Review (XBLA): BloodForge

The newly released hack-and-slash game BloodForge features Crom, a war-weary warrior who gave up the days of battle to settle down with his beautiful wife. Based around the Celtic mythology, you find references to Gods, deities and folklore of the age.
When you’re introduced to Crom, he’s out on a successful hunting expedition and stops to rest being woken up by the terror his nightmare instills in him. Racing to his village, it is being pillaged by demons sent by the angry Celtic gods.
Since hack-and-slash games are based around fighting, they need combat that flows easily from one enemy to another. BloodForge does this well, making high combo scores an achievable goal. It also doubles as a button masher. As X is your main combat button, it’s easy to spam until everyone is sliced into neat little packages. You also can use the power of the Gauntlet to improve your fighting abilities. While you do have access to a long-range hunting bow, without the ability to aim, it seems pointless to use unless approaching closer enemies.
The most amazing thing about this game is its graphics. BloodForge has dark gritty visuals and when you combine that with the crimson blood that enemies seem to be giving away, it’s a mix of beauty and terror. The floor under Crom’s feet become almost artistic once you’ve finished with a group of foes.
The game is a visual gore-fest and I think that the almost comical use of blood and the art style are trying to make the impact of dismembered bodies and limbs less of a shock. It works to a degree. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t let a young person play even if the violence isn’t made to be realistic.
Celtic mythology is incredibly interesting and diverse, but it seems to be more of a gimmick than anything else and the story seems to be just thrown in. This isn’t a bad thing since I don’t normally play games like BloodForge for the story. These games tend to have a story thrown together and jammed in to make it work.
BloodForge is visually wonderful and fun to play. It feels a little rushed with some glitches presenting themselves at the most annoying times, but they’re easily overlooked when you’ve achieved a 40+ hit combo. Not a game I’d play for the story, but after a hard day at work, this game will scratch the itch that will distress you.

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