Things don't get off to a great start with a control system that you have to grow accustomed to (rather than master, unlike with Rune). Where Rune is left standing however, is with the graphics and combat--the models are larger, and there are 17 levels with rippling water-shadows and long, undulating background landscapes. Any extra power from stronger video cards would help by accentuating beauty and keeping the overall rendering process from slowing down.
As a reward for mastering the controls, you are given multiple combat moves as if playing a console beat-em-up game. As is usual for class-based adventuring, some moves, and some weapons retrieving, work better or worse depending on the chosen character. You have 30 species out for your blood and the AI is excellent. Some come straight at you, others hunt in a more subtle fashion until you're surrounded. One precise sword blow will result in quick decapitation, so combat is as much of a slugfest as it is with Rune--with the added possibility of using "independent" limbs as weapons.
The game is maturely rated due to the over-the-top gore. That's life in the publicity-grabbing games industry, but unlike Soldier Of Fortune, Severance has offers more hours of playtime. Just forget the system requirements: some slowdown could occur in heavy action on an Athlon/700, let alone PII/350 systems and the 128MB RAM quoted on the game specifications. You also need at least 800MB Hard Disk Space.
Ultimately if you liked Rune then this is the game to graduate to. It's bigger, bloodier and longer, and like Rune, biased toward the single player. Set aside some serious time if going for this game--they took five years to make it, and you'll need to take a long while to get extract the full value. --Kenneth Henry
The story is somewhat cliched and "done", but it sets the scene suitably, and a cliche done well can be better than an attmept at originality.
There are four characters to take control of, each with their own fighting mstyles, strengths and weaknesses. For example, the barbarian can weild monstrously powerful two-handed swords/axes, but as a result cannot carry sheilds simultaneously. Try and use a single-handed weapon and a sheild and you'll find he's useless. Transversely, the knight is very adept with single-handed swords and shields, yet does not have the stamina to effectively use double-handed weapons. ALso, the dwarf has a short reach, while the amazon has the longest, using pole-arm weapons. This really adds to the games replay-ability, as each character requires you to approach combat in a very different way, and as such, the entire game.
Combat itself uses a lock-on system similar to Zelda. Once an enemy is targeted, your character circles them with the turning keys (oddly, there are no strafe keys, and the mouse makes the turning ones redundant). Different attacks are made using different combinations of directions and the attack key.Read more ›
The varieties of weapons is quite good; each having console style combos with which to batter/sever/smash opponents with. As your character increases in experience; you get access to even more powerful moves. It is quite satisfying running up to one or more enemies (without using lock), unleasing a combo and seeing them cleaved in half or quarters or however many pieces you wish. The graphics are excellent; reflections in shimmering water, clouds, textures are all first class. Your character gains more wounds the more injured they sustain; and of course your enemies lose heads, arms and legs with amusing regularity. Blood spurts from bloody stumps all the time; which is ok for a while; but gets boring quickly. Much publicity has been made of the fact that you can use dismembered limbs as weapons; but these are pretty useless; and there's no stealth involved where you could, say, sneakily strangle an orc with some intestines from your last hapless victim. Thankfully Rebel Act don't model this.Read more ›