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Hunted: The Demon’s Forge Tackles Level Up

A Review for The Hunted 2: The Demon's Forge.

By Tim Janson     June 16, 2011


Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
© N/A

 

Well after last week’s E3 craziness we get a bit of a breather this week in terms of news. Hopefully you caught all our coverage including our list of the Top Ten Trailers from E3. One very interesting story that has stirred up a wave of controversy over the past couple of days was the less than stellar early reviews of Duke Nukem Forever and the reaction by the PR firm handling the game’s release. It’s our opening story in the news this week.
 
IN THE NEWS
 
 
2K Games Axes PR firm after Duke Nukem Forever review uproar
 
Less than a day after the Redner Group made inflammatory Tweets about low review scores for Duke Nukem Forever, 2K Games has ended its relationship with the firm.  Responding to poor review scores for the game, the Redner Group threatened in Tweets that critics may not get future games from 2K, saying, “Too many went too far with their reviews…we are reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom,” said The Redner Group. “Bad scores are fine, venom filled reviews…that’s completely different.” The tweet has since been deleted.
 
As you might imagine this did not go over very well with the gaming community at large who quickly responded with Tweets of their own and pointed editorials. 
 
Jim Redner issued an apology this morning stating, “We are all entitled to our opinions regardless of score, tone or meaning. My response was a juvenile act on my part. I know better and my emotion got the best of me. I have worked very hard on this project. I want it to succeed. I just got upset and acted out.  I believe we are all allowed to voice our opinions and that opinions by their very nature are correct. Many of you quickly pointed out my error in judgment. For that I thank you and apologize.” 
 
2K’s response to the flap was swift, issuing their own Tweet, “2K Games does not endorse or condone the comments made by The Redner Group and confirm they no longer represent our products.”
 
For what its worth, and I have not played DNF as of yet, but it seems to me to have been a game that might have been doomed from the start.  15 years of anticipation…of announcements and hype…of developers coming and going…Duke already had two strikes against it and had to try and hit a grand slam with no runners on base.  Not that I’m excusing a game for being bad or the Redner group for their totally inappropriate comments, but clearly in reading some of these reviews there were critics who had Duke in their sights from the very beginning and decided to unload with both barrels.  One has to wonder if the vitriol was based solely on the game…or the game not living up to people’s inflated expectations. 
 
 
L.A. Noire is top selling game in May
 
Rockstar’s L.A, Noire took the top spot for best selling game in May with nearly 900,000 units sold. Considering it’s a game that doesn’t emphasize action as much as some other games, this is quite a feat. Following L.A. Noire were Brink, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, Portal 2, and Mortal Kombat. 
 
Ubisoft Releases Cubic Ninja on the 3DS
 
Ubisoft is happy to announce that Cubic Ninja, the Nintendo 3DS title that lets you play without ever touching a button, is now available at retail in North America . Cubic Ninja places you in the role of CC, a brave little ninja with a distinctly cubic shape. The princess of your beloved kingdom – plus a few of your ninja friends – has been abducted. Now it’s up to you to save them! Simply tilt and turn your Nintendo 3DS to solve challenging puzzles, outwit devious enemies and escape intricate traps. You must tilt and turn your way through over 100 eye-opening levels and defeat such menacing adversaries as Woofbot, Scorchbot and more! From raging infernos to elemental forces of wind and water, your enemies will do whatever it takes to stop you.
But you won’t be stopped. If you have to tumble ‘til you’re dizzy, or survive raging waters just to rescue the princess, then you will… Because you’re Cubic Ninja. And that’s how you roll.
 
X-Men: Destiny Trailer from Activision
 
A new breed of mutant heroes will invade game consoles this fall in X-Men: Destiny, from Marvel Entertainment and Activision. The all-new original video game casts players as new mutant recruits in a rich, branching storyline that features a deep element of choice and gives players ultimate control of their destiny.
 

 
 
Ubisoft Releases Outland for Playstation Network
 
Today, Ubisoft announced the availability of Outland , a platformer taking players through a world split between light and darkness. Developed by Housemarque, Outland is now available for download on PlayStation Network. Players embark on a journey to thwart the gods of balance and chaos from escaping. As they make their way through the world of Outland, players will experience several features, including:

•    A new take on a classic genre – Ubisoft and Housemarque join forces to revitalize the action-adventure genre with influences from Flashback: The Quest for Identity  and Ikaruga.
•    Light and darkness gameplay – Master the polarities of light and dark to overcome trials and defeat enemies.
•    Co-op gameplay – Experience the story, arcade and challenge rooms with friends on PlayStation Network.
 
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
 
Dungeon Siege III (Square-Enix) Rated T  Xbox 360, PS3, PC
 
For centuries legionnaires have protected the nation of Ehb until they were betrayed and all but driven to the brink of extinction. Now that evil has returned to Ehb the people turn to the few remaining Legionnaires for the protection of the past . As an heir to the legion will you accept this plea for help? How it will all be resolved is up to you!  Dungeon Siege 3 is an Action RPG that seamlessly blends intuitive fast-paced gameplay, a robust RPG system featuring a large selection of abilities, loot galore and the depth of story Square Enix and Obsidian Entertainment are known for creating. Players will be able to adventure by themselves, on the couch with friends, or online in a fully multiplayer experience.
 

 
 
F.E.A.R. 3 (Warner Bros.) Rated M  Xbox 360, PS3, PC
 
F.E.A.R. 3 is a First-Person Shooter (FPS) that blends classic single and multiplayer combat with the unforgettable Horror/Survival gameplay that the F.E.A.R. Franchise is known for. The third game in the F.E.A.R. Series, F.E.A.R. 3 continues the intricate storyline tying together the psychically dangerous mother Alma Wade with her two sons "Point Man" and Paxton Fettel, as well as the F.E.A.R. Operations team. Players take control of both "Point Man" and Paxton Fettel at different times in the game, utilizing each's unique abilities and powers in a dark adventure that will test the player's loyalties, combat skills and sense of duty. Additional features include: co-op and multiplayer modes, cinematics and story input by John Carpenter and Steve Niles, and additional downloadable content (DLC) available online.
 
Nine months ago, Point Man and his F.E.A.R. Squad were tapped to stop a telepathically gifted cannibal who had begun a murderous rampage. Point Man learned the target was his brother, Paxton Fettel, working alongside their tortured and psychically powerful mother, Alma Wade. Despite this revelation, Point Man followed orders to destroy them and subsequently ravaged the surrounding city and most of his F.E.A.R. Team Now, it is clear that Alma's psychic influence survived - and worse, she is about to birth something that could destroy the world. Fettel has returned from death with an unclear agenda, refusing to leave Point Man's side and asking for help to reach Alma . The remaining F.E.A.R. Squad is still trying to complete their mission. With his chain of command broken and Point Man calling his own shots, where will his allegiance lie.
 
Cars 2 (Disney)  Rated E  Nintendo Wii, DS, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
 
Inspired by the upcoming Disney·Pixar animated film, Cars 2: The Video Game lets players jump into the Cars 2 universe with some of their favorite Cars personalities in exotic locations around the globe. Play as Mater, Lightning McQueen, and other brand new characters as players train to become world-class spies in the international training center - C.H.R.O.M.E. (Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage). Take on dangerous missions, compete to become the fastest racecar in the world, or use spy skills in exciting, action-packed combat racing and battle arenas. Players can race against friends and family in either single or multiplayer modes with up to four players to unlock challenging new tracks, characters, events and thrilling spy missions.
 
Shadows of the Damned (Electronic Arts) Rated M  Xbox 360, PS3
 
His name is Garcia Hotspur, hunter of demons, and his wrath will bring hell to its knees. From the creative genius of Suda 51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) comes an all-new psychologically twisted vision of hell unlike anything seen before. Shadows of the Damned combines visceral grindhouse-style action with dark, grotesque horror to create a mind-shattering adventure that has to been seen to be believed. When evil demonic creatures kidnap Garcia’s girlfriend, it’s up to him to travel to the City of the Damned to get her back. Aided by a former demon with the ability to transform into an array of vicious weapons, Garcia will once again take on the mantel of “demon hunter” and rip apart the horrifying forces of the underworld to protect what he loves most. Players must harness the power of the light to fight the army of the dark in unique light versus darkness gameplay that will forever change the way gamers perceive puzzles, combat, and terror. Combining the punk rock style of Suda 51 with the legendary horror design of Shinji Mikami, Shadows of the Damned will take gamers on an in-your-face thrill ride through demon-torn towns, shadow infested forests, grimy sewers and more. Featuring the most twisted boss battles ever seen, warped visuals and intense visceral combat, Shadows of the Damned will challenge gamers to break through the ultimate head-trip to help Garcia rescue his tortured girlfriend from the clutches of a mysterious enemy. Brace yourself for one hell of a trip to the city of the damned.
 

 
 
Reviews
 
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge (Bethesda) Rated M Available PS3, Xbox 360, PC
 
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge combines elements of hack-n-slash RPGs like God of War and Dante’s Inferno with the co-op cover-based elements of shooters for gameplay that is unique but also frustrating as well.  The action takes place in both open settings as well as providing robust dungeon crawling.  In the game you play interchangeably as a brawny tattooed barbarian named Caddoc and an agile Elven huntress named E’lara.  At numerous points throughout the campaign you’ll encounter glowing obelisks where you’ll have the option of changing which character you control leaving the CPU to control the other.  There’s little plot to send you off on your way beyond Caddoc waking up from a bad dream and having a vision about a women’s voice and some mysterious artifact.  I mean, give me a “hey!  There’s a dragon in the dungeon…lets go kill it and take its loot!” 
 
Caddoc of course is your melee guy while E’lara is best used by firing her bow from a distance.  Both characters can utilize spells referred to as battle magic in the game.  Both however can use melee and ranged weapons although Caddoc’s cross bow is much slower to load than E’lara’s rapid fire longbow.  Like military shooters you can take cover behind walls, rocks, or barriers and then over or around to fire off your arrows.  The game utilizes your typical, progressive skill tree.  Collecting various gems called ‘Dragon Tears’ allows you to purchase new attacks or battle magics.  For example, E’lara can purchase the ability to fire arrows that can freeze enemies while Caddoc can levitate enemies in the air and then smash them down or let E’lara pick them off while they are helpless.   There is no inventory to speak of which steamlines play.  Basically it is like a shooter where if you pickup a new weapon who drop the one you already were using.  When you encounter a new weapon you’ll see the traits of the new one and the one you’re already using so you can decide if the new one is better.  So your character is limited to a melee weapon, ranged weapon, and a sword.  There are also occasional finishing kills where you will watch your arrow fly in slow motion and bury itself in an enemy’s skull.
 
If your partner is hurt and near death, you can revive them by tossing a heal potion their way.  Otherwise if they’re killed you have to replay from the last checkpoint.  This gets to the heart of the main issue with Hunted: Demon’s Forge.  Playing with a friend co-op is definitely the way to go so you can plan strategies and support each other.  Solo play is another story.  Your AI partner isn’t always smart or supportive.  They may or may not toss you a healing potion when you’re hurt.  Furthermore they may run off ahead or lag well behind you.  They will lag until you encounter a certain area then magically they will appear next to you.  I’ve found you’re better off playing as E’lara and letting the CPU play Caddoc as he can sustain more damage leaving you to use your bow and spells to greater effect.   Healing potions can be inconsistent.  At certain points you have so many you can’t carry more and at other times you’re out and searching high and low for the darned things. 
 
One monumental annoyance is the total lack of a map.  The only way you can ever no for sure where to go next is by clicking the left stick down which sends off a shooting star-like object leaving you a trail to follow.  This can also be used to locate your partner, confirming that even the developers know the tendency of your AI partner to sometimes wander off.  It would be nice to get the lay of the land in some way, even an overview, even if the landscapes are not all that great to look at.  This brings us to the game’s weakest aspect, the graphics themselves.  The graphics simply are not up to par for a PS3 game.  The character models and animation look like as PS2 or an early 360 game at best.  The movements are stiff, even in cutscenes.  The color palette is dull and dreary, even for a dungeon crawl.  Beyond that there are scads of glitches that can leave you hovering in mid-air with no visible means of support.  They don’t affect gameplay but show sloppiness on the part of the designers. 
 
Despite the technical flaws, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge can be fun to play, especially in co-op mode.  The two characters are fun and share witty banter back and forth, even if the timing of the voices can be off relating to the action onscreen.  The voice acting is one of the strongest points.  If the solo play had been tightened up a bit this one could have been a true sleeper hit but as it is, it’s fun but breaks no new ground.  Grade B-
 

 
 
 
Pro Elite Wireless Controller (Power A) for Playstation 3
 
I’m of the opinion that as a gamer you can never have enough controllers and especially enough good controllers. Lets face it, they are not cheap…not good ones anyway but they’re definitely worth the investment. The latest controller for the PS3 to catch my eye is Power A’s Pro Elite Wireless controller. It’s just a good, sturdy, well performing controller. The first thing that you notice is that its got nice heft to it and feels durable. This is one of the biggest differences between a good controller and a cheap one…weight! So you know you have something made out of good, quality materials.
 
Next you have textured grips on the handles that help keep them from slipping and give you a reassuring feeling. You’ll notice that the layout of the two reverse analog sticks. Rather that lining up parallel, the left stick is a little higher up on the controller. Since this is normally the control that you use to move your character in a game, it makes for a more comfortable fit. Now that is sweet! 
 

Pro Elite Controller Photo

 
So what else is under the hood? Dual rumble motors bring the action to life in your hands. The Pro Elite Wireless controller also works with SIXAXIS compatible games. It comes with a USB adaptor/receiver that plugs into your PS3 to recharge the unit and a 6 ft. cable that allows you to play while recharging. It features glowing buttons that can be turned on or off at your leisure but definitely help if you’re playing in low lighting conditions. The controller performed flawlessly in a variety of games, specifically I used it while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops as well as MLB 11: The Show. The rumble motors worked when you expected on Black Ops and the controls were precision accurate in MLB 11. I really like this controller. It performs well and has a great feel in your hand. Grade A

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jedibanner 6/16/2011 8:52:09 AM

I'd be really curious to know what Maniacs think of the Duke Nukem Forever game. I had not that many intentions to buy the game but, I've hear here and there some not so good review but was wondering if it's founded or not.

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