But wait! It gets better! Seriously. It does.
It may seem like I'm tearing Hunted apart, but if you already peeked at the score before reading this, (I know you did, cheater!) you know this game must not be all bad. And it's not. Some parts are actually quite good. Caddoc and E'lara each play differently. Learning to coordinate successful attacks using their strengths and weaknesses can be very rewarding. You'll start off the game using either Caddoc's brawny melee attacks or E'lara's dexterous bow attacks. Both characters are capable of switching fighting styles in a pinch, but I wouldn't advise it.
As the game progresses you'll begin to unlock magic. Your spells come in two flavors, Weapon Magic, which is unique to each character, and Battle Magic, which both characters can access. Using this magic you can really start dishing out damage to the many variations of
Orcs Wargar you'll face. E'lara can clear the battlefield with things like explosive or freezing arrows. Caddoc can go into a rage mode or levitate enemies, making foes helpless targets for E'lara's bow attacks. Eventually you'll figure out how to link spells and supply your partner with a Battle Charge, which acts as an attack and defense buff.
Once Caddoc smashed the vodka luge, the party was pretty much over.
With all this talk of spells and buffs, you may be curious about the role-playing elements. They're there, the same way they're present in God of War. That's "God," not "Gears." If you've ever powered up Kratos through one of his adventures, you get the idea. There are six spells for each character, and you upgrade them with collected crystals. You can only do this at a checkpoint. Other stats, like your damage and defense, automatically increase as you kill enemies or find other collectibles. The whole "Abilities" and "Talents" system is incredibly shallow for an RPG, but perfect for an action game.
Did I mention collectibles? Hunted: The Demon's Forge has tons of them. Crystals increase your magic, Death Stones add to your Lore, and Dragon Tears increase your co-op skills, like Battle Charge and Spell Link. You can rescue captured prisoners for some additional back story. Your constantly picking up something. Even the gold you pick up is used to unlock items in the game's map editor, the Crucible.
You will find weapons, shields, and armor on the battlefield. Each has attack or defense, possible magical properties, and a unique name. Most times you just pick the one with the bigger number and continue on to the next enemy. Later, you'll be able to carry two different versions of your main weapon (Caddoc gets two melee weapons, E'lara gets two bows.) Click a thumbstick to switch between the two. That's pretty much the extent of your inventory management.
"There can be only one!" Best. Documentary. Ever.
Playing Hunted online is a blast. One player controls E'lara, the other Caddoc. No, you can't have two half-naked elves running around. Each player takes their spoils back with them to their game at the end of the session. Since there is no XP, this comes in the form of weapons, kill counts, and collectibles. Most "Talents" and "Abilitie"s are unlocked according to combined kill counts. For example: If you partner with someone as Caddoc, your own version of E'lara will be powered-up as well.
Another example: A fellow Co-Optimus editor joined me for a game. He was just starting out, but he was able to collect some high quality gear from my game, since I was further than him in the campaign. Since the characters don't have "levels" or "level restrictions" in the traditional RPG sense, he was able to start his own campaign armed to the teeth. The game even allowed him to choose from the levels that we completed in co-op, despite him not actually getting there in his campaign.
When hosting or joining a game, you are placed in "Negotiations." In this screen you can choose the level, difficulty, and character you'd like to play. You can see the other player's choices here as well. You have access to any level, as long as one player has been there before. There are six chapters, and these have six sub-chapters each. As I was playing I noticed each sub-chapter took about twenty to thirty minutes to complete, and you end up with a twelve to sixteen hour game by the time it's over.