Severed - Review

Author: Gianluca "Ualone" Loggia
Date: 2020-07-30 18:02:52
I love when it happens. A new review code arrives, you don't have the faintest idea of what it can be (in these parts Marco and Mattia had played it), you redeem it, install the game, start playing and what you see you immediately like very much. That's exactly what happened to me with Severed. For a number of reasons and coincidences, in fact, I had missed that Drinkbox, the group of developers who made the excellent Guacamelee, was working on a new game, currently exclusive to PS Vita.

My approach to Severed has been truly spectacular. In the first minutes of the game I was pleasantly impressed by the graphic style, very similar to that already adopted with Guacamelee, and by a very particular taste for a dry, essential and pungent narrative, which has as its protagonist a girl looking for her family ( father, mother, brother) in very dangerous territories. And already here, if only for the style, I was very intrigued. But it's still nothing.

In a few moments, I realized that in Severed we move like in the classic subjective dungeon crawlers, those in which the character (or the party) moves from box to box. And to confirm this very pleasant sensation (at least for those who loved this genre) was the minimap in the upper left, which did not leave more doubts about the type of exploration proposed by the new title Drinkbox. Severed is exactly a sort of Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore. Or even Legend of Grimrock, to mention something more recent. At least as far as movement and exploration are concerned. The fight, however, another thing that is discovered soon, is very different and is one of the most characteristic elements of this interesting adventure.

In Severed you fight by taking full advantage of the PS Vita touch screen. The protagonist wields a sword (with her only useful arm, but I don't tell you anything else) whose slits are traced by the player by moving her finger on the screen, exactly as you do in Fruit Ninja or in a flood of other mobile games. Even if things become more similar to an Infinity Blade. On the very simple base of the on-screen swipes, in fact, Drinkbox has built a very interesting and, as you go forward in the game, particularly articulated combat system. It is not enough to drag your finger on the screen like madmen, to be right of the enemies, but you must also take into account what their weak points are and, above all, be careful of their attacks, which must be contrasted at the right time with a swipe in the right direction (generally opposite to that of the incoming attack). It also fights with multiple enemies simultaneously. The game always frames one at a time, but the icons of the others are present at the bottom of the screen and just touch them to address the enemy we want, or use the stick to turn the character in his direction. If the enemies present are also different from each other, things get quite complex, because it is often better to manage them, being careful from time to time to their different skills, rather than trying to knock them down one at a time as quickly as possible.

The difficulty curve is initially soft but intriguing and allows you to get used to the combat system quite well, which gradually offers more and more interesting foundations, based on the particular characteristics of the enemies, however also designed in an often inspired way (as well as the few but good non-playing characters present). Later on, however, things begin to get particularly difficult, perhaps even too much, and this can be one of Severed's few potentially negative points. I say "potentially" because clearly for some players a very pronounced difficulty can also be a point in favor, but personally I have found occasionally spikes of difficulties that are sometimes decidedly excessive, and it is right to underline this for all those players who are looking for a more relaxed approach, especially on a portable console.

Speaking of portable consoles, in the days of the test, thanks to other commitments, I took the opportunity to simulate the typical situation in which a mobile game is used for short sessions, at different times of the day. Thanks to frequent automatic saves, and also to the very valid standby of PS Vita, it works beautifully: for those interested in this aspect (not at all trivial when it comes to playing on the move), it can be done, Severed is technically playable at pinch and bite. The problem, more than anything else, is that it's not even remotely a game that will satisfy you with small sessions.