Bloodforge Review


Bloodforge, the second entry in Microsoft’s Arcade NEXT promotion launched on April 25th, but can it stand up to the serious successor of Trials Evolution, the previous release in this promotion?

Meet Crom, a big strong guy who plans on taking revenge on the Gods – a story we’re all too familiar with at this point. Straight away, you’re going to notice some similarities to God of War when you start playing through Bloodforge. You start the game with your basic sword and a gauntlet that absorbs the blood of your enemies, which in turns makes you stronger.

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Story isn’t the strong point in Bloodforge and if that’s what you’re looking for then I suggest you pass on this title. However, if you’re looking for bloody, gory action and severed limbs, stick with it!  Short cinematics appear frequently during the game to try and keep you entertained with the story, but simply you – you won’t care. It’s predictable and it’s been done time and time again.

Bloodforge deploys a mix of inspiration not only from God of War, but from titles like Splatterhouse and Devil May Cry. Decapitation and other excessively gruesome attacks play no stranger to the wrath of Crom. Early on you won’t have too many moves to work with, but as you continue the story you’ll be able to purchase new attacks as well as new weapons that drastically change up the gameplay. Battles can be slightly difficult as you’ll frequently find yourself surround by four or more enemies simultaneously, and they won’t wait politely to take their turn at killing you. Using a mix of dodging rolls and quick attacks can usually take down most enemies with ease.

Once your ‘blood meter’ is filled you can actually enter a berserker rage-induced most where you’re faster and more powerful, and you’ll find it’s pretty decent for quickly tearing through enemies. If enemies are stunned, you can do a heavy attack finishing move that results in cinematic bloody greatness.

Like the DMC series, each battle throughout the story will be rated with a letter grade, and this is a feature that you can share with friends. How’s that you ask? You can work towards the best grades in your battles and share them in ‘Blood Duel’ mode where you can see scores and ratings of your friends, and challenge to top their scores. It’s not a pure multiplayer mode by any means, but it’s something else to look into if you care about that stuff.

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Bloodforge is pretty sweet when it comes to its visuals, but it has a few shortcomings as well. The game has a very dark tone to it and often looks like a graphic novel that has come to life. The camera does a wobbling-motion when you move in the game, and at first it could present you with slight nausea, but once you’re used to it, it’ll make you feel more like you’re in Croms’ shoes.

The world itself is usually littered with forests and various pathways, all of which end up at the same place eventually. It’s pretty linear, but if you want to find all the hidden chests and recovery items, you’ll at least need to endure a small amount of exploration. There are a total of six worlds to trek through, but each one uses a very similar style to the next so you end up feeling like the whole game looks the same.

Bloodforge isn’t a bad game by any means, but it’s not great either. It has God of War-inspired combat, but it’s not as fun in that aspect, and it lacks the story and likeable characters, whether they’re protagonists or antagonists. The worlds all feel too much alike, and outside of the brutal combat sequences the game doesn’t really offer much more for its players. Climax Studios has done a decent job if they’re aiming toward a simple hack ‘n slash, but don’t expect Bloodforge to offer anything more.

Final Score: 6/10


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