Previews

Hunted The Demons Forge: Gears of War meets World of Warcraft?

Or the Elder Scrolls does Dark Alliance...

After a lengthy period of self-imposed exile, the dungeon crawler has re-emerged into the light.

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Diablo 3, Dungeon Siege 3, War in the North, 2011 is less about moral muddiness and more about angrily eviscerating billions of identikit imps and looting their innards for goodies.

Hunted is InXile's bite at the cherry; InXile's founder Brian Fargo being one of the founding fathers of the genre in his Interplay days.

Hunted is far darker and more disturbing in tone than even the most unhinged of Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood excursions. A blight is sweeping the land; vassals are disappearing, and monsters are emerging from the obsidian bowels of the land.

Our heroes begin as callous mercs, though as the journey becomes ever-sicker - the canker ever more cancerous - their more chivalrous qualities begin to surface.

So, aside from some gorgeous, Unreal 3-powered fantasy environs, what new mechanics does Hunted bring to the party? Co-op actioning for a start: E'lara with her bow and Caddoc the master swordsman, working in tandem to muller legions of hellspawn.

But what's the gimmick? That'd be cover. One player will use Caddoc as a tank, charging into the fray, while E'lara squats behind a cairn pinging volleys of arrows like a pneumatic chested Legolas.

We're liking the idea of the titular Forge too.

One of the standout dungeon romps of the last decade - 2003's The Temple of Elemental Evil - used its setting-as-star, as your beleaguered party ascended ever more punishing floors of the sanctuary.

Hopefully as our band descend - Dante-style - into the mysterious Forge, similarly twisted layers will reveal themselves.

So, 'Gears of Warcraft' it is then - with all the myriad possibilities for both triumph and disaster that concoction heralds.

InXile have some previous in this genre (their last major Xbox outing - A Bard's Tale - was smart and wellreceived), and our limited time with code has shown off a game with big ambitions and plenty of secrets. We like the cut of this one's giblets.

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