PSX 2015: Severed Preview – Worth the Wait
The brilliant minds at DrinkBox have been hard at work on something this past year. It’s been a long time coming but they’ve utilized the time to perfect their game and make sure they are releasing something worth playing; something that every Vita owner will love. That’s right, the guys and gals at DrinkBox love the passion of Vita owners, and that passion is being rewarded with the amazing first-person dungeon crawler, Severed.
I first saw Severed at last year’s PlayStation Experience, and wrote about it when I did our indie studio spotlight on DrinkBox. I was impressed with the unique way that the game used the Vita’s touchscreen as a method for combat input, slashing, blocking, and countering enemy attacks with your finger. One year later I was sitting down with DrinkBox’s Chris McQuinn again to see what he had to show off this time.
An Added Layer of Polish
When he first handed me the demo Vita, I didn’t notice anything different. As I began to play, memories of my previous play session came flooding back. But there was something else there too. An added layer of polish. The visuals looked cleaner. The slashing felt more responsive. The game just seemed to play better. A little ways into my demo I did notice that some fights had changed, particularly one encounter that had given me grief the year before. It seems that I wasn’t the only to get stuck and they changed the mechanics to be a little bit more intuitive.
I hacked at enemies by drawing my finger across the Vita screen. I blocked their attacks by swiping against their attack. I severed their limbs after battle to collect for upgrades. It was all familiar to what I had already played, and I wondered what had caused me to be sitting at a preview for the second year in a row. As it turns out, quite a bit.
Why the Long Wait?
Perfection. Well maybe not pure perfection in the literal sense of the word, but Severed is a labor of love for DrinkBox. It’s a departure from the style of their previous games while still screaming out that it has that DrinkBox style, and they wanted to make sure that they got it right. Chris began telling us about swipe distances, long swipes versus short, how wide to make the areas of attacks and counters, how precise or not precise to make the angles of attack. These decisions and expanding the overall scope of the game have had them working overtime on making Severed the ideal title for any Vita owner, and from what I experienced, it will be a treat as a Vita exclusive for those of us that still hold the handheld in a special place in our hearts.
After explaining a bit about the extended development time, he dove into the debug menu to give us a glimpse further into the game. Awesome pieces of armor that you gain from severing pieces off of enemies grant unique abilities that will help in both combat and area traversal. RPG elements allow you to level up your equipment and abilities to become a force to be reckoned with in this dark, hand-drawn world. He even showed us one level’s world map, zooming out to show off an impressive and almost intimidating size that will certainly have players exploring its depths for secrets.
Fortunately it doesn’t seem like Vita owners will have to wait for too much longer. DrinkBox revealed that they are targeting a Spring 2015 release date for Severed, and Chris McQuinn seemed adamant in telling me that they really need to get this game out after previous delays have caused it to be in the oven for a bit longer than they would have liked. Honestly, if the delays have created the same level of polish across the whole game that I saw in my short time with it at PSX 2015, then it will have been well worth the wait to get a game as solidly built as this one.