Release Date: April 25th, 2012
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360]
Genre: Action/Beat ‘Em Up
Rated: M for Mature
Cost: 1200 MSP
A new game in XBLA’s spring line-up, BloodForge is your average hack and slash title with features all too similar to past games.
Welcome to the world of BloodForge, set somewhere in a mythic celt-like world, where you will play as a warrior who goes by the name Crom. I couldn’t help but laugh at the name, primarily because I thought everyone was saying “Crawl” (as in off the movie Son-in-Law) but that is a completely different story. I do want to add that this game boasts a “deeply compelling story” but the story is pretty much all cliche’s and plot ridden with everything you’ve seen before in a revenge story. Crom also appears to be a steroid ridden one dimensional character, as he can only speak in shouts and uninspiring dialogue. I guess you shouldn’t expect the best acting from the beefy macho-man types. Even with that said, if Schwarzenegger could pull it off, I guess there is at least a small bit of hope for Crom.
The main selling point for BloodForge is obviously the extreme amounts of gore and blood. Rest assured that this game is chocked full of it. You will be given four different weapons to choose from as you slice, dice, and smash your enemies. These weapons include a sword, battle hammer, claws, and a crossbow. As you progress through the game, you will find direct upgraded versions of the weapons you are currently carrying. I found the upgraded weapons to be very useful in providing better damage as well as a new set of moves for Crom to pull off. Speaking of which, you will have a plethora of moves and combos to try out. Stacking some of the cooler moves together and quick switching between weapons makes for some nice quick combat. Doing good in battle is a heavy focus in the game as you will be ranked upon your performance and also put to the test against your friend’s scores. This game also features a blood rage system called “berserker mode”. As you gain kills and collect the blood of the fallen, your beserker meter will begin to rise. When you fill the meter full, you can go into beserker mode and rack up some quick kills in a sort of bullet time scenario. I also found this to be useful for taking out mini-boss enemies. Upon pressing LB + RB while close to an enemy, you can start an execution sequence. During this sequence you will be prompted to press a button many times as Crom starts hacking away at the enemy. This is very useful in taking out the big baddies, but you can only do it when you have enough blood in your beserker meter.
Another thing worth mentioning is the concept of mana and special powers you can call upon using it. With one power you call upon a huge fist from oblivion to flatten an enemy and electrocute surrounding enemies while doing so. There are 2 other powers you can call upon such as spawning serpents but they felt very unneeded when compared to the giant fist attack. In Bloodforge, there are several items you can pick up that will effect your combat experience such as reducing the body count needed to reach beserker mode and also things such as gaining mana in addition to the blood collected. The concepts are pretty good when tied all together.
BloodForge is pretty average in length, perhaps taking you 4-5 hours completing 1 play through. During my play-through I found the game to actually be quite enjoyable. BloodForge is nothing revolutionary or brand spanking new. It copies A LOT of things from previously seen games and the color palette (or lack thereof) can get a little monotonous at times. I didn’t have too many problems with the camera until the end of the game and on average it was easy to handle. BloodForge does have some texture issues here and there as well as some noticeably jagged models in the level distances. All things considered, these little slips do not make the game any less enjoyable. If you are a big “hack-and-slash” gamer and you are looking for a game to kill a few hours on, this might be a good choice. BloodForge is what I’d like to call “extremely average” yet its still a good time despite it.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5