reviews\ Jan 23, 2013 at 10:00 am

Review: Forge: A high-fantasy, high-octane combat zone for players of all backgrounds


Dark Vale Games' Forge is a bizarre mixture of third-person shooter attributes and and fantasy role-playing, where armaments and spells are always darting right past you. It's a strange combination to be sure, but a winning one that molds the game into what grips and You either acclimate quickly or leave in a fit of frustration, but for those who excel in frenetic environments, Forge provides an engaging explosion of frantic combat meant for mega-multitaskers.

Across four different fantasy maps (for now) real-world players (no bots allowed) with rookies and veterans alike, Forge finds everyone engaged in a battle royale. For those unfamiliar with its more complex elements, it's a violent free-for-all that begs you to keep coming back for more practice after it's finished wiping the floor with you. It confuses for the first hour or so, and for this reason, new players will flock to the series of tutorials available for first-timers.

Forge 1

You must at least explore the tutorials available to you in order to unlock the other modes of play, but completing the tutorials is a slog. Once you jump into the action, you find yourself annihilated by veteran players, but you learn more in this school of hard knocks than you do in the clumsy tutorial lessons. If you never explore the tutorials beyond what is required, advanced tooltips and optional educational bubbles aid you in deciphering which abilities are appropriate in different situations and how to use them. With that said, there's still a learning curve to contend with.

Forge 2

Once you've jumped off the deep end straight into a real match, it's quickly obvious that there's no time for practice--you either step in line with the twitch-based encounters, or you meet a swift end. Once you've battled enough, you slowly become a competent player. There are five classes to master: assassin, pathfinder, pyromancer, shaman, and warden, each with nine specific abilities. Standard fantasy skills are exhibited among these specializations, including healing magic, stuns, slowing, and other tropes. Fortunately, standout abilities, such as swapping places with a player or trapping an enemy in place by way of an arrow, give Forge an identity of its own. These varied attacks contribute to the chaotic nature of the game, and lend a fresh lilt to what could have easily stagnated as the same played-out skill trees of other fantasy games.

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