Severed

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Severed Game Poster Image
Stylish, violent adventure is repetitive but entertaining.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Standard "good vs. evil" story, fighting against various demons. Strong message about bonds of family, as purpose of fighting is rescuing family from demon-filled world. Slight message about overcoming disabilities.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sasha is a strong female lead character, fighting against creatures, demons to rescue her family. That said, constant need to battle does diminish some depth of Sasha's character.

Ease of Play

Navigating world is simple, combat complex, but game never feels frustrating; your skills quickly improve with practice.

Violence

While animated style reduces graphic nature of violence, game's focus is slicing strange creatures to death, hacking off limbs, collecting body parts for use. Plenty of stylized blood, chunks of gore left from defeated enemies.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Severed is a downloadable first-person action-adventure game for the PlayStation Vita. The game features a strong, though violent, female lead as she hacks and slashes her way through a demonic world to save her family. Players use the Vita touchscreen to simulate slashing enemies with a magical sword. Although the game features an artistically stylized look, there's still quite a bit of violence and gore. The heroine will not only use her sword to kill enemies, but she slices off their body parts and collects them for the purpose of upgrading her skills and equipment.

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What's it about?

In SEVERED, players take on the role of Sasha, a young woman trained to be a warrior since childhood. The game opens in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Something has brutally attacked Sasha and her family. Awakening in a world that's not her own, Sasha learns that her family isn't the only thing that was taken from her. She's also lost her left arm. A creature appears before her, gifting her with a living sword and challenging her to set out and rescue her family. If she can save them from their captivity and return them to where she began this journey, the creature tells her there's a chance for her and her loved ones to return to their own world. Now Sasha mush use all her skills to defeat the demonic inhabitants of this world while collecting their severed remains to tap into the power she'll need to bring her family back home.

Is it any good?

This action-packed adventure manages to be quirky yet highly entertaining. It has a distinct animated style that's less "Saturday morning cartoon" and more "avant-garde cubism." The story is wonderfully woven into the experience without an overabundance of dialogue. And the gameplay is extremely simple to pick up and play but has enough complexity to keep it from feeling too stale. If there's one issue the game struggles with, it's that it can begin to feel a bit repetitive, especially if you try to play it for long stretches at a time.

Using a touchscreen to simulate slashing a sword isn't exactly a new concept (Infinity Blade, Fruit Ninja), but in Severed, the mechanic feels fresh and unique. Not only do you have to fend off creatures from all sides, targeting weak spots and parrying attacks, but you also have to coordinate your attacks in such a way that you can leave an enemy open for a final, dismembering attack. Doing so nets you valuable demon parts, which you'll need to level up your skills or to upgrade your weapon and armor. That's right folks. In Severed, you actually end up wearing the corpses of the demons you've killed. It's strange. It's twisted. And somehow, it just plain works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games such as Severed. Is the violence in this game a problem because the main character saves and uses gory elements as a key feature of the adventure? Would the game work if it didn't have the same kind of content?

  • Talk about overcoming obstacles and limitations. How are people able to adapt when faced with disabilities, and what are some of the ways to overcome them?

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