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Decked up but nowhere to go

This action game that is set in the medieval times, can’t decide between role-playing and action. So it does a bit of both to a limited extent.

india Updated: Aug 03, 2011 00:33 IST
Avinash Bali

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge doesn’t sound exciting on paper. It’s yet another action RPG set in the medieval times populated by certain clichés like evil sorceresses, dark dungeons and of course, cruel beasts hell-bent on world domination.

In Hunted, you play as one of two characters — a burly warrior or an agile Elven archer, who are both mercenaries. Their hunger for money, fame and adventure lands them in bang in the middle of an ancient conspiracy involving demons, dragons and really pale sorceresses. Yes, the plot isn’t particularly mind blowing but you do end up enjoying the ride thanks to some witty writing.

As Caddoc, the warrior, the game’s standard hack-and-slash fare, since he is especially proficient with melee weapons like swords and axes. E’lara, the archer can fire arrows in record speed, but she isn’t as effective as Caddoc with a sword and a shield. Both characters can take cover behind objects but we found the system a tad weird at first, but you’ll get used to it after a couple of hours of playing.

Co-operative play is undoubtedly the selling point for Hunted but in case you don’t have someone to play alongside, it plays just fine with the AI. Additionally, you’ll occasionally get the option of choosing your character at different points in every level. While this allows players to experiment with both characters, it’s somewhat of a gamble as you never really know what the level holds for you. Due to this, you may not end up picking the ideal candidate for the job.

Like any conventional RPG, magical spells play an important role in this game. Some of these spells, like the ability to electrocute your enemies are common to both, but others rely on your character's abilities. Caddoc, for example, can charge to break an enemy’s shield and defences. E’lara, on the other hand, can fire explosive arrows that detonate on impact damaging multiple enemies.
While Hunted borrows a lot from various RPGs, it is still a very linear game. This isn’t the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion or Fallout where you can just wander off and explore the game’s world. There is a certain amount of exploration, but that’s limited to certain corridors.

Made using the Unreal3 engine, Hunted is a spiffy looking game. Character models for both the good guys as well as the legions of minions is nice and full of detail but special mention goes out to the lighting
that looks stunning while casting spells.

What we like
* Witty writing
* Character models for both, the good guys as well as the legions of minions is nice
* Some stunning spells

What we don’t
* The plot isn’t mind blowing
* The linear format
* The limited scope of exploration

Verdict
Hunted is an enjoyable game but it’s bogged down by a few issues. The game’s more action than role-playing; so if shallow, linear games turn you off, then this one’s not for you. That being said, Hunted can provide hours of entertainment if you treat it as a corridor shooter with a few RPG elements thrown in.