A game’s success or failure often rests on the little things. An otherwise ordinary game can soar to great heights by nailing the details; conversely, a smattering of small flaws might cause fine ideas to flounder. Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is the latter type of game: conceptually sound, yet clumsy as delivered. As a result, this cooperative action game feels like an ancient relic, in spite of its attempts to use modern gameplay elements popularized by Gears of War and co-opted by countless games since. It’s a shame that a game with such promise feels so unfinished. Imagine this scenario: you take up your bow, and a buddy grabs his mace and shield. Together, you cut through swaths of maniacal monsters, seeking the most effective ways of ridding your fantasy kingdom of a rising menace. When Hunted comes together, it captures the essence of such a rambunctious adventure. But sloppy locomotion, technical glitches galore, and all sorts of basic flaws rise up to smite you. PC players also get a special problem to call their own: barely functioning online play. And that’s a damning issue in a game designed to be played with another.
In spite of its numerous foibles, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge isn’t devoid of fun, and it boasts a great concept: combine the best parts of fantasy hack-and-slash adventures and Gears-style cover shooting, and then throw in some loot. One player assumes the role of Caddoc, a bald-headed melee specialist. The other takes over the ample assets of E’lara, an archer with impossible curves and no desire to shield her backside from swords, arrows, or the stares of lascivious passersby. Together, you move through dungeons, flaming villages, and more dungeons, slicing away at the titular demons while occasionally casting spells, grabbing loot, and trading barbs about who killed the most meanies in that last battle. Caddoc and E’lara are in it for the cash and are hardly heroes worth remembering once your eight hours with Hunted’s campaign come to a close. Yet they share an easygoing camaraderie that’s appealing, if wholly unexplored.