Bloodforge Review – Eviscerate, rinse and repeat
A world of darkness, populated by horrific beasts, berserk warriors and gods with their own agenda, Bloodforge bursts through them like an alien chestburster on heat, as its ruthless hero strives to revenge himself upon his enemies in a quest for I’m sorry I just can’t write a review for this game seriously.
I’m not joking. I’ve played quite a few bad games, but when it comes to generic disasterpieces which are about as original as a Black Eyed Peas song, Bloodforge sits at the top of that list of shame.
Players assume the role of Crom, a Viking/Scandinavian/Norwegian warrior who happens to have accidentally gone and murdered his family, due to some trickery from the gods. Oopsies! Of course, with his family and village deader than my music career, Crom totally has, like, a hate-on for the gods that did this to him, so he’s off to kill as many of them as possible, because everyone knows that deicide is the best solution.
There’s a world of high contrast environments out there, which is disturbed by the gory action that unfolds onscreen, as Crom hacks and slashes his way through enemy hordes, with the help of mystical powers, weapons and minor gods with their own predictable agendas.
Crom handles pretty much like any berserk warrior, thrusting his mighty, long and hard sword through henchmen after henchmen, with their deaths resulting in bloody climaxes, while the visual style isn’t too shabby actually.
And that’s pretty much where the positives for this Heavy Metal band name inspired game end. It’s obvious that the developers behind Bloodforge had a hard time mastering complex ideas such as walking without inducing motion sickness, or creating a character that isn’t a complete rip off from other, better games.
If repetition was an Olympic sport, Bloodforge who standing on a super-podium, with palladium medals draped around its neck. You’ve got your usual HIT HIM HARD HEY attacks, which are meant to be bolstered by ineffective magic options and “Shift” attacks, an idea that is about as effective as sending government officials on anti-corruption courses.
The Shift attacks do very little to give players an edge, only slightly enhancing haphazardly designed combos to be marginally better. It’s like trying to knock a wall down with apples, and then deciding that throwing puppies would be far more effective.
And then you’ve got your crossbow, for some quick distance killing. Did I say distance killing? I meant completely ineffectual tool that hurts about as much as a generous tax return. As for enemies, their AI is about as clever as their design.
An upgrade system allows for you to pool your collection of blood for upgrades, but Bloodforge is more tight-fisted than Ebenezer Scrooge before his epiphany with this, with the selection of skills being narrow, and upgrade shrines being rarer than an Nigerian Prince who actually does need help getting his millions of dollars out of the country.
And by clever, I mean completely stolen from other horror games, and then giving enough of a cosmetic change to ward off hungry copyright lawyers. They’re so stupid in combat, you’d swear that the gods had unleashed a special education class on you, only with more steroids and gray skin tones.
Lets talk again about that camera. I’m all for the idea of having a more dynamic camera, but the one in Bloodforge is shakier than Michael Bay on a shooting his next explodathon. It’s nauseating, I can’t go five minutes without feeling seasick.
While you can still move the camera around, the automatic ghost behind it seems to have been inspired by the SAW movies, as it constantly repositions the angle to the worst possible side, with environments and textures completely obscuring the view during crucial battle scenes. When you’re making a combat game, having a camera system that is more delayed than a bus into town is not a great design decision.
Add to that an auto-targeting system that is more broken than a Liverpool football team, and you’ll find yourself ineffectively swatting away at empty spaces, while your foes wait politely for you to finish before they swarm in again.
There’s a litany of mistakes made in Bloodforge that I could go on about, but I’ll say this, Don’t buy the damn game. It’s a complete waste of MS points.
The potential for gameplay is there, but its wasted more than my friends at a bar on Friday night. Dodging is terrible, enemies, though incredibly and fully retarded, have the strength of Hercules, making for unpredictable spikes in difficulty, while the light RPG elements are a throwaway idea that feels like a haphazard add-on.
Design and Presentation: 4/10
At first, Bloodforge seems pretty awesome actually. The stark contrast between light and dark is interesting, but after five minutes, you’ll find your eyes bleeding by the intense white and black textures, while muddy scenes make finding an enemy akin to a game of hide and go seek.
And don’t forget all the lovely texture-streaming, pop-up graphics and glitchy visual objects!
So you’ve got 1200 points to spend, and want a game that’s over in around five hours, will give you headaches and broken controllers? Hey, be my guest, and purchase Bloodforge then. Otherwise, stay patient and rather invest in something more worthwhile like Trials Evolution, or the upcoming Minecraft.
Generally, when playing a bad game, I’m more disappointed or underwhelmed by terrible ideas and execution. Bloodforge however, is the first game that makes me furious when I play it. So many missed opportunities, all wrapped up in a generic premise that has stolen from other, superior games.
The only thing brutal about this game, is that the developers had the gall to ask people for cash for it.
[Reviewed on X-Box 360, with much regret]
Bloodforge was reviewed by Darryn Bonthuys