Hunted: The Demon's Forge • Page 2

Devils may cry.

It's also the kind of game where you could happily get by without knowing precisely what's going on, and of greater importance is whether the sword that just came cartwheeling out of the weapon rack you just smashed is better than the sword you're carrying. Or, to put it another way, it's the kind of game where you remove weapons from perfectly functional weapon racks by smashing them.

On the subject of Hunted's easy-going design, both Caddoc and E'lara can swap between melee weapons, their ranged weapon and magical combat at the touch of a button, though this doesn't feel immediately tactical as much as it does entertaining. While Caddoc specialises in melee combat and E'lara bow is much faster than Caddoc's crossbow, the two of you can go scything into a mass of enemies with whatever close-combat weapons you have equipped, one of you could provide long-range fire support for the other, or the person playing Caddoc could use magic to Battle Charge E'lara, causing her arrows to blow up enemies like fleshy grenades.

Once you consider that each of the characters can be upgraded with nine very different magical abilities (which can in turn be upgraded further), you get combat with more of an emphasis on reacting than playing by any hard and fast rules. Half-way through my time with Hunted my co-op partner and I had developed a tactic of our own: placing my upgraded Sigil of Pain on the ground, goading a load of enemies onto it, and then keeping them there with our sword and mace like riot officers enforcing the world's smallest kettle.

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"How are you doing? I'm... SMASHING!" Publishers? Are you getting this? The world needs me.

But where Hunted's combat seemed happy to keep things simple, its environment was a little trickier, with secrets, puzzles, traps and even side-quests. This peaked with a trip through a stereotypical fantasy sewer, containing as it did barely any water and architecture that included (but was not limited to) an eight-foot tall stone face that spoke in riddles, poison arrow traps and a haunted crypt.

With the exception of one very brief ambush by a giant spider, it was this entirely optional crypt that proved the highlight of our session when its guardian showed up - an eight-foot tall animated skeleton who demanded something resembling teamwork. He caused such crippling melee damage that more than once we had to use our limited number of revive potions, which work in an excellently heroic way - you simply throw them at your downed ally, allowing them to break nearby in a flash of blue light.

All told, Hunted's looking like a fun dungeon crawler after all, and we still know barely anything about the "Crucible" mode where you'll be spending all your gold looted during the campaign. All inXile is saying at the moment is that it'll be a "Map generator". Randomly generated dungeons, with build parameters unlocked by your cash? Or random dungeons of varying difficulty, with your gold used to buy equipment? A full-on map editor? We'll have to wait and see.

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