[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Climax Studios” publishers=”Microsoft Game Studios” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”April 25, 2012″]
The second title released under the new achievement rules for Xbox LIVE Arcade games, Bloodforge brings us 400 gamerscore and 30 achievements. Bloodforge, an XBLA exclusive and part of the Arcade NEXT promotion, brings hack-and-slash fun developed by Climax Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Does Bloodforge have the umph to stand out like previous Next Arcade title Trials Evolution, or do we have a title here that is more suck and blow rather than hack and slash and fun?
Bloodforge is the game a developer would make if they sat down and said, “Hey that God Of War is a pretty sweet idea. Why didn’t we think of that? Let’s do something similar.” after which they proceeded to mimic God of War while fuzzying up the details with a setting that is part Beowulf and part Conan. Crom the main character is a former warrior that settled down with a wife. He is tricked into killing the wife and is now being guided by a god to exact his revenge on those responsible. Crom also loves to constantly scream his dialogue on his one dimensional quest for revenge. It is surprising that Crom is just not named Cromos after Kratos with this much copying of plot from God of War.
Bloodforge goes with the traditional third person perspective with players comboing enemies with strong and light attacks. The camera becomes an issue on two parts. Sometimes when fighting it pans in too close and it is difficult to see the enemies let alone tell if the one that is being hacked was just knocked down or is dead. The camera also has this shakiness to it that when it pans out during running to the next area scenes. It feels like the world is wobbling. Apparently the world of Bloodforge comes from the reality of Senator Hank Johnson who feared that Guam might tip over due to overpopulation. People that suffer extreme motion sickness should probably avoid playing Bloodforge because it can leave you extremely uneasy.
The combat flows nicely in Bloodforge and is one of the game’s high points. Crom turns into a pinball bouncing back and forth between enemies slashing and smashing. The only issue is that there is only one type of defense outside of the strong offense, a rolling dodge. A block move would have been the cherry on the top of a sundae here. Outside of melee moves, Crom can shoot a crossbow, call down various God’s smiting abilities, and charge his melee moves with a bit of magic to up the damage. Crom also wears a fancy gauntlet that loves sucking up the blood of his fallen enemies. The better and more gruesome the combos achieved in combat the more blood is generated. Once Crom’s blood bar fills up, he can execute rage mode that increases attack speed and damage. Crom can also execute a one hit finishing kill cutting the rage mode’s duration down and ending it.
The bosses feel like they were ripped right out of God of War. They are oversized and use quicktime events to do any real damage to them. That aside, they are fun encounters reminiscent of video games early days and not seen often in today’s games. A certain sense of accomplishment accompanies taking down a larger than life foe even if it is just avoid and attack patterned boss fights. Despite the short playtime, five hours max, Bloodforge’s presentation delivers like a retail release. There is a blood duels/challenge mode that tries to add to the replayability of the game by allowing you to send a high score challenge to your friends. These challenges take place in arenas from the regular game and pits you against waves of enemies. While a nice feature, it feels very limited to similar ideas executed in games like Dante’s Inferno.
Bloodforge is a good deal at 1200 MSP and comes with a cool 400 gamerpoints to earn. It comes with retail presentation, fun gameplay, and a short playtime for the full gamerscore. Only avoid this game if you suffer motion sickness or hate when games borrow heavily from other games.