Review: Bloodforge

Bloodforge is a new title from developers Climax, sitting proudly as their new hack ‘n’ slash 3rd person game. XBLA is becoming more proactive on the game front, which is a good thing, I think and although XBLA games are mostly known for their below par gameplay and graphics, I have to say Bloodforge is a nice update to the XBLA catalogue.

Now let me tell you a tale, its one of high adventure… oh and blood, lots of blood!  The start of the game is very cinematic, you find yourself playing in the intro which I very much enjoyed, I like when this happens, you get a great feel for the game, and if you’re like me you enjoy getting as deep into the game as possible. Crom, the person you will be playing in this story, is very much a man’s man and reminds me very much of Conan the Barbarian with the way he interacts with people and just his general personality. Crom is a warrior, and has been fighting for most of his life and decides to give that all up for a chance to settle down and start a family which to me sounds like a great idea. But the Gods have other ideas, and push him into coming back to the fight with some really nasty plans, and that’s really it. Crom is driven by vengeance and nothing else.

The art direction Climax have taken with Bloodforge is great and it really stands out against other games of its style; they have really made the world a dark and evil place.  This is also shown with the creatures you will fight along the way in this world.  Whoever came up with some of the designs for these creatures deserves a pat on the back. Or a trip to the psychiatric ward. They are interesting to say the least.  The look and the feel of the weapons are good too and what do you think you get a lot of when you start swinging your sword?  Well let me tell you, lots of blood! The game is full of the stuff. Along with melee attacks you also can use magic which is a nice add-on, but I never really used it much, I’m more of a “charge into a group shouting and swinging my war-hammer until nothing is left moving” kinda guy.

Gameplay is full on, you will be button bashing with the best of them to pull off combos, which again, I don’t really worry about, yes they look good and yes they may do more damage but the normal attack looks great too.  I get very twitchy when it comes to fast-paced combat and I normally go for the fast kills. However, I really did get what Climax were trying to do with the combat system and it worked.  It reminded me of some old school games when you could work out combos to do better damage. There is also a nice game style that they have come up with – if some of your friends have got the game as well you can take a look at the leaderboard and see how much blood they have shed on the battlefield in their game, and if they have beaten you you can go back and try and beat them which is a good way of keeping the game going after you have completed it.

However, there are a few rough edges to this otherwise good game. They are not really that big of a problem, but did detract from the game.  The camera bounce got a bit annoying for me, I hated it in the Blair Witch Project and I hate it now, but you only really notice it when you run from place to place but once I noticed it that was all I could see.  Also it would get stuck on objects and scenery if I get too close to things, which when you are fighting in an arena area can get a bit frustrating to say the least. I also felt that game suffered from zoning, as I like to call it, this is when you run into a zone and some form of wall blocks you from carrying on and then that zone is filled with bad guys. Once you have dispatched them the zone falls and you run towards the next zone and then it happens again. It’s not terrible, but does signpost the attacks a bit too much.

Overall Bloodforge is a good game and I enjoyed it very much and for 1200 credits it’s a decent price. If you look at it as a retail title then it still has some way to go, but as XBLA games go I guess things are starting to look up for the reputation of Arcade games on live.

Reviewed on Xbox 360

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