Friday, 17 January 2014

Forced: Aptly Named if you want to Finish it

This is a cooperative game that feels a lot like an intense version of Torchlight. Up to four people can play together as a team of gladiators who are trying to pass a whole bunch of demonic trials that test both their combat skills and intelligence. Your choice of weapon determines your class and with only four to choose from and no duplicates it might seem very limiting, and that is intentional. The number of opponents multiplies based on the number of players but you will still have a better chance with more people because of the unique mechanic in the game: the spirit guide.

More like spirit ball.

Regardless of how many players you have, there is only one spirit ball (who happens to be a smart-ass). Every player can call it to wherever they are currently standing and it interacts with whatever it flies over making it the key to defeating each arena. Hover it over a healing shrine and it will heal you for a bit. Make it go over a flaming hand and it gets a powerful explosive charge that will detonate when it hits something or someone - players included!

There is a bit of replayability too in that each challenge has 3 gems up for grabs. The more gems you have the more skills and abilities are unlocked. One gem comes simply from completing a room. Another always is time based (so completing the room in x seconds) and the last one is a special challenge in each chamber like take no damage. It really seems geared well to encourage cooperation, alas it is in the extra stuff where it falls down.

My two main gripes being no in-built mic support and no save points in co-op mode (as far as I've found) meaning you'll need to play the whole thing in one sitting. This really ruins the experience a fair bit for us because it's not a short enough game for that path. Pity, given all the other thought they implemented for co-op multiplayer those seem like odd things to overlook. For that reason I give it two blood thirsty demons out of five, and cannot really recommend it to people that can only play in small doses.

Update: Looks like there are coop save points now which certainly makes it more playable. Unfortunately I think this ship has mostly sailed for my gaming group which got annoyed during the stages of non-saving.

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