Platform | Release Date
XBLA | April 25, 2012
Developed by Climax Studios
Published by Microsoft Studios
It is an ancient world of myth and legend. Powerful gods rule, and vicious tribes swear allegiance to them. One warrior stands free: Crom. He has given up battle in favour of his family. But the gods brutally decide to drag him back in to their fight, leaving Crom with only one option: Revenge.
With a brutal combat system, stunning art style, and a deeply compelling story, Bloodforge empowers you to slaughter hordes of demonic soldiers, deformed worshippers, and the gods themselves, using ferocious Rage Kills, devastating Rune attacks, and furious Weapon Combos. Help seal Crom’s fate – and the fate of the rest of the world – in this dark, visceral story of revenge, betrayal, and destiny.
At first glance, Bloodforge appears to be more than just another XBOX Live Arcade game. Based on the screenshots, it looks like a high-budget title that one would expect to pay full price for. Based on the trailers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that it may have a chance against the likes of God of War. Based on the fact that Bloodforge was made by the same team behind Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, one might even hedge their bets on it being at least a decent game.
If one were to believe all of that, then allow me act as a voice of reason.
The game may look great in its promo materials, but the visuals are ultimately detrimental to the experience. The two-tone color palette and lack of physical landmarks make navigating the linear worlds more troublesome than they should be. Oftentimes after a skirmish, I lost track of where I was going because the worlds all look the same. The only saving grace in this scenario are the glowing red markers that outline the path, but they don’t appear with enough frequency to save you from aimless wandering.
Though it strives to provide God of War-style action, it fails to capture a number of key elements that make God of War fun. The encounters almost always involve fending off slow-moving swarms of hard-to-kill enemies, leaving little variety in combat. Without the ability to block, counter, or effectively clear a crowd, you’re ill-equipped to deal with these swarms. God of War throws in platforming and puzzle-solving as a means to add variety. Bloodforge on the other hand doesn’t have any sort of secondary gameplay mechanics to spice things up. Even the boss fights, which appear to be a bright spot at first, ultimately fall flat due to the repetitive nature of each battle.
Bloodforge suffers from a number of technical problems as well. Unlike God of War, it opts to use a user-controlled camera that is more problematic than helpful. Focus is too close on the main character and it constantly moves out of place in the heat of battle. When the camera misbehaves as often as it does, you’re bound to attack in the wrong direction more often than not.
To make matters worse on the technical front, there were a number of instances where I ran into bugs. Enemies froze in mid-air when I launched them. They spawned behind barriers that prevented them from entering the fray. There was one instance where I jumped in the air and did a downward strike, only to descend like an elevator through the floor. The funniest of these bugs occurred multiple times during one-on-one skirmishes, where my opponent would stop fighting me and run backwards through the level. Once I caught up, my enemy would be standing in place, shaking his fist, waiting for me to hit them.
Judging by the promo materials and the the developer’s past success, Bloodforge could have been a winner. Instead, a combination of deep-rooted design flaws and bugs make this a poor God of War clone. Even at the price of 1200 Microsoft Points, this one isn’t worth your money or your time.