Severed Steel PC Review
One of my favourite genres is the kill everything in a room before it kills you genre; Severed Steel is trying to be the next big one after Ghostrunner, Katana Zero, and Hotline Miami. Greylock Studio decided to not give us a story, apart from a few cutscenes, they just gave us action packed levels, Matrix style moves, an arm cannon, and the ability to slow down time. The games mentioned above all have crazy stories that keep you coming back, but also incredible gameplay! Is Severed Steel good enough without the story and at that price tag ($24.99/£19.49)?
Just like all of these games you get thrown straight into the battle with little to no explanation. You have a dive, slide, wall run, bullet time ability, kick, and you can even throw your weapon. The bullet time ability slows down time if you have enough meter available, however, if you’re performing a dive, slide, or wall run, then you can slow down time for as long as you’re doing that move. Also, while you’re doing one of the above moves, you’re invulnerable to enemy attacks…. If you haven’t put 2 and 2 together yet, then let me explain. You can dive, slow down time, shoot every enemy in the room, land, dive immediately after landing, and rinse and repeat. The only time I really died was due to my own mistakes like jumping off a level, I very rarely died to enemies. There are different difficulty settings that I tried out that made the above harder to do but didn’t punish it enough to make it an inconsistent strategy. After the first chapter you get an arm cannon, which is self-explanatory. This cannon allows you to destroy almost every wall in the game which, while kind of unnecessary in most levels, is incredibly fun to use.
In these kinds of games, you make your own fun with the combat. I mentioned the cheesy way to very rarely die to enemies above and that is not fun! However, sliding under tables, blasting the ceiling above so the enemy falls, kicking them, stealing their weapon, and blowing their brains out with it is definitely more interesting. If you aren’t having a good time blasting your way through this game then you have to look at the decisions you’re making; play for fun, not just to win! Something I dislike about the combat is that you can’t catch enemies unaware. Now I know it’s insane to think you can go behind enemies while making all that noise, however, you will jump up somewhere where the enemy can’t see you and as soon as you turn the corner, they start pelting you with lead.
As I mentioned, there is no story to this game but that’s fine because good gameplay doesn’t need a story. However, maybe they should have added ANYTHING to the game to make it even slightly longer. Greylock Studio has slapped a $24.99/£19.49 price tag on this game and I completed it in under 2 hours. Overall, this seems to be people’s main gripe with the game. If you look at the games I mentioned at the very start, they’re 3x as long and only Ghostrunner is more expensive. Severed Steel does have Steam Workshop so you can download more levels, but I don’t think the developers should rely on their customers to make the price tag viable.
There is an extra mode to the story called “Firefight”, in this mode you can play through all the levels again but now you have challenges to complete. The challenges are fun, and, in my opinion, they should have been a part of the main game. For example, every level should have had starts and doing the missions gives you either bronze, silver, or gold. I played Firefight for a while, that’s mainly where I played on the harder difficulties, and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by the fact it was just the story again.
The main problems I have with this game is variety though. Why are the enemies pretty much all the same with a few tiny differences, why do all the levels look the same, why are the “harder” or “tankier” enemies just as easy to kill as the regular enemies, and why is there 1 boss fight and it kind of sucks? While these things don’t really influence the gameplay itself (because the game was too short for variety to matter) they’re still some very odd decisions that made the game less interesting to play.
Severed Steel was fun to play, but I couldn’t recommend it at its current price in its present state. Greylock Studio needs to throw some intense boss battles in there, a few tough enemies, and, in my opinion, rework the bullet time metre. I really hope the developers don’t move onto their next project straight away, and instead turn this game into a series that will make people look forward to the sequel. If you love these types of games, then there is no doubt in my mind that you will also enjoy Severed Steel.