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Determinance

  • Determinance ships with only a barebones single-player campaign, in which you go head-to-head with progressively tougher AI opponents. These duels take place in an outdoors terrain with the winner decided by a best-of-five system, the same setup employed in the online Duel Arena mode. To call the single-player mode a campaign is a little generous though, considering it is just a series of duels without any variations whatsoever, and can be completed in an hour or two even for your first time through. I should add though, that it will take longer than that to truly master the game mechanics and duel your way through without dying.

  • Like many other twitch based games and first person shooters in the market, the most important setting to fine-tune in this game is the mouse sensitivity. The effectiveness of every single stroke of the sword, be it sideways slashing, top-down hacking or forward jabbing hinges on this. Needless to say, it takes a lot of playtime to eventually find the sweet spot and start dishing out sword plays that thus far have existed only on a theater screen near you. The fluidity of the sword movements is also pretty impressive, and just as the Tiger Woods series of golf games on the PC made swinging a golf club feel lifelike, Determinance makes swinging the sword an intuitive affair.

  • Parrying and blocking is another crucial aspect of game play. Determinance makes it elegant and easy to adjust the angle of your sword in order to block the blows of your opponents. This is imperative as the game utilizes body part hit detection. A slash to the arm may register as no more than a pin prick, whereas a blow to the head can get you K.O.-ed faster than you can utter a certain swear word (which shall not be reproduced here).

  • It is apparent that there is great potential in the development of a robust single-player campaign, possibly with limited RPG elements as far as weapon upgrades are concerned. However, fans waiting for this to materialize will be disappointed to find that there are currently no plans to do so. When quizzed about this, Ian Hardingham from Mode 7 Games affirmed that they will “very much like to do a dungeon-hack type of game with Determinances mechanics”, but will at the moment focus their energies on further fleshing out the multiplayer component.

  • The multiplayer aspect of Determinance does not involve a persistent world, but rather Counterstrike-style bouts of short games. There are presently 2 modes available: Duel Arena and Free-For-All. Duel Arena allows you to go heads up against other opponents, while Free-For-All simply dumps up to 8 players together in the same map, with delirious mayhem promptly ensuing.

  • Thus far, this game is sounding great, but here comes the catch: the multiplayer lobbies of the game, its heart and soul, are mostly unpopulated at the moment. Determinance suffers from the same problems that many other multiplayer indie offerings are facing: the lack of a marketing budget and brand name. It starts a vicious cycle whereby potential buyers witness the empty servers and refrain from purchasing, leading to further obscurity.

  • Determinance is a game with a great deal of promise. If it manages to garner sufficient publicity and attention, which hopefully it will achieve with its impending worldwide retail release, the scales should be tipped over to the point where there are sufficient players online to support a consistent multiplayer experience. From the looks of it, this game can only get better.



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