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Severed Steel review for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Developer: Greylock Studio
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

It’s hard not to feel sorry for the developers of Severed Steel. They put a few years into their project, they clearly put a tonne of effort into making a fun, stylish first-person shooter…and then had the misfortune to release it just a few weeks after Neon White, which is an even more fun, even more stylish first-person shooter.

I’d like to be able to say that Severed Steel is secretly the better game, but that’s just not true: pretty much everything Severed Steel does, Neon White does better. And where Neon White comparisons don’t apply, then Severed Steel doesn’t quite match up with Superhot either, which is the other game’s big influence.

Take, the example, the fact that Severed Steel is broken up into a couple of dozen micro-levels, where the goal is to get to the exit as quickly as possible. They’re generally okay, if a little indistinct – and that lack of personality becomes even more pronounced when you look at the way Neon White wraps a full-on story around its bite-sized levels.

Likewise, traversal here is fine, but you never get the feeling like you’re defying gravity the way you do in Neon White. The jumps in Severed Steel don’t feel as high, the dives and dashes feel a little too wild, and the shooting never feels very precise. It’s certainly fun to dive and kick and shoot your way through waves of enemies, but it’s easy to see how they could’ve improved upon it.

Even the time-slowing mechanic feels like it’s been done better elsewhere. You definitely feel cool watching time slow down around you as you slide across the ground, but if you compare it to the way a game like Superhot did it – or Max Payne, if you want to go a little further back – suddenly it seems a lot less impressive.

None of this means, of course, that Severed Steel is a bad game, or even a mediocre one. Taken in isolation, it’s undeniably fun to slide and dash around levels, shooting up bad guys, grabbing their guns as they fly into the air, and spinning around to continue your rampage.

But Severed Steel doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a world where Neon White (to say nothing of Max Payne and Superhot) not only also exist, but are much, much better options if you want this kind of gameplay. With competition like that, Severed Steel doesn’t quite match up.

Digerati Distribution provided us with a Severed Steel Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-