Review: Severed (PS Vita)

Severed is a first-person dungeon crawler made by Drinkbox Studios, the creators of Guacamelee. The game follows a young girl who wakes up alone in her destroyed home with one arm and has to search out her family and fight back evil, disturbed creatures along the way. The game is broken up into three major parts, each with a boss at the end that’s guarding the body of one of your family members. You follow the girl’s journey to reunite your family and escape from the world you’ve found yourself in.

The gameplay is extremely well done, and this is coming from someone who dislikes pretty much anything touch-based. The game makes you feel like you’re really in control of unleashing hell on the creatures, who each have their own critical hit spots and deflection abilities. Some are straight forward enough to slash away, but some are much more challenging and become harder and more powerful the longer you keep them unchecked.

Moving around the dungeons is fairly fluid, though it takes a little getting used to. The map becomes your best friend in the game as to figuring out where you’re supposed to go. It becomes pretty addictive to explore the whole map and find a way to enter all the secret rooms. The game makes you backtrack for certain upgrades and unlocks, but it doesn’t feel as frustrating as backtracking generally is.

The skill tree is pretty fundamental to mastering combat in the game. The better you do in battle, the more upgrade points you gain. The more upgrade points you gain, the better you can become at combat and the longer you can survive combat. Without careful attention to what you’re upgrading, you can really make the game harder for yourself.

The story itself is incredibly deep and sad. The deeper you get into the game, and each boss you defeat comes with a victorious feeling followed immediately by a sense of loss and defeat. A two-headed bird you run into in the game consistently warns you of the dangers of the journey, and a mysterious woman you meet along the way makes you feel even worse about your choices and what lays ahead of you. Without spoiling the ending, you find yourself with an extremely difficult choice, and when you collect all of the secrets, the choice becomes pretty clear, despite how difficult it is to make.

One thing to note is that, while the majority of the battles feel achievable over the course of one or two tries, there is a battle near the end of the game that is so incredibly difficult that it took me probably around 30 or 40 tries to finally perfect it, and damn did it feel great once I did.

My final assessment is that this game is exactly what happens when a company uses the Vita for the great system that it is. The game is beautiful and heartbreaking. I had a truly enjoyable time with it, even if I wasn’t a fan of the genre or the play style. That’s how great the game truly is. Do yourself a favor and get Severed, then send Drinkbox Studios some love and let them know how much you enjoyed it, because you will.

Final Grade: 9.0

Final Playtime: 7 hrs.

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