Cipher 8's Video Game Central
Hunted: The Demon's Forge tantalizingly mixes some of the best video game mechanics into one compelling game that is engaging on many fronts. A fast paced, story driven, action heavy, co-op orientated, new age dungeon crawler set in a dark fantasy setting with third person view, cover, tons of attainable loot, weapons and armor, magic abilities, and a medley of other RPG mainstay elements mixed in. While the game itself is a bit of a mishmash between the Role Playing Game and Action-Adventure genres it falls more on the side of Action-Adventure.

inXile Entertainment and Bethesda Softworks wanted Hunted: The Demon's Forge to be completely designed around cooperative gameplay. The resulting product makes the game not only fun to play but gratifyingly challenging and unique at the same time. With the choice between two players, Caddic and E'Lara they offer up two completely different play styles.


Caddic the hulking warrior and deadly swordsman has some deadly abilities at his beck and call including a dash skill where he uses his shield and a burst of speed to smash into enemies with a debilitating result, an ability called Brimstone where he can use fireballs that detonate upon contact with an enemy, a levitation skill called Wind of Wrath that he can use to kill enemies in mid-air, and a shocking ability known as Dragon's Breath where he can send out a bolt of electricity that shocks and damages opponents. Caddic also has this "Fury System" where if your succesfully blocking with your shield and successfully landing light attacks the meters filling up and when it fills up you can unleash a heavy attack that is a lot more damaging.


E'Lara is one of the few elves left in the world and one of it's finest marksman inhabitants around. Her people were slaughtered by the Minotaurs when she was young and her cunning to  survive the massacre only gives notice to what deadly abilities she possesses. E'Lara uses her shield for defense as moving cover allowing her to find vantage points to use her bow. She too possesses the Brimstone and Dragon's Breath abilities but also has the Arctic Arrow ability that slows or freezes enemies in place. She can also light her arrows on fire and thus other things on fire as well as.

All of their skills and abilities are designed to make them work together. For example: E'lara can use her Arctic Arrow ability to freeze an enemy and then Caddac use his dash skill to smash the brittle opponent into bits and shards of ice. These finishing moves or executions you can trigger at times can give a special cinematic end to a kill. For example: Every so often E'Lara can fire an arrow and the game will zoom in on the arrow and follow it along it's path as it strikes and sticks into the head of the enemy.

So while they both have completely different play styles with Caddic being a melee specialist and E'Lara being a ranged specialist they must work together to take down the tougher opponents they come across. Each player takes their turn taking the lead based on their abilities and depending on that areas enemies due and their weaknesses. With a little bit of planned tactics and quick decisive actions nothing can stand in your way.

A video showcasing the focus on co-op
IneXile wanted to weave co-op into every element of the game design. This heavy focus on co-op gameplay doesn't simply mean your playing with a friend but co-op in the sense that players must work together to get past the different areas and enemies in the game. Every enemy in the game has it's strengths and weaknesses and the two mercenaries must work together and figure out what's the best combination of their skills to bring them down. Certain boss enemies will require both players to work together to take them down but even less combative areas of the game such as co-op based puzzles contribute into one of the deepest co-op orientated experiences that you'll find anywhere.
At it's core Hunted is a new age dungeon crawler taking many aspects implemented to the game from classic dungeon crawlers popularized by MUDs and dark medieval adventures such as Interplay Entertainment's Stonekeep and the Wizardry series of Sir-Tech. For today's modern age audience they had to give the game a distinct feel and look such as Gearbox Software did when they modernized dungeon crawls with Borderlands.

For Hunted though think Gears of War but replace the chainsaws and guns with swords and bows as well as magic. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3 and some of the design concepts such as third person view and a heavy focus on cover really gives the game that Gears of War look and feel but in a totally different genre.

As for the world and the look of Hunted they wanted to craft a dark fantasy world that while it could still be familiar in a way it could also be different enough to set itself apart from the rest of the fantasy settings already done in games. The different environments of Kala Moor are very dark and have that creepy ominous feel to them but not all of the areas you'll encounter throughout the game are this way. While the game is very much still inspired by the old school dungeon crawls and there will be a fair share of underground caverns and ruins they also wanted to give the game an openness feel at parts with some above ground vast open areas such as forests and besieged cities. There will be plenty of different locations you'll come across on your quest to discover the mystery behind the game's story.
Every area of the game has some level of exploration and secrets hiding within them. If you take the time to look around your going to find secret passages, secret doors that you first must find the hidden trigger to open, hidden dungeons, and a lot of additional content (and in-turn more gameplay time) that's off the beaten path and has nothing to do with the main storyline. Through puzzles the players can explore the world further than just where the storyline takes them. The puzzles are pretty complex to the point where the players will need to work together to solve them. They are set up in a way so the two players have to each do their part of them in a sequence and each part requires one or the other player's specific abilities. They are very much co-op designed from the forefront. Each player much make certain things trigger in order to move on. For Example: Caddic has the ability to push large objects and may need to do so where E'Lara couldn't move that object. Ultimately when you solve the puzzle your rewarded by opening up new areas and new content to experience.

Also don't worry about not being able to play as both roles. There are areas in the world that you can walk up to and switch between the two characters at will. If your getting tired of playing as Caddic and smash people up close just switch mid game to E'lara and start shooting from range. 
This assortment approach in the environment is also evident in the game's monsters and other enemies. You'll face many different creatures and beast throughout the game. Wargar are these orc-like creatures that lurk in the caverns and are the main foe you face throughout the story, Minotaurs have their own distinctive look in Hunted as well as their own unique backstory, and the dread Demons I must say look absolutely horrifying and I'm sure they are every bit as difficult to defeat.
The creatures in the world of Hunted are addicted to this mysterious liquid called 'Sleg' which can transform them into more powerful versions of themselves. For Example: A Infected Wargar sprouts spider-like legs and can use magic as well as  warp from space to space in battle making them a lot tougher to defeat and a lot more deadly.

One of the main villains in the game, Annuvin, who was once a great warrior even succumbed to the power of the sleg. In his transformation he became prisoner of the sleg, constantly seeking out souls to sacrifice to it so he and the sleg can grow stronger together.

For a further look into Hunted's bestiary visit their official website and watch this video.
Developer inXile has taken great care in crafting a expansive and one of a kind setting and story.

The story revolves around this race of creatures who have emerged from underground and much like the real life Mayan's are taking slaves from neighboring civilizations and sacrificing them to their gods.

The two mercenaries are approached by Seraphine who first appears to Caddoc as a muse in his dream. Haunted by the mystery of her identity, he seeks to find an answer for the reoccurring dream. Caddoc and E’Lara explore the Fountain of Elisha where they come upon the spirit form of Seraphine. She explains to them that she is trapped in spirit form until her physical body is found. After being promised a fortune in gold, the two mercenaries agree to take on the daunting task of finding out where the innocent humans have been taken and try to stop the madness once and for all. Along their way they will still be visited by Seraphine and you can hand over any magic crystals you may find to her. In exchange she'll give you magic upgrades to make you stronger. The journey will take you on a long dark and twisted path pitting you and your partner against waves of vicious enemies and boss battles and also plenty of co-op-based puzzles you must unravel before you ultimately unveil the secrets of The Demon's Forge.
After you complete the campaign whether via single player with an AI partner or in multiplayer with a friend via local split screen or online co-op you can then jump in and try your take on the game's Crucible game mode.

In this mode they give you all the tools you need to design your own dungeons. You can choose which enemies you'll face, how many waves of them, as well as set the level of difficulty and other customization options such as what abilities the players can have or not have.

You will need to play through campaign though as the gold you earned through the campaign unlocks new features in this design your own dungeon mode. Once you have crafted the ultimate dungeon you can share it with your friends or post it online for everyone to try out.
Hunted: The Demon's Forge looks very promising as it offers a rich co-op experience in a dark fantasy setting with what looks to be a solid story. For me though, the coolest part of the game is the Crucible mode where you can design your own dungeons and share them with others. I always feel single player-only or story driven games must have something else to coax me into buying the game because once you beat the campaign there usually isn't any replay value in them. While it's yet to be seen how deep this Crucible system actually is it could offer a ton of re-playability to the game if it's well done and expansive.

The game comes out on May 31st, 2011 so give it a look if any of this peaked your interest.