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Hunted: The Demon's Forge - Gears of War gets medieval

It blows co-op tactics wide open, literally

You know what it’s like. You and your wing-man are gracefully slaughtering your way through a street full of grunts with the balletic tactical ease of Chow Yun Fat channelling Napoleon, when suddenly your partner goes down in the thick of the fray. Cue an abrupt end to your apocalyptic flanking bid as you drop what you’re doing, backtrack to your fallen comrade and stumble through a cloud of bullets in order to pick him up. Then he has to do the same for you as you’re trying to retreat. Ball-ache.

Above: Finding the grunts hard to hit? Use a levitation spell before firing

Hunted aims to remedy that whole irritating fiasco by implementing a long-range approach to co-op. The most obvious upshot of this is that you’ll be able to revive fallen partners from a huge distance away as long as you’re within line of sight. Just toss a regen potion like a grenade (from what we saw they lock on automatically if you’ve got a clear shot) and they’ll be straight back up again without you having to break the flow of whatever you were up to.

And that’s going to be a very important innovation, given the way that battles in Hunted play out. The major skirmishes that we witnessed all took place over arenas much bigger and more open than most of what you’ll find in the likes of Gears of War, with architecture and scale tailored around the two characters’ contrasting abilities. Ground-cover, open brawling areas, staircases and multiple levels of verticality can gel over a single arena to open up a boatload of tactical options.


It’s much more than a shooter

All of this adds up to a game that takes the cover-shooter model and runs it in every direction it possibly can, with the marriage of melee and shooting birthing all kinds of possibilities. Both characters can hit the enemy with a pincer melee attack, E'lara’s weaker blade providing support at the back while Caddoc  wades in at the front. Or Caddoc can step out swinging while E'lara softens up the oncoming horde with arrow fire from behind cover. Or she can throw in an elemental magic buff to increase his hacking power on the fly.

Above: If all else fails, get up close and kick their faces off

But most exciting of all is the way in which the team looks to be able to split up completely in order to work on different sets of bad guys in different parts of the environment according to the suitability of their skills. Thanks to the long-range healing system there’s no need to stay close to your partner when a distant target takes your fancy, and should either character get jumped by something they can’t handle, there’s still a way out.

If, for instance, Caddoc comes up against some well-armoured uber-grunts, E'lara can swiftly make with the long-distance headshots to pull him out of trouble. And if she in turn gets mobbed by short-range melee baddos and can’t flee to a shootable distance, Caddoc  can throw in one of the aforementioned magic buffs to temporarily up her comparatively weedy hand-to-hand abilities until he can wade over and make a rescue with his mighty blade o’ justice.

Some monsters will require the combined skills of both characters to take down, and it’s sometimes even possible to perform co-operative God of War-style QTEs in order to finish of particularly tricky enemies, either directly or by using the environment (ie. having the option to knock a huge statue down on top of them).

By blending shooting with proper, combo-driven melee like this, and doing so much to facilitate player freedom outside of traditional teamwork, Hunted’s developers genuinely seem to have created a smooth and elegant evolution of co-op action, and it's one that we really can’t wait to get our hands on. Watch this space for more just as soon as we have.

17 comments

  • jackthemenace - March 17, 2010 7:52 p.m.

    i do really love bethesdas shooter-esque games, so i'll stay on the lookout. but i also want tES:5
  • tonyfash - March 17, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    the graphics of PES10 on PS2 is fucked
  • miasma - March 16, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    Gears of War was so boring and monotonous, it permanently ruined the 3rd person genre for me.
  • miasma - March 16, 2010 7:28 p.m.

    3rd person sucks. Agreed with themooninites, enough of this junk, where is TES:5?
  • themooninites - March 16, 2010 1:42 p.m.

    where is my god damn elder scrolls 5??!?!?!1!
  • DoctorCrazy - March 16, 2010 3:35 a.m.

    I really think Bethesda should take a break with all these new games and just make the next Elder Scrolls. Thats really all I want from them.
  • AnonymouZ - March 16, 2010 1:11 a.m.

    this Looks ok. it's described OK... but i want it as if it was more than just an ok game.. what's wrong with me?
  • n00b - March 15, 2010 11:34 p.m.

    this is the first time hearing of the game. sounds interesting though busty elves>grizzled soldiers i second that
  • JizzyB - March 15, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    This game looks pretty cool. I want to see more games with pure fantasy settings like this (D&D style). It used to be a trendy theme for PC games but now it's becoming less common, at least with high quality titles. Good thing for Bethesda though.
  • bonerachieved - March 15, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    This would be the 3rd time I've seen something about this. However this was in great detail! Awesome article keep up the good work.
  • JADENkOTOR - March 15, 2010 10:37 p.m.

    It sounds like it could be good but whats this talk of a shooter. Does one bow slinger in a co-op campaign fall under the shooter category? I may be wrong but I think most people are going to end up slicing through the game with the brute anyway.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - March 15, 2010 9:43 p.m.

    Depending on how well they handle the melee and the shooting aspects of each character, this might be very epic.
  • DasavageJ - March 15, 2010 8:29 p.m.

    Off-line Co Op + Multi-Console Release(in all fairness=) ) = Buy for me! Hope it turns out to be good
  • wkdtkd - March 15, 2010 7:22 p.m.

    This probably seems a stupid question but I'm a little confused. Is this online co-op or does it have off-line co-op as well? *crosses fingers for off-line*
  • tuomotaivainen - March 15, 2010 5:57 p.m.

    Just skimmed over it a bit and even from that the game, if done right, is going to be awsome. Not lets hope it becomes a reality (and its on the 360)
  • inconceivable - March 15, 2010 5:35 p.m.

    This sounds awesome.
  • infestedandy - March 15, 2010 4:26 p.m.

    I haven't been following this game at all and it's probably because Bethesda just being the publisher doesn't mean the game is guaranteed to be amazing, much like Wet. Still, I'm trying to keep an open-mind. Hopefully we'll get our hands on the demo soon and I'm crossing my fingers that it works out well. It's got all the elements to create a fantastic game and I'm looking forward to its co-op nature and fantasy setting.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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