Sundered: Eldritch Edition is a game that takes a lot from many other Metroidvania games but with its challenging difficulty, Eldritch horror and the hand-drawn animations, Sundered is a relatively good game that stumbles only at certain points.
Thunder Lotus games is a Canadian developer based in Montreal. Sundered is their second game releasing July, 2017.
You are Eshe, a woman who has wandered through the desert and has discovered ruins to an ancient civilization and with that the Shining Trapezohedron. Even though the story takes a backseat in this game, the Trapezohedron gives bits and pieces of lore when located in certain rooms throughout the game. I believe the jist is that there was a war between the Eschaton and the invading Valkyries. There was a failed ritual that corrupted both sides, The Eschaton transformed into the Eldritch horrors and the Valkryies fused with their weaponry.
What makes Sundered stand out more than any game that I have played recently is the hand drawn animations. The enemies lurch, leap and scuttle which imbued feelings of uneasiness. The main section bosses look fantastic, especially Hysteria. Each region boss towers over the protagonist. The scale is fantastic. Eshe is only an ant in comparison. Main bosses are unique and have an evolving set of attacks that are easy learn-able, but they hit hard. A few missteps and Eshe is back at square one.
Gameplay consists of not necessarily mindlessly mashing the attack button, but it does. The horde is a garbage concept, honestly. Endless enemies bombard you and the mindlessly button mashing ensues. The horde on occasion creates a good sense of impending doom and if you are fortunate to come out alive, a sense of exhilaration is well deserved. A lot of the time the deaths that come at the hand of the bad guys are just strictly unfair. Getting dog-piled by ten enemies and dying just because of bad happenstance is just not fun. Combat may seem lackluster but with the addition of the skill tree, it does gain a small amount of depth. Abilities are unlocked at shrines and can be upgraded through the utilization of shards and drops from higher level enemies.
Level design is decent but nothing spectacular. Each region is incredibly large. Rooms that connect the bigger rooms together are randomly generated, which works but it does not really help with engaging enemies. For the most part I flew through the connecting rooms without noticing what horrors inhabited them. There were times that I ran through a room and entered a room that was identical to the last.
Sundered is a fun game to an extent. To beat the game on the harder difficulty I had to grind to almost acquire the entire skill tree. It felt like the game’s longevity was dependent on grinding. I played through the game twice and really saw no gameplay difference between channeling the shards and destroying them, only visually. The game is hard to the point of exhaustion. Days before completing the game, I tried to destroy Rivalry and I just could not. An hour flew by and I just put the game down and proceeded to go to bed.
Sundered’s bosses can be really difficult to the point of utter frustration BUT I did enjoy it. Did NOT throw my controller but thought about it.
I just complained to my fiance about the difficulty