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Posted by drew10 on Apr 27, 2012
Bloodforge – XBLA – Microsoft

Bloodforge – XBLA – Microsoft

Revenge, it is a mainstay of gaming culture. Nothing sets a good story like a decent dish of revenge, served cold of course. And revenge is very much on the menu in Microsoft Studios Bloodforge.

The second title Part of the much hailed Arcade Next promotion much was expected from Bloodforge, indeed the early impressions were very good. Excellent graphics? Check. Giant Weapons? Check. Serious amount of blood and carnage? All present and correct. So do the early impressions last or do they fade faster than an Essex boys tan on return from Ibiza?

Set in a gloomy landscape Bloodforge is a third-person hack and slash title that aims to bring serious full price quality to the download arena. You play Crom a fearsome warrior who had long since given up his maiming days to settle down and have a family. Not content to let him do so the Gods attack and kill his family and the revenge mission begins. Aided by a God (who is also a crow) Crom sets out to destroy the God who took his family away. Okay so no prizes for originality in fact the game begs, borrows and steals ideas from games like God of War and fails to implement them anywhere near as well. Its only saving grace is some competent voice-acting which at least adds some gravitas to a bland and uninteresting story.

At first the game impresses. Its graphics are excellent and the dark eerie backdrops and the visceral combat really hit the spot. The moves that finish off enemies are varied and bloody and hit with satisfaction. There are various weapons and Rage attacks which need to be charged up before unleashed. These attacks will bring about the downfall of some of the larger enemies. There is also Rune attacks although these are pretty much just standard attacks that do more damage, again these have limited usage before expiring.

It takes less than five minutes before you begin to notice things wrong with Bloodforge and not much longer to realise that it is pretty much everything. The combat system suffers terribly with lag the camera jerks about like Janet Jackson with a scorpion in her knickers. Married with the dark and gloomy visuals combat becomes confusing and ultimately uninteresting. The AI is poor and enemies will generally follow you around swinging blindly in your vague direction. The various weapons and moves available do little to add any real variety to the experience, in fact you find yourself returning to the sword you started with as all the other weapons are… well… crap.

However apart from the stolen storyline, terrible combat and frame-rate issues there is an even worse sin that Bloodforge carries. That is the sin of repetition. Not only does it serve up this miserable gameplay experience but it makes you do it over and over and over again. It amounts to nothing more than walk a little bit, fight some ugly nondescript baddie. Walk a bit more, fight a couple more baddies. Walk a bit more, fight a big baddie. Repeat.

The dark and moody backdrops that helped to set the mood early in the game become boring very quickly and rarely change. It is a crime as in general the game looks pretty decent but the character models are poor and the lack of variation in the world is shocking.

After the amazing début on Arcade Next of Trials Evolution we were expecting big things from Bloodforge. Unfortunately what we got was a piss-poor God of War clone with none of the nuances that made that series so great. Boring scenarios, boring characters and boring combat all make up for a simply boring game. It is so bad in fact that it is hard to see how Microsoft allowed it to appear in the Arcade Next arena.

Up next is Fable Heroes and we hope for better things from that.


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