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Bloodforge Review

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On 05/08/2012 at 05:25 PM by Nick DiMola

Smooth combat is requisite for a brawler in 2012.

Not Recommended

From the very first moments of the game, it’s made clear that Bloodforge is heavily inspired by the God of War series. So inspired that developer Climax Entertainment decided to crib a sizeable portion of that experience in order to create the Microsoft Studios published brawler. However, calling it derivative of the Sony series would be giving it too much credit. Copying only the most basic of elements from the popular series, Bloodforge is a one-dimensional game that won’t hold most gamers’ attention.

The apparent thievery begins at the source. Bloodforge tells the tale of Crom, an angry warrior who is tricked by the gods and accidentally slays his own family. Seeking vengeance, Crom sets out on a quest to kill everyone who has wronged him and anyone who stands in his way. Sound familiar? It should, because it's the exact basis for the original God of War. Did I mention that Crom is really pissed off all the time too?

After being acquainted with the story, players are given control of Crom and released upon the game world. The gameplay quickly presents itself to be extremely similar to that of God of War, but before long it becomes clear that Crom's agility is nowhere near that of Kratos'. Combos don't often execute smoothly and navigating around to deal with the wealth of enemies can be a clunky affair.

The biggest problem comes from the unreliable staggering of opponents. It's never clear when you're combo will knockback an opponent and allow you to continue attacking them. Often your attacks will land with little impact, especially on some of the larger foes. This can make it very hard to properly use Crom's arsenal of moves effectively.

Regretfully the move set is mostly ineffectual as are the majority of your weapons. Most "combos" don’t deal much damage and only the sword manages to be particularly effective for the bulk of the battles. The hammer can absolutely deal damage, but it's often too slow to avoid being hit and the crossbow is too weak to do anything useful. Most of the special moves don't carry much weight and can only sparsely be used because the bar it draws from isn't frequently refilled.

By performing kills after making an opponent dizzy (one hit before death), tapping the Y button will perform a brutal kill. These are pointlessly violent, but help build up a blood meter, which can be used to activate a berserker mode. Only after countless uses is it apparent that while it makes you faster and stronger, it's often harder to land hits and avoid getting stuck in a combo while you miss enemies and your blood meter discharges.

What makes all of the combat even more of a challenge is the simple fact that there's no indication of how much life any given enemy has at a point in time. Subsequently, this makes it impossible to vary your approach to combat. Typically in a brawler if you had some indication that an enemy you were engaging would die soon, you might fight more aggressively, rather than the conservative approach of chipping away a life bar. Without an indication of health, you're forced to tackle each battle with conservative tactics, which frequently makes the already long battles take even longer.

This is facilitated in part by the lack of readily available health. Sparse health drops are scattered throughout the world, making it very tough to keep up with the constant onslaught. The issue really comes to a head in boss battles when you die. You'll be respawned with just half of your health; an amount that won't likely get you through the battle, especially with particular bosses.

Boss quality and challenge is also all over the board. The first fight against a giant Cyclops, which was copied straight from a similar battle in God of War, proved extremely easy and was even complete with quick time events. However, other boss fights are incredibly hard thanks to a flurry of unavoidable attacks. While a block button would've made these encounters much more tolerable, players only have the option to roll away from an attack (bet this sounds familiar too…).

Rolling during the middle of any battle establishes its own brand of problems unrelated to the typically clunky action. Because you're often blitzed by enemies, rolling is happening nearly all the time, which causes the camera to go into spasms. If you happen to roll up against one of the invisible walls, the camera will get stuck oscillating back and forth uncontrollably. God forbid you happen to head into an alcove where the camera manually moves into a static location, you'll have an unbelievable amount of trouble making it out without getting slaughtered.

Bloodforge's drab color palette, puzzle-less environments, and flat experience don't make any of the rest of the gameplay any more tolerable. I've always been a vocal detractor of the God of War series due to its repetitive nature, but Bloodforge makes it look like a masterpiece of the genre. If Climax's intention was to copy that series, they should've paid closer attention.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




05/08/2012 at 06:32 PM

Based on the picture of that one hapless enemy getting his guts ripped out in a fountain of blood, I can tell this game has a copious amount of the body fluid to go around. Who would have known that erythrocytes, leukocytes, and thrombocytes would make for such amazing home decorating? Bob Villa never told me about any of this! The is something the Villa doesn't know!

Stanton Daries Staff Alumnus

05/09/2012 at 01:08 AM

Isn't Crom the name of the god Conan follows?


06/21/2012 at 08:03 PM

 What cheeses me is if I accidentally roll back in through a portal I have to complete the whole level again. Cool musical backdrop though...

Our Take

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

06/21/2012 at 11:01 PM

You know, I tried the demo for this game and thought it was an okay title. Visceral if perhaps shallow. From your review, it seems like this game fails in its fundamentals. This attack should do this but doesn't. This weapon should help in this way but won't.

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