From the Ground Up


Hunted: The Demon's Forge is a third-person action role-playing game from Bethesda Softworks and inXile Entertainment. This game presents itself as an action-oriented dungeon crawl with a heavy emphasis on two-person cooperative play. I spent a good thirty minutes with Hunted, and I walked away satisfied with the experience.

Hunted takes place in the fantasy realm of Kala Moor. This world has seen better days; innocents are simply up and vanishing. It's not a localized series of incidents, either; this is happening all over the world. People are crying out for the truth, but most are too afraid to seek it out themselves. Enter our heroes.

This game stars two diametrically different mercenaries: the brutish Caddoc and the nimble E'lara. Caddock is predisposed to swinging heavy weapons around, while E'lara, being an elven beauty, has a thing for bows and arrows. I'm told that each character's abilities are meant to complement the other hero, and about five minutes into the demo, I realize what the guy means by that.

You can tell that Hunted is meant to be played in co-op just by looking at some of the screenshots. That's because Hunted is being developed almost exclusively with cooperative tactics in mind. At first, the game feels like a hack-and-slasher with a cover system. However, when you dig into the special abilities, it becomes apparent that this game should only be played cooperatively with a friend.

I start off as E'lara; my co-op buddy is Caddoc. We immediately get into a heated battle with a group of skeletons. I take cover and take potshots while my partner hurls himself into the fray. I notice a magic ability and select it. E'lara's arrows turn to ice, and so do the enemies who are hit by said arrows. This presents Caddoc with the opportunity to finish the beasts off. He becomes a whirlwind of death, and skeletons fly everywhere. Stragglers are knocked loose from the pack; I pick them off with clean headshots before they get too close to my buddy.

The exhibitor stressed that combat isn't the only area in which co-op is emphasized. Puzzle-solving will also figure into Hunted's level design.

If you've been waiting for a hack-and-slash game that plays like a third-person cover shooter, Hunted: The Demon's Forge will probably interest you. It will also draw the attention of role-playing fans who like to take their games online. The game will ship for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC; no release date has been announced yet.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge
Bethesda Softworks