gaming since 1997

Severance: Blade of Darkness

I was really looking forward to playing Blade of Darkness, and after playing more than 2 weeks with the game I can only say 1 thing : “Wow!”

So, what is this game called Severance ?
Actually, it’s supposed to be a 3rd person role-playing game, but that doesn’t really say it all.

Although it IS in a 3rd person perspective, there are few role playing elements to be found. They are there, but I doubt a real RPG-lover would be interested in a game that thinks adding some experience points and energy levels equals it to being an RPG.
I think of Blade of Darkness as the 3rd person Hack’n’Slash combination between RPG and a regular shooter (although you don’t have weapons that can shoot, except if you count a box to be a shooting weapon…)

After a short introduction intro, you get to choose your character. You can be a knight, barbarian, amazon or dwarf.

Depending on which character you choose, you’ll start in a different location. However, don’t expect to have completely different games by choosing another character since after a while, each character follows the same path with a small amount of differences (you’ll encounter some of the other characters along the way)

Although the creators did a nice try, the story isn’t worth much. The goal of the game is to kill as much enemies as possible, and try to keep alive. It’s much like most First-Person Shooters (but in 3rd person view then)

The weapons are pretty cool. Along the way you’ll find alot of weapons that you can use, and you can also take the weapons and shields of the opponents that you slay. Weapons vary from swords, clubs and bows to spears and axes.

Depending on what weapon you’ve got and the skill level you’re at, you’ll have special moves and combo’s. This is much like Mortal Kombat where certain combinations of keys give you special (and extremely deadly) moves.

The graphics and sound are truly amazing. The atmosphere of the game is pretty dark (although several parts of the game are in broad daylight) and scary aswell. Each corner has you thinking there will be an enemy lurking for you (and most of the time that’s exactly what’s happening :p).

The shadows are the best I’ve ever seen. Since you can pick up almost anything that’s laying around, you can take a torch and light it on fire. This will give your character a nicely ceated shadow that moves according to how you swing the torch. Even when turning fast, the shadows don’t give an itch and follow your character as they should. A real piece of artwork if you ask me.

If you think great shadows are all that Severance delivers qua graphics, you’re wrong. Blade of Darkness is by far the bloodiest game I’ve ever seen and chopping off heads, arms, legs, heads,… everything is possible, and the blood just keeps on flooding your screen in a very realistic way :)
When you chop off the head of an opponent, the blood will start pooring out of the opening where his head used to be, and the same goes for each part of the body you slice off. Also your own character is dynamical. When your health goes down, you’ll see your character having more and more wounds. One note : whatever you can do to your enemy, they can do the same to you, so better watch out :)

The enemies seem to be taken out of all the legends that exist. You’ll encounter orcs, knights, zombies, skeletons, demons, golems and even Minotaurs. Each having their own skills and capabilities, and while you’re enhancing through the game, the health and AI of the opponents will increase aswell.

The AI of the opponents is very unique. Depending on which enemy you’ll encounter, they will either be slow and dumb (zombies) or fast, furious and hard to kill (skeletons). Maybe the AI is even a bit TOO good. Halfway the game you’ll have real difficulties in progressing, and saving each time you’ve killed someone will be a defenite need to be able to end the game.

The only downside of Blade of Darkness is that the controls can be a real pain in the ass.
Although it’s possible to configure them to your needs, it’s not an easy job. When a key is used already for another action, you’ll first have to unbind that key before you can bind it to something else. Since you can only unbind with the ‘Delete’ key, and that key is also bound for a specific action, you can imagine that it’s the easiest way if you leave the controls as they are and learn to use them like that.

Locking onto an opponent is a feature that should have been very pleasant. However, in Blade of Darkness it’s sometimes really frustrating.
The opponent’s AI is sometimes so good that when 2 enemies attack and you lock onto one of them, the other will attack you and the locked one will back off. No need to say that you’ll probably loose alot of health because of this.

Also when you locked on an enemy, it’s impossible to just run away. The result will probably be that you’ll have to use that last amount of health to kill him even if he’s got more health than you, or you’ll have to be very good at using the controls and unlocking the enemies.

Next to the single player game, there’s also a multiplayer possibility. Chopping off the arms, legs and heads of your friends is defenitely something you’ll want to try out. Unfortunately, you’ll have to play it on a LAN since there’s no internet possibility (Codemasters should include this if they want to increase traffic to their online gaming servers).

The game is rock solid, the atmosphere is incredible, the graphics are tremendous, and although there aren’t enough RPG elemtents to satisfy the RPG-freak, there’s enough interesting stuff in there to keep most people happy for a long while.

And if you’ll now excuse me. I have to chop some meat because we’re eating “Beef Orc” tonight…

Our Score:
8.0
related game: Severance: Blade of Darkness
posted in: Codemasters, PC, Reviews
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