When you do look at the lineup of 360 games, it can have it’s share of quick action brutal slashers. A few that come to mind are Devil May Cry 4, Darksiders, and even Dante’s Inferno. At the end of the day though, most of these will never be able to dethrone the God of War franchise on the Playstation 3. Climax Studios recently tried their hands at this genre by making an Xbox Live Arcade game promptly titled Bloodforge. Can it stack up to the ultimate king of the genre?
With an art style obviously influenced by 300 and a deep mythology surrounding it, it’s no surprise at what this game is trying to be like. It looks really good and for a while you don’t mind the endless violence. The keyword there is for a while.
The player controls Crom, a manly man warrior who you just blatantly would not want to mess with. He wears some kind of animals skull on his face, so there’s the first sign. The second sign is he wields enormous sharp weapons. Basically the story of the game is you come back from slashing a helpless deer’s throat to your village being burned down by totally bad dudes. During the madness, Crom manages to kill everybody. When he gets to his wife, she runs in their tent hut palace. Once in there he stabs an enemy he sees running towards him. One problem though, the gods have tricked him by masking his wife within an enemy. Crom just killed his own wife. Since he’s guilty and filled with murderous anger, he plans to annihilate the gods and take down everybody on a blood filled rampage. Eventually you get to a glove which absorbs blood of your enemies, aka the Bloodforge.
The game has a similar hack n’ slash style to it as the God of War franchise. The graphics are good and there is no shortage of blood. Even before you get to areas you fight at there’s blood on the ground everywhere as it is. Using these crazy weapons and combos, you can chop dudes in half, semi half, decapitate etc etc. While it’s bloody satisfying (haw!) for a while, nothing really changes about the combat and it gets old quick.
You do get powers of the gods in order to help you. They’re called rune attacks this time around. Using Ceronus, you can summon serpents to demolish your enemies. Using Taranis, a physical hand comes out and brings one of your enemies to some other dimension while raining hell down on everybody else. Finally Nihlem is the tearer of corpses and devourer of souls.
While there’s so many enemies to kill, you do get tired of doing it really early on. There’s not really any motivation as the game progresses because combat stays the same. On top of this, achievements aren’t many to be had. While combat is similar to Batman Arkham Asylum, there’s no fluency to it. You can hit guys behind you, but with one move. It’s things like this that take you out of the combat and turn it into generic violent game #6. If this wasn’t enough, the camera randomly shakes all the time and the angles are all kinds of messed up. You’ll be hitting one guy, then dodge out of the way only to have the camera follow you to an awkward angle as you’re now swinging at nothing. Even on larger encounters I noticed a bit of frame rate issues.
At the end of the day, Bloodforge is kind of boring. You don’t care about the story enough to continue and even if you do, the repetitive combat will quickly become old. While the graphics, sound, and character design are pretty damned good, the main part of a game is gameplay. Unfortunately, this category is lacking more than any other. Bloodforge is 1200MSP and will be available tomorrow on Xbox Live Arcade. I wouldn’t say a buy off the bat, but definitely during a sale.