Superhot is probably not the game that invented the super fragile speed FPS, but it’s close enough for me. Especially since Severed Steel is an FPS of the opinion that Max Payne should have been invulnerable whenever he wasn’t standing on his feet.
Severed Steel features Steel, a one-armed protagonist. Now, that would be a huge impediment even outside of high-speed cyberpunk shootouts. But our girl has two aces up her remaining sleeve: bullet time and invulnerability that turns on whenever she’s pulling moves from John Woo Presents The Matrix.
Of course, the mono-manos thing is just a justification for a protag that never reloads and has to constantly scavenge weapons from fallen foes. Run out of ammo, and she’ll pitch the useless piece of iron at the enemy. Get close while unarmed, and she’ll swipe their sidearm. But whatever you do, keep moving – diving, sliding, and wall-running is free.
Seriously, you’ll die if you stand in Severed Steel. Even outside the dumb difficulty levels where you don’t heal or have only a single health point, you need to move. There’s always more of them than there is of you, and they won’t run out of ammo. What you can do is score headshots to heal yourself, replenish bullet time via kills, and, of course, avoid getting shot via endless stunts.
In a game like Severed Steel, every enemy is a real threat (take that, BioShock Infinite, you hipster Call of Duty piece of shit), so when only a few of them remain on the map, our protag gains wallhack. WHO’S THE PREY NOW?!
Oh, but killing isn’t always the goal, though you’ll still have to do loads of it. Sometimes, you’ll need to destroy an objective or find something. I wonder if the devs accounted for the chance that the player will round out of ammo in dropped weapons before destroying the objectives.
Speaking of destruction: Severed Steel features destructible voxel environments. These holes I made with a scavenged grenade launcher, creating an alternate route to the mission objective. Too bad I had already cleared the level by that point.
Severed Steel also features some nifty environmental design and cool weapons. When the going is good, it recreates the feeling of the tensest firefights you’ve emerged from by the skin of your teeth. At its worst, it makes you think “fuck this Meatboy nonse, making obnoxiously hard games isn’t a legitimate game design goal.” Luckily for us, the two hardest difficulty levels are absolutely optional, so let’s wait for a full release!