Swordfighting: cool. Flying: cool. The phrase “damnit” repeated dozens upon dozens of times: really not cool. This third-person deathmatch game is both a genuinely intriguing attempt to realize direct sword control and a clumsy comedy wherein gimp-voiced characters bounce off each other in the sky.
Wii-esque mouse movements control your sword; the angle you attack at and defend from is critical, opening up a vast range of combat styles. This is undermined somewhat by the weightlessness of the weapons. The crudity of the Torque (based on Tribes 2) engine used means it’s also hard to judge depth. What would seem to be an unavoidable gouge across the midsection of a foe often turns out to be ineffectual flailing at thin air, while an accidental, minute twitch can deal sudden death - usually during one of the too-frequent incomprehensible tangle of limbs when you collide with your opponent and the camera spasms uncontrollably. The fact that flying is your only means of movement feels in equal measure an intelligent liberation to allow epic, Matrix-y sky battles and an uneasy compromise to avoid the vastly different mechanics of ground combat.
Still, it’s got something. Seeing a lightning streak of a man charge across the sky towards you, judging his angle of approach then spinning gracefully out of the way, drawing the mouse right and down slowly, then forwards and left suddenly and scoring a massive hit for it feels triumphant and organic. Determinance needs to rethink its sense of humor and some of the physicality of its combat to become the success it should be.