Blood on the floor, the walls, and the ceiling.
When Bloodforge starts, the player's character, Crom, immediately slays and slashes the throat of a huge deer in the forest. Blood sprays out violently all over the snow, all over Crom. Then the burly guy with a skull mask slings the buck over his back and marches off for home. When he gets there, there's blood everywhere, everything is on fire, and four guys are about to murder his wife.
Bloodforge is a hack-'n'-slash murder spree that propels players down a gigantic county-fair slide of violence. The big selling point here is that this downloadable Xbox Live Arcade title is budget-priced and heavy-handed with its blood-slick presentation.
Unfortunately, everything else isn't very good. Despite aping some well-received action games like God of War and God of War II… and God of War III (and I'm assuming the PSP God of War games just for good measure), Bloodforge maintains a shallow depth throughout, leaving players too soaked in the hemoglobin of their enemies to care about anything else.
As cinematically presented as all the violence and cutting is, it's pervasive, with blood literally drenching every frame of the game world. Bloodforge deals in a lot of red, a lot of white, and a lot of black that kind of looks red, so maybe it's just old blood that's gotten dried out.
You'll repeatedly lop off the heads, arms, and legs off your enemies in brutal finishing moves. You'll also cleave them right in two at the waist…. over… and over again. This guy Crom can't catch a break, and neither will you. Unfortunately, that means you'll want to turn off the game and walk away for long periods of time.
As you progress through the story, Crom will pick up new weapons, like a giant hammer, and new abilities linked to different button combinations. Crom's special attacks are literally powered by the blood he spills, giving him a rage-mode and the ability to summon Gods who'll aid Crom in combat.
It's not like you'll need much help, though. Early on in the game I lost a lot of health and never fully understood how to gain any of it back. Regardless, enemies telegraphed their attacks so far in advance that a quick, seemingly invincible dodge manuever consistently took me right out of harm's way.
That's all forgivable. I mean, you're supposed to be this huge guy with bloodlust. How could Climax possibly NOT make you all-powerful. What isn't forgivable is the absolutely horrid camera. Action games are directly based on seeing where you are, where your enemies are, and whether you're in danger. Bloodforge makes that nearly impossible. Oftentimes, the camera will swing around so you can't see your enemies… or your enemies will swing around so that the camera can't see them.
Adjusting the camera yourself is like being forced to touch a cactus. You're like "Shit, I have to touch this thing or I'm going to die," so you touch it, it hurts you, and you start bleeding. Finally, you just say "Fuck it!", slap the goddamn cactus, perferate your hand, and then you bleed out and die alone in the desert.
Needless to say, I hated it. And you will too, so don't spend your money on this when there's a ton of other great games out there. I suppose if you absolutely have to buy Bloodforge because you're dabbling in a unique form of economic S&M, you might find some guilty pleasure here.
Still, your hands will be soaked in blood, and your gamertag will have the game's Achievements on it, so we'll know what you did. And you will be mocked for it. Just like Crom… and his dead wife.