You could say the same thing about the Gears-style "roadie run" sprinting. The barely controllable run often causes the screen to jitter uncomfortably. And in the case of a particular boss battle, when you have a limited time to run at full speed away from a charging monstrosity, it's a mess. For some reason, developer inXile chose to throw in useless cover spots between you and your destination, making it easy to slide into cover by accident when you need to charge forward. In fact, that entire boss fight is a mess. When you first enter the arena, you are prompted to hold a button so that the camera can redirect your focus to a key event, as so many games do nowadays. But you aren't given enough time to react, or even understand what is going on, before you're crushed to a pulp. (Hello, trial and error.) Hunted is fond of taking away control in this manner. During the final boss battle, for example, the camera pulls away to show you spires falling over, multiple times. But all the while, skeletons stream toward you. You might still take damage from this undead crowd, but you can't do anything about it, because Hunted: The Demon's Forge prioritizes cinematic excess over basic playability.
These are but some of the examples of flaws that might have been minor had they not been part of an ever-growing stack of them. It's possible you can overlook the aberrations in favor of the basic fun Hunted doles out amid all this silliness, but some problems aren't so easily forgivable. A scripting error can keep a bridge from falling after battle, causing you to wander around aimlessly until you realize a bug has wasted your time. (The only fix: reload.) In the Xbox 360 version, a crash at the very end of the final boss fight could force you to spend more not-so-quality time with those pesky skeletons. On the PC, you may not even get to take advantage of online co-op, Hunted's central feature. Trying to join someone's game generally gets you booted back to the menu a few moments later, and hosting your own game isn't likely to be more successful. Few players are currently able to hook up, but if you should somehow manage it, don't expect a fully-featured experience. There is no text chat or built-in voice communication; you could use an outside chat program, but that need runs contrary to the purpose of matchmaking in the first place. Nor do PC players get the split-screen play included on consoles, but it's hardly a great loss: the tiny bit of screen real estate granted to each player makes this a pitiable, last-resort option.
It's amazing that with all these issues, Hunted: The Demon's Forge isn't an awful game, but rather an underperformer. And though it's easy to call out the many issues, Hunted has qualities worth polite applause, though not a full ovation. You might at first be annoyed that you can buy and upgrade skills only at specified locations, and can do so only when joined by your partner. But this is actually a sensible solution that ensures that your buddy doesn't leave you to the spiders while he tinkers in menus. The voice acting and soundtrack are both dramatic, giving this world an air of urgency and occasionally subverting the drama with a touch of wit. You sometimes commune with the dead, their spirits rising from their corpses, mourning their own lives and telling you of demons and dragon hunters. These soliloquies are well acted and well written, and it's worth pausing to listen and soak in the ambience. Hunted is not big on ambience as a rule, however--not unless you consider "brown" as a kind of atmosphere. This is not an attractive game. Its goal: be as dark as possible. That's a fine goal in a game blessed with good lighting and art, but Hunted looks murky even in daylight, the grimy enemies getting lost against dingy castle walls. The PC version is the best-looking of the three, as you may expect, but even there, you can't escape the texture pop-in (morphing from barely existent to mediocre), or art design that declares "generic dungeon crawl ahead."
Don't dismiss Hunted as a complete disaster. Smashing an enemy frozen temporarily in ice? Frigid fun. Finding an elemental weapon in a secret hiding place? Satisfying. Zapping a roaring beast with lightning? Electric. But for every moment of fun, there's something ridiculous to add to the list of oddities. Rubble that rises three inches off the ground and generates a cover prompt when you near it. Invisible walls in bizarre places, keeping your arrows from finding their marks. Overused contextual prompts that might have you performing a finisher when you have only a few crucial moments to toss your fallen comrade a revival elixir. How much fun you have with Hunted: The Demon's Forge depends on how willing you are to overlook those oddities in favor of the bigger picture. You could say the same about most games, but then again, few games with so much promise suffer under the weight of a thousand and one tiny pebbles.