. So we reloaded and went to Beginner setting (we wanna have fun, ain't too proud to go easy).
This is more like it. Now don't think that because it was on beginner it was a cake walk, we actually found it fairly challenging, but, manageable.

So I chose to play as the girl E'lara, of course, cause I prefer playing as the girl if given a choice, but at the same time, I wasn't sure about her, She's a huntress and I'm really not that good with aiming so, I tend to stay away from bow and arrow types. Turns out, I was worried for nothing. She's quick and aiming is good, plus she can also shoot from the hip fairly accurately.
My husband played as Caddoc, the big bald barbarian looking mercenary with sword and shield.

As I said, its all about co-op for us and this game  is co-op in its truest form. I've never played a game where it truly feels like we need each other.

E'lara as I said is a huntress with bow and arrow, she however does have a sword and shield for the occasional melee fighting when we get overrun or run out of arrows (running out of arrows doesn't happen often ,there are usually plenty nearby but sometimes I spazz and go on an arrow shooting frenzy). To add to these she also has unlockable magic both the kind you sling and for her weapon. Standard stuff, exploding arrows, ice arrows, lightning bolts etc.

Caddoc uses a sword and shield and also carries a crossbow. Telling you right now, that crossbow is TRULY for emergencies only. He is incredibly slow with aiming and shooting and reloading takes forever. He also gets unlockable spells for battle and weapons and this is where you start to see that co-op. One of his spells suspends enemies for a short amount of time before slamming them down. Its a great form of crowd control and E'lara can pick off the enemies quickly as he holds them up.

Another interesting aspect of the co-op is being able to infuse your partner with power for a short time. Rather than cast your lightning at an enemy you direct it to your partner and their blows become super-powered for a time.

You can never leave your partner behind or lose them either. The game gives you the ability to conjure a shimmering trail to show you where to go (I think more games should do this) and it also conjures a second shimmering trail to your partner, which is great for us because my husband has no sense of direction and I tend to wander off to examine that little corner of rubble all the time. Here's a bit of dialogue from our gaming sessions:

Him: Where are you?
Me: I'm over here, there's something shiny!
Him: Where? I can't find you? are you upstairs or downstairs?
Me: I'm like right here!! to your left..left...the other left...DUDE RIGHT THERE!!!
Him: I can't find you...
Me: Oh it was just a torch, damn, I thought it was something.
Him: Where?
Me: Oh forget it I'm right behind you!

That little shimmering trail was MADE for us.
 You can never leave your partner behind. Every jump, every crevace you shimmy through, every section you go to enter, you are required to both press the button to proceed. Now I know that this sounds like a bad thing ,especially given my little demo above of how we play, but the game thought of that too. if you are too far from each other, you can teleport to your partner's side.

Now, you're probably wondering about the story. First I wanna point out that this game is about action, its about killing enemies and blowing shit up and having fun. That said, The story turned out to be much more interesting than we would have thought. It started off with us being utterly confused. A whole lot of "wtf is going on?" "who?" "I swear this makes no sense." "what does this have to do with anything?" But, if you are diligent in looking for bodies to listen to with the death stone (I'll explain in a moment) and don't skip the cutscenes it will eventually come together and you'll go "hey this is pretty interesting"

The Death Stone...if you watched the video above you've seen some of what it does. Throughout the game you will run into the bodies of the deceased, some of these will prompt you to use the Death Stone. For most of these a disembodied spirit will float above the corpse and speak. It can tell you something that helps you understand the story, help you with a challenge ahead or just tell you something trivial that merely adds flavor to the game. In some instances you'll see a vision, like the first time E'lara touches the stone in the video above. A lot of the story is gained by these visions. While you might not find all the corpses to use the deathstone on , you won't miss the vision ones since they are usually preceded by a cutscene of your characters telling each other they should use the Deathstone.

I know that reviewers mentioned a lot of glitches and bugs and while sometimes while standing by a corpse using a deathstone your character or partner will twitch and spazz, for the most part our playthrough was pretty glitch free. We only encountered one place where my character kept telling Caddoc to push a stone and no matter where he looked he never got a prompt for it. Luckily it wasn't really part of the game, just a chance for more loot.

Oh yes, loot. there are weapon racks throughout the game, just so you know, he who breaks it gets the weapon. If E'lara breaks a rack it will always be a bow or a weak sword on rare occasions and only she can pick it up, and of course if Caddoc breaks it it will always be a melee weapon and only he can pick it up. So, getting loot comes down to being fair to each other and taking turns. But don't worry there are plenty of racks. Shields are found scattered around and either E'lara or Caddoc can pick them up at any time.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering with all this co-op can the game be good played single player. I will say that I'm not too far into my second playthrough, but I am playing it alone. The tutorial does a good job of showing you how to direct your AI co-op partner in specific situations and you can also use the aforementioned purple crystals to switch between controlling Caddoc or E'lara.
Playing alone does have one benefit over co-op, you save a lot of health potions because the AI doesnt go down very often. So far I'm enjoying my playthrough alone and havent encountered any negatives to playing with the AI except for the commentary between me and my husband as we played.

I think this game appeals so much to me because the dialogue is good and the voice acting is excellent. My husband and I would say something and a few seconds later Caddoc would say the same thing and we'd be like "Damn, the game is reading our minds." The game doesn't take itself too seriously. A good example is: after lifting up a few doors together E'lara remarks "I wonder what people do when they come here alone?"
At another moment E'lara comments on "Money Boobs" slutty outfit and Caddoc replies in kind about her outfit.

This game isn't going to change the world, and it probably isnt the best game you will ever play, but its fun and funny, well done and good looking. You can play alone but playing with a friend is best. About the only negative thing I can think to say about this game is the trailer below does it a huge disservice with that HORRIBLE cover of "So Happy Together" watch the trailer on mute....








****just a note. the game does have some sort of multiplayer and you can also take money you collect in game to make your own levels. basically just gauntlets of enemies to get through. I can't comment on this because I usually don't play MP and I didn't touch the Crucible in this game...so you're on your own for that one*****

5 comments:

s4ndm4n said...

Sounds like an interesting game. But since i don't have anyone to co-op with it really anymore...
:(

Also on another note if you're interested, my blogs are here: http://hiddenforestjournals.wordpress.com and dwso.wordpress.com One's for writing, the other's for art. check them out if you want but dwso is still blank.

SihayatheFremen said...

well like I said it works fine single player. the AI is pretty good about helping you out. So even playing alone you get a very "co-op" experience


I will check out your blogs :)

s4ndm4n said...

And your dialogue from the game is just fscking hilarious. Typical. What I would do at times that irritated my former partner... lol.. it was funny.

SihayatheFremen said...

oh, I should record our gaming sessions, its all yelling, cursing, joking and confusion. I'm used to playing RPGs so I check every nook and cranny, he just wants to play the game, get the story and call it quits... sometimes it gets a bit outta hand

s4ndm4n said...

Sounds like it would. LOL! Would be funny to see.