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Hunted: The Demon's Forge Preview

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Posted by: Jonathan H. Cooper

Cooperative video games are getting hot again. Thanks to the current generation’s ability to connect players better than ever before, developers have the capabilities to bring gamers together in ways they couldn’t in the past, and InXile Entertainment is taking full advantage of with their action adventure title, Hunted: The Demon's Forge. Being published by Bethesda and set for a 2011 release, the game was on display at E3 2010, where players were able to get a look at the unique title.

In terms of story, very little was revealed, but the developers were on hand to give some context to the undead-slaying that was being demonstrated. Players will be able to choose between the game’s two characters, E'lara and Caddoc, in order to find an ancient artifact that Caddoc had seen in a vision. The characters have key differences between them, both in terms of gameplay and attitude. Caddoc, the barbarian, uses fierce melee attacks to take down foes, with powerful magical spells that allow him to charge head-first into battle. He is, however, a peaceful soul, which should play well off of E’lara, the bloodthirsty mercenary. E’lara is a ranger, specializing in attacks from afar with bows and the ability to take cover behind objects.

Playing as the two characters provides completely different gameplay experiences; a focus of Hunted: The Demon's Forge. Not unlike Army of Two, the game will place a strong emphasis on co-op, be it with an AI or another player. Because of the characters’ differences, teamwork is even more important than it usually is in cooperative games, as Caddoc requires cover-fire from E’lara, and she needs the tanking abilities of Caddoc to keep from being overwhelmed. It has the cooperative dynamics of a MMO, sans the massively part of the genre.

Though players will likely choose favorites due to the differences between the characters, InXile has made it possible to switch between them without much hassle. At certain areas, players can simply switch characters before continuing with the story, which should add some variety and replay value. It will also make solo play more interesting, allowing those who wish to go it alone the ability to choose which character they’d like to use for any given scenario.

Beyond shooting, slashing, and using environmental objects to do battle, both characters have an unlockable assortment of spells and abilities. Instead of leveling up E'lara and Caddoc separately, the player actually gains the levels, meaning that switching between them should never be a problem. It might take a few minutes to get used to whatever spells are unlocked after switching, but it sure beats the hell out of needing to grind the characters individually.

Everything about Hunted feels high in quality. The graphics are already top notch, featuring detailed character models and great environments. The controls felt simple and, in a way, familiar, borrowing some ideas from other third-person games such as Gears of War; and there’s very little to complain about from what was being shown off at the booth. What stood out the most was the way in which the characters interacted with each other, and the differences between the two classes. The blend of cooperative action and fantasy setting should help it stand out amidst other games in the genre, and assure that it has our eye when it releases early in 2011.

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