Sundered: Review

Written by: Jon Castillo

Games | Aug 3, 2017

game review Sundered Thunder Lotus Games

Sundered is a process of turning you insane. You try something over and over again hoping the next time you do it, you'll get new results.

I first thought to myself, "It can't be that bad, can it?"

In a good way, it's very, very bad.


I never expected to encounter a massive horde of enemies during the first fifteen minutes of the game. It's like the film
3 0, where it pits you against dozens of enemies only to put you up against hundreds later on. Enemies are randomly generated and developer Thunder Lotus tries to scare you with this mechanic every single time. You'll hear mechanical legs, buzzing wings, tiny croaks - anything that will suggest an enemy horde is on its way to beat the crap out of you.

Combat in Sundered is fast-paced and the game will overrun you. Thankfully, the controls are smooth and easy to grasp. You have your basic combo attack with a smash finisher. You can wall jump, roll, and pick up new abilities to increase your character's mobility. You will also need to fully grasp aerial attacks and the ground pound as these things play key roles in keeping your momentum forward and aggressive. While the game has no stamina bar, in its place is an energy bar that temporarily limits the number of things you can do (like rolling).

Killing enemies net you shards. Shards are spent on upgrading your character, Eshe, in the game world's central hub, the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is where you return to after you die or if you just want to take a breather. It's actually a refreshing experience after games like Dark Souls, Dead Cells, and Nioh make you lose your currency upon death. Death in Sundered is an opportunity to grow your character. And considering that you will die a lot, it's best to try and get as many shards as you can before kicking the bucket. 


Early upgrades in
Sundered are considerably affordable. You're introduced to this massive skill tree where you can improve your shield, health, energy, and eventually learn new skills. It's important to note that every time you purchase something in the skill tree, everything will become slightly more expensive. This isn't an issue at first but around halfway through the game, you'll need to take branching your skill trees more seriously.

You will understand the meaning of obtaining power in Sundered. It's the kind of feeling you get from playing games like BioShock, where you can either save or sacrifice Little Sisters to gain more power.

Unlike in BioShock, where the difference is a small amount, Sundered's depiction of power is far more evident. You can either "resist" the power to attain its more human form or you can embrace it, letting it corrupt Eshe in exchange for a far superior version of the same power. The difference between the two versions is so magnanimous that it even affects the game's ending.

Death in Sundered means that the labyrinthine areas you go through change. This doesn't mean there aren't permanent areas such as boss rooms, but the randomly generated areas can make the game a little tedious to play as you run around looking for the right path. The true rewards of exploration are small and rare, but finding a bundle of shards every time you re-enter an area is always nice.


Sundered
is a visual stunner. Everything about the game - the characters, backgrounds, and animations are all hand-drawn. It gives the game a high budget animated film feel that is just waiting to be explored. Though the hallways are just about the same and begin to get a little stale when you get farther in the game, the varied enemy designs and backgrounds will steal your breath away.

The bosses in particular are some of the most well-designed creatures I have ever seen. They are bizarre and tell their own micro-stories about how the world has been sundered. Like blazing through its levels areas, battles against bosses in Sundered will have you running and jumping everywhere while targeting their weak spots. These boss fights are massive in scope, so prepare to showcase some serious platforming skills.

Sundered shows us what might happen if Cthulhu was awakened and allowed to walk the Earth. It is now available on Steam and should not be missed.



About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.


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