We had heard a lot of good things about Severed Steel on PC, so when it came to PlayStation we couldn’t wait to try it out. Developed by Greylock Studio and published by Digerati, this is our take on the PS5 version.
As fans of games like Superhot, Pistol Whip and the bullet time action of Max Payne, we liked the prospect of a supercharged version of all those games with Severed Steel – which ups the pace and adds parkour elements into the mix as well. Protagonist Steel only has a single arm and is vulnerable in combat, so staying on the move is crucial to your chances of survival. But while the core idea of this protagonist is interesting, there’s very little in the way of a story to uncover here. There are cutscenes at the end of each level (there are six), but Severed Steel doesn’t tell much of a story in them.
As you’d expect in a parkour game, you can wall run, slide and jump-dive, and all of these moves make you invulnerable to gunfire while you’re performing them. You can even string them together, and you can make this a little easier by utilizing the slow-down/bullet time mechanic – which uses up a bar you can charge up by killing enemies. You’ll get comfortable with the controls quickly if you’ve played similar games before (Ghostrunner comes to mind), and the downside is that your adventure will be over before you know it – clocking in at between three and four hours for us. There are difficulty settings and a new game+ mode to extend your playing time, but Severed Steel is a short game nonetheless.
It’s a blast to play though, partly because it doesn’t rest on its laurels and keeps introducing new mechanics and has some great basic ones too, like the ability to steal an enemy’s weapon by sliding near or jumping over them. Later on, you’ll also unlock an attachment for your missing arm which acts as a cannon that you can use to blast away destructible walls – which isn’t just cool but also gives you traversal options. There’s a good variety of weapons that all handle differently, although it’s a missed opportunity that the DualSense controller doesn’t reflect this.
Severed Style’s presentation is clean and stylish, like a neon-infused ‘Superhot meets Portal’, which works well in identifying opportunities when moving around at high speeds while also displaying your actions without the screen getting too cluttered with detail. Color is used effectively as a visual cue, and there’s an “in your face” type of presentation that’s not too unlike Superhot as well. With levels aren’t exactly numerous, their designs are diverse and offer plenty of ways to approach them, which is great as the game lends itself to experimentation with its fast-paced gameplay and quick death.
This may be a short game, but it’s great fun – and it feels like a supercharged version of Superhot, which was also a relatively short but brilliant game. If you like shooters that try out different things, you’ll want to play this.