I want you to be excited about DrinkBox Studios’ Severed. Why? Because I’m excited about it. This may seem odd, since I didn’t know it even existed until the PlayStation Experience. Yet instead, there I was, at 1:50am on December 8, 2014, writing about the demo I experienced for Siliconera instead of sleeping. This game, even in this early form, got to me, and I want it to get to you, too.
The Severed demo didn’t offer much in the way of introduction. Instead, it offered a look into a vivid and colorful world like the one we explored in Guacamelee!. A disembodied voice warned me that the more time I spent in, well, wherever I was, the harder it would be to leave. Fine. Okay. I get it.
“But Jenni, this is Siliconera! We like to focus on import games and stuff. Why should we care about a domestic, indie title like Severed?”
Okay, I’m imagining you’re saying that. Listen, I played a lot of really amazing indie games at the PlayStation Experience, many of them inspired by Japanese games, so bear with me. The reason you’re going to like Severed is a good one. Even though it was inspired by games like Infinity Blade and has you slashing and parrying through enemies with Fruit Ninja-esque swipes, it feels like a 1980’s or 1990’s, first person, dungeon crawler.
The heroine is wandering through a dreamlike world. You’re seeing everything through her eyes, and a map is automatically created as you adventure. Sometimes, you’ll see special events. The first of which is one where she looks in a mirror and you see one of her arms has been cut off. Severed, get it?
It isn’t only about losing that one arm, though. Despite the impairment, the heroine is still a swordswoman. A flashback teaches the basics. When presented with an enemy, a real-time battle begins. The creature must be slashed with the sword to do damage. If the opponent attempts an attack, parry by slashing in the opposite direction. A gauge will fill with successful attacks, allowing her to tap an enemy to enter a mode where she can sever their limbs. These can then, eventually, be taken to help craft armor for her.
Did I mention severing arms was a really big deal in the demo? There was also even a disembodied arm that seemed to be leading her somewhere important.
Severed had this sense of familiarity about it. Normally, I’m not big on games that rely on some sort of gimmick mechanic for combat. Clearly, the other elements of the game made enough of an impression to go beyond that at PSX. It got my imagination working. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps this swordswoman was caught in her own mind. Maybe there was some traumatic incident which left her physically impaired, and she’s trying to overcome that and overcome the nightmares that haunt her by removing the limbs of the monsters in her head. I guess you could say I’m hyped.
Or, perhaps the PlayStation Experience was an exceptionally engaging one that served to get my mind racing about all of these forthcoming games. I’m not quite sure, as I haven’t had enough time to step back yet. There’s one thing I’m sure of, though. I have a strong feeling that Severed will be a powerful game.