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A dark fantasy action game with a unique mechanic
I was pretty excited after reading about this Kickstarter project I saw a while back, where this gentleman was demonstrating some clever use of a controller to use one's natural hand movements to wield a sword. But what gave me pause was the fact that he called that revolutionary, which it sure wasn't. Nope, the actual game that invented free wielding of swords (granted, via mouse controls) was this game here. So in Die by the Sword you control a swordfighter, whose sword moves emulate those you make via mouse. That means that you cut and slash by longitudinally moving your sword, and you parry by bringing the sword to a position where it doesn't allow the opponent's sword to get to you. Granted, that sounds easy, but in the game things can get a bit messy. You see, between controlling your sword and your movement, things can quickly get out of hand, and the camera doesn't really help that much. Thus, you can find yourself exactly defenseless because some move you made with the mouse was wrongly interpreted. So, yeah, the game is kind of hit or miss in this very central bit that it promotes. But, for what it's worth it's a novel experience, and also, the game has some really cool enemies to pit against you, amongst which a giant octopus and orcs are the most feared one. Play it though, graphically it looks alright, maybe a bit too happy to keep you in the dark a bit too many times, and, also, the plot is not as developed as it could have been. And after you get enough of it, play the expansion Die by the Sword: Limb from Limb, which takes plot off the table but puts a lot more effort into the mechanical aspect of sword fighting.
A personal classic!
This game was underrated and its sad to see Treyarch go the way of bungie and become one trick console fps cash cows. Die by the Swords biggest gameplay point was its vsim sword controls where you used one hand to control the sword arm (via mouse or keyboard) and the controls although not totally perfect were way ahead of their time and end up being loads of fun once figured out. The gameplay had a sword fighting sim style I haven't seen again till Skyward Sword (even that isn't perfect). The game even had damage hit box locals so you could strategically lob off body parts and a 4 player arena mode for deathmatchs and team fights. Great fun if you want a dark medieval action brawler-esq plat-former adventure that has rich atmospheric music and voice acting (the late Tony Jay anyone?). Oh and there is an arcade control setting in case you cant handle the complex controls of swinging a mouse around. :P