During your travels, swarms of hostile creatures will occasionally bombard you from all directions. Sundered is particularly punishing during these moments, especially after having made substantial progress into uncharted territory; the blaring alarm cue that preempts each encounter instantly fills you with dread. It can feel overwhelming early on, but you quickly gain new abilities that give you the upper hand. The combat system is smooth and responsive, utilizing a level of complexity akin to Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden. Familiar attacks like launchers, air-juggles, and downward strikes can all be linked together to create an assortment of devastating combos. In addition, you acquire a fair number of abilities as you progress, including an air dash, a charge slash, and a double jump. They make you stronger, and make the process of dodging and countering attacks during a chaotic fight all the more exciting. Combat is demanding, but mastering your moves leads to exciting performances that leave you hungry for more.
On the occasion you do perish, you return to a safe room at the beginning of an area where you can spend currency on new skills. The wealth of stats you can enhance is as welcoming as it is extensive. Given the number of times you’re likely to die, the opportunity to upgrade your character and explore different builds, prioritizing offense, defense, or mobility, is rewarding. You’re even given the choice to enhance your abilities further by embracing dark energy from the Shining Trapezohedron, which adds another layer to progression; and your decision to accept or reject the opportunity will determine which of the three endings you ultimately receive.
The constant progression is a godsend considering Sundered’s high level of difficulty. Boss fights in particular offer the most challenge, steadily ramping up with riveting duels against monstrosities that demand new tactics and quick reflexes to overcome. But there are times where Sundered’s difficulty falters. Much of it roots from issues caused by its procedural room generation, which can sometimes work against you. You will occasionally face a boss or a swarm of enemies in an environment that–by chance–has random obstacles that get in your way. Moments like this–though rare–make you feel like your ability to survive isn’t in your hands, but rather by luck of the draw.
It’s frustrating when you’re dealt a bad hand, but the reward of overcoming hardships outweighs the vexation. You’re given the proper tools to succeed, and when you use them tactically, what was once frustrating quickly becomes gratifying. No matter the failure you endure–fair or unfair–Sundered always manages to reward you one small step at a time.
Sundered is an enjoyable journey that iterates upon the Metroidvania style in ways that are both satisfying and substantial. Its progression systems are constantly fulfilling and combat is complex and exhilarating. While rare moments of unfair circumstances hold it back, Sundered remains a compelling and rewarding experience that you’ll be eager to play again, if only to seek out its other endings or to simply to wipe out another swarm of grotesque creatures.
Source:: GameSpot Reviews