Bloodforge starts out by introducing you to Crom, a warrior that turned his back on battle and set out to lead a quiet life with his wife. While Crom makes his way home with food, he stops to rest. As he sleeps he experiences a nightmare like no other. He experiences a vision like no other, which leads to wake and find that his village is nothing more than a fiery ruin.
As Crom returns to his village he finds his wife in danger, where he tells her to run. From here you then fight off a group of enemies, but then you’re tricked into killing your own wife. From here Crom is guided towards the Bloodforge where he starts his journey of revenge on the gods.
Your overall experience will be spent hacking away and tough enemies, which will hinder your progress if you let them. If you’ve played hack and slash games before, then this one is no different, but it does have a few additions that a lot of other hack and slash games lack. Even though there isn’t a multiplayer, you do have leaderboard, which allow you to complete with your friend, and there is also an arena mode where you can put your skills to the test. This also allows you to post challenges for your friends to try and beat.
There is quite a lot of replay value if you take into score grinding into account, but you will also have to replay levels if you want to find all the upgrades and obtain all the various achievements. The graphical style used it quite unique and for an arcade title provides you with the same quality you would expect from some retail releases.
You’re not provided with a selection of difficulties, but the game can give you issues if you’re not ready for the enemies ahead. There are ways to replenish health and other skills, but they’re few and far between. With these items being so few and far between you need to learn how to fight each enemy type. All enemies have a very basic move range; you just need to work out what they’re capable of, and how to avoid their attacks.
Overall the audio is very well suited to the situations you find yourself in. Music always kicks in when a battle start, which always keeps you, engaged and breaks up the drones of the enemy’s pain. There are also subtle undertones that convey the different areas of the game. So if you find yourself with some downtime between fights while exploring, you won’t find yourself listening to footsteps and drones from the environment.
Graphically the game holds it own against many other titles. The art style is very unique and creative. Even though the game is running off the Unreal Engine, the performance is extremely high with very little to no performance issues. With progression you will notice each stage has its own visual representation of the personal hell Crom has to endure.
At time you will see bits of the environment flicker or vanish and re-appear but it doesn’t take anything away from the overall experience. This only seems to happen when there is a lot going on, but it’s only noticeable if you’re close the area affected by the issue.
The game’s story and writing is fairly straightforward with slight hints towards what’s going on at the start and end of the each level. You will be somewhat guided by what you have to do, then further information unravels at the end on each stage. Your primary goal is to punish those who have caused you to suffer. There are very little progressive elements placed within the game, but for an action game the story is always present in some form.
Even though the story interactions are brief, the information is substantial enough to fuel the cause of why you’re entering the Bloodforge and your goal. The story is fairly short, but simple enough to follow with all the action.
Bloodforge is very much like your general hack and slash adventure, but instead of destroying hoards of enemies, you challenge smaller groups but with an added extra challenge of beating your friends score if you so wish. As you progress you will pick up weapon, health and ability upgrades, but you’re also ranked on your performance as you fight each enemy group. Doing so will reward you with blood that can be compared via leaderbaords with your friends.
The game is very linear but broken up into several paths for each area. You have plenty of time to explore each patch if you so wish, and you may also find updates, runes or items to aid your quest. With the hidden items, updates, blood and friend blood scores, there are plenty of reasons to replay through levels to better you score.
You also have the added extra of the arena mode where you can challenge your friends to beat your score and overall progress in that arena map.
The biggest flaw that seems to cause the most issues is the games camera. While in battle the camera will jerk around while you’re being attacked and cause you to become disorientated. The camera will also become obscured or leave you open to attack as you can’t see what’s coming. This can be quite troublesome at times as it can result in death even though it could easily be avoided.
Controls are another big factor here, they work extremely well, but at times they feel slightly off or have a slight delay to them. This is mostly obvious when you’re trying to dodge or access the radial menus for your runes and health abilities. Once you get used to this though, it doesn’t really get in the way of the fighting.
Bloodforge provides you with an effective set of tools and skills to cut your enemies down. The experience the game provides is interesting, though short. The story clocks in just over 8 hours, but it has plenty of competitive replay value. You will find that enemies get repetitive, as there isn’t much variety outside the first two levels other than the bosses themselves. The biggest setback for the title is the camera issues. Apart from these minor issues the game is enjoyable and well worth the experience. Some players may feel the price is too high for this title, but this game offers a lot more than most for the same price range.