(Impressions) Driven Out – Demo

While the developers are still fixing bugs, Driven Out is rather cool. It kind of reminds me of a 2D, 16 bit Kingdom Come: Deliverance – “Sword Combat Only Edition”. You’re just a girl in a fantasy land that is suddenly being kicked off of her land because: reasons. Seriously, there is no reason given… because it’s a demo. What do you expect? You’re also given a magical device that duplicates you upon death. You know what? I think it more reminds me of Prince of Persia on DOS with more complicated combat and way better rag-doll physics.

Seriously… a wall of text. I didn’t make heads or tails of what action did what. A visual representation would have been better, but just pushing buttons is what worked for me.

I almost struggle with calling the controls convoluted, but I’m going to stick with “complicated” instead. You have three attacks: high, medium and low. Coincidentally, each of those attacks corresponds to which block you will perform while pressing the same button plus a trigger button. It makes so much more sense once you swing your sword around in-game and it clicks in your brain. The hard part will be recognizing what your enemy will do and reacting quickly enough to it. You can hold down the blocking trigger button while you plod around so that makes it easier and quicker to react. It’s one less thing you need to think about. All of the enemies have tells and the better you get at recognizing them, the quicker your frustration will plummet. (I also may be crazy, but it seemed that if you timed your blocks better, it puts the enemy off-balance.)

Just keep swinging down! Don’t let them get up!

The magical device that comes out of the sky that helps you with your quest is quite useful. If you’ve got the energy, you can plop down a magical pyramid and when you die you can respawn where you left it. It looks like it 3D prints another you and when you die, it comes to life. Is there a cost to your soul or is it just a nifty game mechanic? I don’t know, but I’m not going to assume it’s that deep yet. As I mentioned though, you need to have enough energy to use it. With a full bar, you can use it twice, as far as the demo is concerned. You don’t get energy from boxes or eating cows found in the background (you also can’t hit them, trust me), but you get extra energy from slain enemies. Not all with give you some, but that is how you get more. It looks like a white cloud comes out of the corpse and you walk over to “collect” it/them. You know, as one does…

Bang on this door all you want, that half-naked dude is not going to open the door in this demo.

The art is awesome. I love the 16 bit look. It works really well and feels like a classic game you would have played on the Sega Genesis. This time, the background is animated. You and the enemy’s movements have a ton more frames to them (it looks smoother). The rag-doll physics are hilarious. I think the best part is your character though. She has never picked up a sword in her life. I was wondering if she was going to change her stance as you progressed in the game, but judging by the pictures, she doesn’t. That’s fine though. You’ll notice her plodding along like a kid playing with her father’s sword. It’s obviously too heavy for her and she swings wildly. If you were to be nit-picky though (which I know some of you are) you’ll notice that she was working the field before this adventure starts. Maybe this was the first day on the field because her husband died in a war. If not, she should have been able to hold the sword a bit better without having to skip about I would think. She would still swing it wildly, I presume, as she’s never had to fight with one before, but it is something to ponder. (I do love her movement animation though!)

It’s a demo and because of that, it’s free. You have no reason to not try out this demo unless you’re scared of the challenge to be had with the combat. It’s complicated, but not impossible. To those that love them some classic gameplay with a modern feel, I think you’ll really enjoy Driven Out. To those expecting Mario when I mention “classic”, you’ll have to put on your big-gamer-pants and put in more effort than normal. (I love classic Mario; this isn’t a zing.) Not a lot, but more than the usual amount. Try it. What do you have to lose? It’s about 8 minutes of a demo if you’re decent. At best, you’ll have a new game to add to your backlog. At worst… you’ll have spent 10ish minutes of your life trying something new.

Further reading on Driven Out: Official Page / Steam / Twitter

Love it or hate it, let me know!