Beta Dwarf Entertainment
Beta Dwarf Entertainment is a Danish Games Developing company that has only recently been created and although they are the new kids on the block, they are heading straight for the hard-core gamers and their speciality is in creating Co-operative focused games. Beta Dwarf Entertainment’s first release Forced is leading their charge onto the digital market, starting with Steam and then possibly moving over to the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, so far this spearhead has left quite an impact on me, mainly through head trauma as the game tends to be rather difficult.
Forced is a very intriguing game as it is a top-down RPG that revolves around you using the different fighting styles to pass trials set by the Guardians until you eventually fight them. Each trial is different and thus a different style might be more useful in one trial compared to another. Local and online co-op is also a major feature of Forced although there is no separate co-op story. When playing Forced you have to remember that you are a gladiator trying to survive against the Guardians onslaught, as I said earlier the game is incredibly difficult but after failing for the 6th time it feels deeply rewarding when you do get passed it, especially earlier on when you get unlocks more often.
Forced starts off with a cinematic prologue depicting a tribe that lives under the tyranny of beings known only as the guardians, to postpone not going extinct by the Guardians’ Hand the tribe must train and offer men from their tribe to face the Guardians’ trials, these men never return and it becomes apparent almost immediately why they don’t upon entering the Halls of Trials.
Upon starting the game you will be able to choose your weapon of choice, the keyboard and mouse or a PC controller, I have tested both out and they both play differently. I’m primarily a console gamer so I initially started using the controller, but I kept on missing some of my abilities casts because you’re meant to aim with right analog stick, although this seems like a very trifle matter it made the game unplayable for me if I were to use the controller, everything else on the controller worked in complete unison, but Forced doesn’t feel like a game that should use twin-stick controls. In the end I felt like using a keyboard and mouse was much more fulfilling to play with.
The combat in Forced is divided between four different fighting styles which include; Ice and a shield, Dual arm blades that focus on attack speed and mobility, a bow that can be used to great effect until enemies start getting close up, and the slow swinging but incredibly powerful hammer and fire. These variants allow you to mix up your fighting style between trials to see which one works best for you with different objectives in mind. The different fighting styles can be upgraded by unlocking new passives or abilities, these upgrades are acquired through completing trials.
Each trial has three gems (which are used for to unlock new abilities) these three gems are set in each trial so that the first is to complete the trial, the second is to achieve a secondary objective (kill a boss in a certain time, or reach a secondary banner) and the third is for completing the level under a certain time. Boss rooms are unlocked when you own the same amount of gems as there are rooms, so if you are struggling with the game you only need to complete each room. Because boss rooms are unlocked with the bare minimum amount of gems, this allows the player to massively power themselves up for the boss fight by obtaining every gem beforehand, though this is incredibly difficult to do.
Forced has a good variety of enemies that you will encounter, and you will have to find different strategies to take them down. The common fodder of the game is the swarmer, which has slightly faster movement speed than you, and they will slow you upon contact. There are also some variants of the swarmer’s which have ranged attacks or explode on contact. Throughout all the different enemies in the game the Cleaver is my bane, when he first entered the arena and started menacingly charging at me I wept until I drowned in my own tears. I ended up lucking out against him by repeatedly using the Ice cube ability with the shield and then running away, after that ordeal I triumphantly strolled into the next trial with my head held high, where I found another Cleaver waiting for me, to say I was not best pleased would be an understatement.
Forced is focused around co-op play so because of this I thought it’d be wise to try it out to see if it improved the original game, so I grabbed the nearest person and controller and let the blood spill, I was disappointed to see that there was no co-op campaign, instead you just invite people to your arena to help you, if you could call it help. Forced suffers from a very common feature in co-op games which is where the number of onscreen enemies is multiplied by the amount of people playing, meaning that when I played with my co-op buddy I expected it to be slightly easier due to us both being able to combine our powers, but we were sorely overwhelming by the size of the swarmer horde, along with that horde 2 cleavers came charging out and completely pulverised us.
The game itself is a really interesting and addictive game to play, but its difficulty is massive turn-off for me. I wouldn’t say that I don’t enjoy difficult games, because I love dark souls, but the game doesn’t feel like it should be that difficult. That being said if you are a lover of difficult games with brilliant graphics and light hearted humour then you should snap this game up.
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.