In Defense of.....Bloodforge
For those that may not know, Bloodforge is a 3rd person hack 'n slash game released in April as part of Microsoft's "Arcade Next" promotion (where it was overshadowed by the releases of Trials Evolution and Minecraft Xbox 360 edition).
Bloodforge was met with scathing reviews (currently holding a 43 on Metacritic) but decent success in its first week on the market (approx. 15,000 sales). I didn't buy it at launch, but rather picked it up about a month ago. After finishing it up last week, I feel compelled to to defend the game as competent (and honestly, very good) hack 'n slash game. But instead of writing a review, I thought I would try to address some of the negative criticisms it received from other reviewing outlets.
"It's too difficult!"
This is a complaint I've seen levied against Bloodforge several time, whether in reviews or on message boards. Bloodforge isn't an easy game, but I thought the difficulty curve was fair. There aren't a ton of health pick ups in the game (something modern gamers have been spoiled with) and when you die, you restart at your previous checkpoint with the same amount of health you had, rather than having a full health bar.
Despite that, I think the complaints of "it's too difficult" are coming from people who didn't take the time to figure out how to properly play the game. Bloodforge features an evade move by pressing LT + Left Stick in the direction you want to roll. Mastering this simple but important maneuver will mean that you can make it through ambush after ambush while barely taking a hit.
In 2012, I don't understand how the word "derivative" can be used as a criticism of a game. Very few games releasing today focus on bringing something new to the table, just look at the amount of sequels we get every fall (Halo is on 6, COD has got to be nearing 10, Assassin's Creed 5, etc.)
Bloodforge was meant to be a discounted God of War clone, and that's what it is. A fun hack 'n slash game. It uses some characters from Celtic lore and features a variety of enemies with different attack patterns, 5 decent bosses, and a moody dark setting. Those who went in expecting more were setting themselves up for disappointment.
"Wonky Camera and Controls"
I'll admit that when I booted up Bloodforge I had to get used to the camera. Quite simply, it's too fast. I'm not sure why there's not a camera speed setting in the options, but there probably should be one.
However, by the time I got to the second level, I was 100% used to the camera. Maybe my ability to get used to the camera so quickly stems from my N64 days where the camera was sometimes the biggest enemy in the game.
Another complaint was that sometimes the camera adjusts itself during the fighting sequences. My guess is that it was done as a stylized effect (and I actually liked it) but I can fully understand the complaints from others that it would disorient you on the battlefield, and make it more difficult to line up your next attacks.
As for the controls, I never had any major problems with them. Sometimes you would chain a combo together and miss your target but still have to finish out the attack animation, but that pretty much happens in any hack 'n slash game.
"Technical and Other complaints"
There were some technical complaints with the game as well. I'm not a purist of any sort, but I didn't notice much screen-tearing as others had mentioned. I did however notice a lot of invisible walls (a huge pet peeve of mine) which cut off any sort of exploration aspect of the game.
Others bemoaned the story and narrative of the game. I personally don't play video games for the story (at all!) so I didn't care about this complaint. Story seemed on par with God of War and other hack 'n slash games I've played. But like I said, I don't care about the story in games one bit. I'll watch a movie if I want a good story.
Overall, I'd easily give this game an 8.0-8.5 on a 10-point scale. It's a fun game with a few quirks, but nothing that can't be easily overcome with a little patience and understanding of how the game is supposed to be played. I'd implore hack 'n slash fans not to overlook this game despite the rough reviews it received. It's a quality title and well worth your time!