We have a couple more previews for you from the recent hands-on showing of InXile's upcoming co-op action-RPG, Hunted: The Demon's Forge. Joystiq.
The ranged combat was the most satisfying portion of Hunted: The Demon's Forge, supported by a pick-up-and-use weapon and armor system. Here the game is a dead ringer for Gears of War: moving between cover and keeping low is the recipe for success here. E'lara and Caddoc both have a bow (her standard string bow launches quivers much faster than his slow and devastating crossbow) and a variety of unlockable ranged spells that allow for attacking or buffing your teammate from a distance. While the game definitely put me in strict close-quarters situations, the majority of it was pop-and-shoot from afar. The Sixth Axis.
Any time an enemy is killed with its gear intact, it can be looted -- each item has its own durability, attack speed and other attributes. Of course, this means you can customize your team: if you want a partner who has greater attack speed, find them a faster bow or a lighter melee weapon. The system leaves a lot of room for creativity and customization, but also gives loot fanatics (see: me) more to do in the game.
Anyway, the combat really comes alive when you've collected enough mana to employ magic. Playing as E'lara, I was able to equip my arrows with a freezing ability that allowed me to twang a skeleton from distance just as they were pouncing on my team-mate. It stops them dead in their tracks, encasing them in ice mid-attack, allowing Caddoc to shatter them into a thousand pieces. GameZone.
While Hunted is a fairly traditional hack-n-slash, it does offer a lot to keep people going. Surprisingly, I've been told that Hunted is a fairly substantial game offering 18-20 hours of gameplay, and part of that is related to the exploration elements. E'lara and Caddoc are given primary level goals, such as passing through dungeon or taking down a boss, but each level have secondary goals and areas to explore. Smart players will go through and find extra crystals necessary for upgrades, equip-ready weapons and gear, and more. The death stone even allows our duo to talk with fallen bodies for guidance on finding magical weapons and items. Raiding Party.
After a quick and shouty cutscene, we're off to commandeer a cannon so we can bring down a rather imposing guard tower that's blocking our path. We steam off into the crowd of orcish things, wildly swinging our two-handed blade and mixing things up with a shield smash a magical weapon ability we bought earlier. It's working well. We find our way to the cannon, and commence fire on the tower.
That's when the Bethesda rep suddenly raps me on the shoulder. (Your friend is dying.) Sweet Jesus, what a noob. We quickly abandon the cannon and look for our fellow journo. (There!) pipes up the not-so-helpful tech bloke from Bethesda, pointing excitedly at the screen. We still can't see the downed E'lara amidst the flailing orc limbs. And so we come to our first bit of major beef with Hunted a lack of on-screen help. If you're planning on playing this game with a friend online (and we imagine the vast majority of you will) you really do need a headset, because at present the HUD does bugger all to inform you of your partner's status. E'lara dies because we can't see where she is. Game over and we're booted back to the beginning of the level.