You’ve got 1 arm, lots of slo-mo, more acrobatic ability than the entire Cirque-Du-Soleil and an insanely itchy trigger finger, ladies and gentlemen this is Severed Steel.
Severed Steel is a first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on momentum, tricks and being the baddest of badasses while notching up a hefty bodycount.
While I’m positive there is a narrative in Severed Steel I didn’t really follow, care or remember it, cutscenes were drawn in an American graphic novel style and over very briefly with no voice acting, there were no in-game cutscenes or areas of exposition dumps, and that my friends and foes is how I like my shooters.
Visually Severed Steel is a colourful, sci-fi minimalist experience, you know what areas are supposed to be but they have that classic 80s CGI future look like an episode of Reboot.
The levels are fully destructible and explosions are gorgeous as in scenes where you’ve shot out glass and bits of debris are flying everywhere while you dodge and maime, it’s just like John Woo made a VR experience using the Tron engine!.
I do have to mention here that as much as I love the visual style of the game and it manages to do so much with so little, it gave me such a headache everytime I played, there is a seizure warning on boot and various options to tame the visuals down but the lighting options with the dark background really are not easy on the ol’ retinas.
The sound effects here are large and incharge, explosions are loud, guns just as bangy as you would expect and the major key is being able to hear where your enemies are in the level so you know how to approach them.
The soundtrack is mostly upbeat “techo/dubstep/Synthwave” nothing I am too familiar with but the music really does help fit the tone of the game, it’s punchy and futuristic sounding and doesn’t get repetitive which is a huge bonus considering just how many restarts some of these levels take, you can skip to any track in the pause menu if certain songs just give you that boost or you find them too grating but all in all this is a superb soundtrack and one that I very much enjoyed.
Severed Steel as previously mentioned is a first person shooter, while not quite the usual “boomer” hordes of enemies and keys to find shooter that I usually play it is scratching another itch, the Katana-Zero/Ghostrunner/SuperHot itch where it’s all about intricate movements, quick deaths and even quicker respawns.
Now out of the 3 previously mentioned titles, this game as alot of shared DNA with SuperHot only the game is always moving but depending on what difficulty you choose from the list of around 5, you do get access to Slo-Mo which is essential for some of the trickier shots and sections, something I’m not ashamed to say humbled me very quickly.
The core idea behind Severed Steel is you cannot be hit if you are performing a trick, be it dashing in the air, sliding, wall running you can’t get hit, you need to combine this with aiming your weapon OR your steel toe capped boots, slo-motion and the hordes of generic military staff to see success, this game beat me quite early and it wasn’t until I completed an easier difficulty that I started to pick up some of the nuances of the game that would see me tackle tougher stuff.
One of my favourite parts of the game is that quite early in the campaign you get an arm cannon much like MegaMan or Samus Aran, then it becomes even more fun as you blast away cover and causes as many gibs as you can, coupled with the visuals it almost feels like a MM fan project in the best way.
Stages usually revolve around either escaping an area, destroying things in an area, clearing out an area of foes or the occasional boss fight.
Weapons range from handguns to rocket launchers and their ammo is indicated by a coloured bar on the gun, ammo isn’t replenishable and the only way to stay in the game is to pick up other guns as you run around the stages.
The game is at its best when you’re free running through stages, sliding and doing flips while nailing headshots, the fact you can catch guns midair and steal them from foes also adds to the intensity and fun.
There is a level designer here as well as a more Arcade style scoring mode called Firefight and these help give the game a little more bulk as the main campaign currently clocks in at around 2 to 3 hours which for me was the sweet spot on this title, the extra modes provide the Severed Steel release I needed afterwards on return playthroughs.
Severed Steel was not a game I could initially get to grips with but there were enough options and brilliant pad controls on hand to help me see the credits roll, then I upped everything and got right back to it, the game is never painfully easy but the different choices of difficulty do make worlds of difference.
I would highly suggest any fans of stylish, futuristic shooters who love a challenge take a look into Severed Steel, while it may not quite have the meat of some others from the genre there are enough modes and fun here to last you quite some time.
A headsplittingly good time
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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.