The demo offered at PAX East for Hunted: The Demon’s Forge was a short one, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. The demo was two player co-op on Xbox 360 with each player taking on the role of one of the main characters. When my time to play came about I took control of the female character E’Lara, a deadly elf who’s focus was more around ranged combat than her male companion. The demo was centered heavily around combat with the players running through a short section of the game that lasted about 20 minutes.
E’Lara’s main choices of weapons were a bow for ranged attacks, and a sword and shield for melee encounters. Regular attacks had me mashing the X button to perform combos, with the Y button reserved for heavier attacks in melee that did more damage. The melee combat wasn’t the button mashing massacre that I originally expected, it took precise timing and movement in combination to hit that sweet spot and do some real damage. In melee there was also the option to block with the equipped shield but unlike other games blocking came with a price. Every time the player makes a successful block their shield’s strength would decrease, not just in terms of blocking power but also in appearance. For example while in a melee fight if you held down the block button your shield would be fine for a while protecting you from all damage, but after subsequent hits chunks of the wood started to splinter and break off of the shield. The remedy for this situation was simple; kill enemies and the one’s that had shields would drop them and you could swap your current shield for one dropped by a monster at any time. Ranged combat for E’Lara was where she really shined especially with particular body parts reacting accordingly when struck with arrows, heads would pop off if skillful headshots were made. On top of the regular weapons that did physical damage, each character has skills they can access at the cost of energy. The skills for E’Lara had me shooting ice arrows that slowed enemies and sometimes even encased them completely in ice. My favorite skill to use during the demo had me placing a purple arcane circle on the ground underneath my feet and any enemy brave enough to come in close for an attack would be damaged by the circle.
The co-op factor of the game is what really made it fun. Working together as a two player team was much more effective than trying to take on all the baddies alone. Caddoc the male character was much more effective in melee so an effective strategy would be to have him take all the heat and slug it out in melee while I sat back and ripped faces off with the bow. If a player character was downed during a fight your teammate has the opportunity to revive you; with a press of the B button the character still standing would throw what looked like a health potion onto the downed ally which would immediately bring them back to their feet and back in the fight. Co-op was one of the main drawing factors of this game and the essence of strategy and teamwork in combat is emphasized greatly here and with good cause because players are at a disadvantage if they would be thrown into it without a partner (AI or human). The demon slaying will commence for everyone in the spring of this year.