Eshe, who is captured by a dark force that catapults her into an underworld. We know nothing about her, just as we ignore the history of the place in which we find ourselves. The first rooms we pass serve as tutorials and teach us to jump and take advantage of Eshe’s agility to avoid obstacles.
Eventually we arrive in a large area where there is a demonic splinter that, once collected, becomes our main weapon for the entire game. To keep us company during the adventure there is only a disturbing voice, which invites us to take certain actions and explains some key passages.
We can consider it as a sort of narrative voice that is addressed directly to the protagonist, a voice of which we will learn the true nature only in the final.
When we are given the opportunity to explore freely, Sundered immediately throws us into the face of his metroidvania nature,between jumps initially impossible, doors closed by mechanisms that require specific objects to be activated and other similar tricks to block the different areas. In short, we are free within the current limits of Eshe. As you can see, advancing through the adventure will unlock the skills we need to access the entire map, including a double jump,
an energy cannon and so on. Meanwhile, we must untangle ourselves among a sea of platforms, collecting precious crystals and killing enemy hordes. We will talk about the fights in a dedicated paragraph, because they are one of the most critical elements of Sundered.
The crystals, on the other hand, deserve a quick hint: they are used to buy or improve Eshe’s abilities from a tree scheme and are found by killing their opponents or by smashing some objects of the scenario, such as crates, or strange glass cases or even nuclei energetic evil buttons.
They are essential because initially Eshe is really very weak and is not able to face the most numerous hordes, but increasing the strength, vitality and resistance of the energy shield that protects it, becomes a real war machine. In short: the collection of crystals regulates the progression of the character and in some way that of the game.
One of the main features of Sundered on a technical level is the procedural generation of maps. Once the game has started, the game takes care of creating the structure of an entire area, inside which it places the various rooms. Dying, the macrostructure remains fixed, while the single rooms, except the main ones, change their layout. In this way, in theory, every game
will be different from the previous one and, always in theory, even the same game should offer a certain variety. In practice, however, the situation ends up being very different. Despite the hand-drawn elements, Sundered is a repetitive game overall. But on this point we will return later, because to understand it completely another element is missing: the enemies, also randomly generated.
Let’s not talk about a randomness like the one seen in Dead Cells, where the positioning of each creature is still fixed and decided in the generation of maps, but something more impalpable. Basically in Sundered the explorable areas, separate boss rooms, are completely empty, but from time to time they are filled with hordes of monsters, which vary depending on where we are.
They can attack anywhere and anytime, which always keeps the tension high, but which causes quite a few problems.The most obvious is that in some cases the presence of enemies clashes with the design of the level in which we find ourselves. For example, we had to fight while we were climbing a complex series of platforms, protected by assorted traps, ending up literally not to understand anything so much was the confusion.
TOO MANY ENEMIES?
Confusion that the rest is the true stylistic code of the combat system, given that often the enemies are so many as to make illegible what happens on the screen. I
magine, for example, having to dodge the attacks of about thirty monsters, some of which appear in areas just crossed, just off the field, and hit at great speed. Cases in which newly cleaned areas are again occupied by enemies appeared from nowhere are not uncommon.
Sometimes the only way to get away with it is to die and come back when you have a character appropriate to the challenge. All this translates into having to press forsennatamente on the attack button hoping to get away. Strategy and tactics are pure utopia