Bloodforge, available from Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft Points, is an interesting addition to the Arcade Next lineup. It’s a combination of an over-the-shoulder action title with a traditional fighting game, replete with all the usual battle combos and intense blood and gore.

Crom of Bloodforge

Download the demo or pick up the full Bloodforge game.

You play Crom, a war-weary veteran who has carved out a nice life for himself with his beautiful wife. But in the short but brutal intro, that life is torn to shreds as his home is destroyed and his wife threatened by invading soldiers. After dealing with the threat, a cut scene has you accidentally killing your own wife. Why? Soon, a goddess in the shape of a crow alights and begins to fill you in on the game’s back story. Apparently, the leader of the gods is angered at Crom and has sent him these tribulations. This particular goddess wants the same thing as Crom: revenge. Things are about to get bloody.

Enemies of Bloodforge

The intriguing storyline mixed with the overall beautiful graphics elevates the fighting game to a new level. Enemy design is also well done with some rather remarkable, and gruesome, baddies to slay. Sometimes, you just want to slow the battle down so you can look around you.

But battle is what this game is all about, and fans of fighting games should enjoy working with all the button combos. Crom has multiple ways to attack with his melee weapon, and you’ll want to master all these attacks as they can be quite helpful when facing a bunch of bad guys. Chain together your combo attacks to gain more blood which you can then use to upgrade your attacks. He even has a ranged attack with a crossbow, so you can soften up enemies before they engage.

Fighting in Bloodforge

While the single-player aspect is the meat of the game, you can also compete in Blood Duels with your friends. This is a challenge to see how much blood each of you can spill (and gain from enemies) throughout each area. Your efforts are compared to your friend’s as you go through the level, which is perfect for bragging rights.

If you’ve been looking for a fast-paced button-mashing action/fighting title, Bloodforge may just be right for you. Check out the free demo on Xbox LIVE Marketplace or pick up the full game and enter the Bloodforge!