Slip your head into the antlered skull helm of stab-happy warrior Crom as he carves a swath of blood across the land. While there is no forging, or forgery for that matter, Bloodforge does offer buckets and buckets of blood in a revenge fueled hack and slash adventure.
If you’re looking for a deep narrative, keep looking. Bloodforge offers the bare bones revenge tale of Crom the perpetual yelling barbarian. After a day of hunting in the forest Crom settles in for a little shirtless nap in the snow, he has a strange dream involving some God or another, and when he wakes up his home is on fire! After murdering the crap out of the dudes who presumably burned his house down Crom is tricked into murdering the crap out of his wife. Thus setting in motion a quest to take down not just the one God but all the Gods. Motivations are mostly unclear and things get kind of convoluted, personally I think the whole story is just a hypothermia induced coma dream brought on by that snow siesta.
The brawling hack and slash gameplay that is the heart of Bloodforge is sufficiently gory, satisfying, and fun. Or it would be if it wasn’t so totally broken. The requisite over sized weapons are present along with just two attack buttons and their limited combinations. During your skirmishes you’ll inevitably daze an enemy which brings up Crom’s finishers. Turn a foe into a headless fountain of blood or a writhing legless dying in a pool of his own blood jerk who never should have messed with you in the first place! These execution moves vary based on the weapon in hand and are gruesome… and awesome.
Unfortunately a few key gameplay/design decisions break the goodness. Combat is fast and typically involves multiple opponents, so why with a third person perspective do we have no way to lock on to a single enemy? There isn’t a block function either which leaves Crom with only evasive rolls for defense. These things might be forgiven and mostly ignored if not for the camera exacerbating the problems. This evil creature called “camera” doesn’t pivot right and frequently gets hung up on the environment.
The visuals of Bloodforge are a plus with a gothic style and under saturated palette featuring generous amounts of blood that help set the tone and deepen the mood.
Unfortunately with so many other outstanding Xbox Live Arcade titles it’s hard to give Bloodforge a solid recommendation. With no demo available we’re looking at a buyer beware situation. If you happen to be a big time, BIG TIME, fan of those hack and slash beat ’em up type games go ahead and look into this one. If you’re not however, I hear Trials Evolution is pretty good.