Top Critic Average
Cinematic animations are integrated beautifully with Driven Out's precise controls, but the game lacks polish when it comes to making you feel positive about progress. Still, its short challenges are great testing grounds for your sword skills and combat is clean, especially against the larger bosses.
The core gameplay of Driven Out proves solid and satisfying, and is enhanced by some super nostalgic retro sensibilities. Yet, the combat just seems a touch too slow on your part and imbalanced in favor of your AI opponents, which tends to make it tough to stick with the basic, somewhat repetitive gameplay in the long run.
There is nothing to master here; there are no stages in which to learn how to beat certain enemy types or to become better. Your skill level stays the same. Overall, though: not a bad second game to develop.
"Imagine a combat-driven game with no progression or loot. All you have is your sword, your wits, and a mysterious device that conveniently creates copies of you if and when you die. This is the world of Driven Out, a 2D side-scrolling indie action game that falls under the category of "git gud".
It’s difficult to put into words just how much profanity I’ve lobbed in this game’s direction while playing, and some of the criticisms my rage-addled past self brought up are real examples of Driven Out playing unfairly. At the same time, it occupies that enjoyably bizarre realm of “so difficult that it doesn’t seem difficult in hindsight.” Many of Driven Out‘s fights are downright fantastic and don’t suffer from any problems, and it’s during these that it shines. Low points are also common, however, thanks to some awkward animations that disable your ability to block for uncomfortable spans and a bevy of minor frustrations that create some very strange difficulty spikes.
The retro graphics look great and the animations are superb. But I don’t feel like there is enough “game” there for the price of admission. If you really enjoy timing or pattern memorization, the 2D action game coating could be a nice change of pace. Otherwise, try out the demo on Steam if you can or pick it up on sale.
Driven Out is an unquestionably hard game, but once you master the delicate art of its combat and parrying, you'll be compelled to play for hours more. It's a genuinely brilliant title.