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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (456)

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Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5

Next 25
 

Sundered   PC (Steam) 

Lovecraft-Lite Provides Decent Enjoyment    3.5/5 stars

While scouring the wasteland that is Steam local multiplayer options, the MJ crew were presented with this Metroidvania game. I'm not opposes to the genre at all and though I have never played Jotun, the game at least looked quite presentable. While Sundered will not change your worldview or make you cry tears of joy, it does provide a decent amount of solid entertainment and is a good way to pass the time if you can find it on the cheap.

Presentation: The game looks quite good with some impressive animation both in characters and enemies, along with the various environments one encounters during the course of the game. Sound and music are solid, with what little voice acting is done in some deep, foreign (Icelandic?) language. As the game seems to be influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, I really dug the creatures design - especially the bosses, many of which take up a big chunk of the screen. The animation on the main character is also a lot of fun, especially the up-attack, which looks like a power stance straight from the disco era. In an age where so many AAA titles are focused on making things look highly stylized and realistic, Sundered is a nice throw-back to the more classic animation - and it is done well. With no major bugs to speak of (the only thing that comes to mind is finding a nice spot to cheese enemies for easy XP), Sundered is a winner.

Story: Convoluted yet oddly compelling - but probably only because I'm a sucker for anything based on the H.P. Lovecraft mythology. As a lone woman (or a group of lone women if you're playing with friends). You essentially find yourself in the bowels of... somewhere - creatures and machinery alike (many which definitely take a page out of Lovecraftian lore) attack with reckless abandon. Out of the darkness an entity called the Trapezohedrod urges you to collect the Elder Shards - which can grant you great power and provide a means of escape - or you can ignore the obviously evil entity and destroy said shards yourself. Or a combination of both (for three distinct endings). Along the way you will fight hordes, grand bosses and uncover some much-needed lore about how all this came about - but, I admit, even with the various lore dumps I can tell you next to nothing about the history. All I can say is that both the story and ending were underwhelming, but at least a game this small gives you a story at all.

Gameplay: A 2D platformer, most of the game is spent navigating the map, avoiding or killing enemies as well as steering clear of environmental hazards (like thorny plants and deadly gas). While the game is pretty open about where you can go, certain areas are only accessible after unlocking abilities (such as double jump, hookshot and a gun). Plus, there is an obvious jump in difficulty between each of the areas you can explore - with enemies being ridiculously overpowered if you choose the wrong path first. Thus the game may be "open" but it clearly sets a path it wants you to follow.

Enemies and various breakable objects in the world drop shards (along with refills for energy, ammo and the like). Shards are the main source of upgrading your character, which can only be done in the main, central area. Getting back to this area isn't as bad as it seems - as you can find shortcuts back, but the easiest way to return is to simply die. Dying doesn't come with any penalty - other than making you start back at the beginning as it is. Spending shards upgrades core stats (like offense, defense and health) while defeating bosses opens up major upgrades. While it seems like it is a slog to unlock everything, the abundance of enemies means you will likely fill out the entire board by the end with little effort. Aside from the skill tree, you can also acquire Perks. Perks come in either random drops or in specific areas on the map and most provide both a benefit (increased health, shield regen, attack power) while also having a likewise major drawback. For the most part we ignored Perks early on as the penalties seemed to far outweigh the benefits - other than the few we found that had no penalties attached to them. But as we progressed, we found a set we truly liked and, combined with our godly stats, found the end--game to be deceptively easy.

Each of the main areas has a certain set of points - mini-bosses, Elder Shards, Perks - that can be found. The interesting part of the map system is that while the main areas are set in stone, the connecting paths are all proceduraly generated. It's like Rogue-Lite - Lite - and provides both an interesting and at the same time somewhat annoying mechanic. Boss battles can be a slog as well if you're no appropriately upgraded and you may find yourself battling groups of enemies - or traveling areas over and over again - in order to get the shards you need to upgrade your skills high enough to defeat said bosses. It makes portions of the game quite repetitive and grindy - not as bad as some games, but certainly present.

Replayability: There are multiple endings - and you can't cheese all of them, so if you want to experience every possible outcome, you will have to play through twice. It's not a huge incentive given the somewhat repetitive nature of the game - but there you go.

Overall: If you enjoy the so-called Metroidvania-type games, and don't mind have lite rogue elements, Sundered is a solid choice on your own or (preferably) with friends.

Presentation: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replayability: 3/5
Overall (not an average): 3.5/5

 

 


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