XBLA just keeps growing and growing, with new games constantly being added to the already impressive collection. One of the latest additions published by Microsoft Game Studios and developed by Climax is Bloodforge, a third-person action game set back in ancient Celtic times, which can only be described as aspiring to be a slightly modified God-of-War rip off. So what has it got in store for those gamers willing to splash out the 1200 MS Points this new title asks for?
Well let’s start with the story shall we? Set in ancient Celtic times, you find yourself in a world where myths and legends come to life; powerful Gods rule the lands and savage tribes worship them, waging war against the non-believers doing the Gods evil bidding. After years of fighting for the Gods, the warrior Crom stands free; he has left the life of spilling innocent blood in order to settle down with a family. The Gods however don’t seem to approve, and force him back into battle by tricking him into brutally killing his own family, leaving him on a mission of revenge.
My favourite thing about the game is not the graphics, the gameplay or any of the usual things you would find. It’s the avatar items that you unlock during the game, something that rarely ever gets a big mention in a review. However I just love the gear you unlock playing through the game, especially Crom’s skull helmet you get, it just looks awesome and makes my avatar look rather cool if I do say so myself.
But back to the important thing, the actual review of the game. Graphically the game is quite good, its dark colour scheme with abundant splatters of red due to the amount of blood you spill in the game, really gives it a gothic feel that does the games art style justice. The detail that goes into some of the characters also looks amazing, though during combat you don’t really notice that too much as you’re too busy fighting for your life. This isn’t because the enemies overwhelm you or because the combat is hard, but because the camera is shocking. The environment is constantly getting in the way so at times you struggle to see what you’re doing, and everywhere you run the camera wobbles which I can forgive because it’s to simulate the running motion and make the gamer feel like they’re in the game.
The combat isn’t the best but its ok; if you are one for playing games in this genre you’ll likely be familiar with the mechanics. What is disappointing with it is you don’t really have the ability to block then counter enemy attacks, just the poor ability to dodge which leaves you vulnerable to take a hit when you’re back on your feet fighting a group of bad guys. That aside you’ll learn how to put together devastating weapon combos, perform brutal Rage Kills, and harvest the power of Runes to deliver devastating attacks on your enemies. Once you master these forms of combat, you will have no problems taking on the masses of demonic soldiers, deformed worshippers and even the Gods themselves who are responsible for your family’s death. The God battles have more potential than what they actually deliver, the graphics of the bosses look brilliant but you’re stuck with the typical boring boss battle; hit the boss, he’ll throw a few baddies at you to deal with, dispatch of the them and repeat until he’s dead.
One nice thing about the game though is that when you complete each stage you get a score which you can compare with friends who also play the game, or additionally compare who spilt the most blood in each stage. You can also invite friends to challenge them in a survival style game where you fight waves of enemies, which after every wave you can add modifiers that will either make the next round easier or harder. However this isn’t enough to make me want to go back and play the entire game again to try and better my scores.
Overall this game needs some work if it is going to be the next God-of-War. The art style is great and probably the only thing that doesn’t really need changing, that and the awesome avatar awards. However the game really should work on adding the ability to block and counter attack, as well as improving Crom’s capability to dodge. Sorting out the camera problems is also a must as it would just make the game more enjoyable, and more likely to make me want to challenge friends at this game, because then they wouldn’t have to suffer with the shoddiness of the camera. So would I recommend you buy it? I’d say Bloodforge is worth a try….BUT only once its price drops to around 800 MS Points because there are much better games available for the same price it charges currently.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.