I can’t remember the last time I completely drained the battery of my PS Vita, and it is fair to say I still play many games on it, but in small bite-size amounts. However, it seems as though, Drinkbox Studios have managed to create a game that serves both playing methods; short quick bursts of play, or long hourly sessions.
Severed was not on my radar at all, so when I began playing it, I had little to no expectations of what it could be like. It would be fair to say I was completely surprised to what this game actually was. Straight from the first few steps this game looks and feels like nothing I have ever played. It is a dungeon crawler, a genre I have little experience in, and it borrows from games such as Infinity Blade for it’s combat, meshing all of these components together in a seamless fashion and in turn, creating something incredibly unique.
You are Sasha or for most of the game you are referred to as “Human Girl”, and you know little else about who you are or where you are. Your aim is simple, find your family. All you know is your brother, father and mother are missing and you need to traverse the many dungeons in order to locate them. Much of the story is kept vague on purpose, it leaves you to fill in the blanks, questioning and adding your own assumptions to certain characters histories and motive.
So what does this game play like? Well the world is a grid based dungeon crawler in essence. As you walk forward you are always in the centre of every room, at first I found it a little jarring when you move from “block to block” due to the animations blending to the next room, but it eventually becomes the norm and you’ll find yourself quite at home. Moving is all controlled by the left stick or D-pad, this includes spinning around on the spot and walking forward. I found this a little strange at first when the Vita has 2 analog stick for this purpose, however, the game soon makes it obvious why it must control this way, it leaves your right hand free to swipe at objects and enemies on screen (note, you can use the face buttons to traverse if you are left handed). Enemies don’t roam freely, there are specific spots where battles will occur, made clear by a flaming gem like icon.
These battles involve a brilliantly designed enemy in the centre of your screen who has an attack meter, once full it will swipe at you, you can parry these attack ala Infinity Blade leaving them vulnerable to your attacks. Every enemy has a specific way to defeat them and it’s a joy to do so. As the game progresses, so do the battles, multiple enemies will surround you and you need to manage who to attack first. Certain enemies will even have multiple “buffs” that give them faster attack speed or resilience to your attacks. After defeating an enemy, provided your attack meter is full, you can “sever” their body parts and use them to upgrade yourself. This mechanic is incredible and is essentially what makes this game so playable, and “un-put-down-able”.
A weapon upgrade system is introduced fairly early on in the game, whereby you use the severed body parts to upgrade your attacks and the sever time. As you progress even more abilities are unlocked to add further depth to the game. Some of which help you solve puzzles in the dungeons or reach previously inaccessible areas.
This game looks amazing; it blends both 2D and 3D in a fluid manner. Drinkbox studios last game Guacamelee was a stunner, and it had to be difficult to top it, but somehow they did! The style still has the vibrant Gaudi-esque art, but for the first time you are actually inside it, looking at it from a first person perspective.
It took me just over five and a half hours to beat, but I went straight back in to find more secrets and unlock more trophies, and I feel many will do this, easily adding a further hour / hour and a half to the overall play time. A superb game and a must play for any Vita owner, my only criticism would be that I wish there was more of it.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation Vita.
- Replay Value