Seraph – Fanatical First Impressions

Everything was going smoothly in Seraph. Then it turned into Dark Souls with guns.

I’ve been trying to progress past this one part in Seraph, the new side-scrolling shoot-em-up by Dreadbit that released this Tuesday. I was doing pretty well for a while, too! But now I’m stuck with a long grind in front of me.

Allow me to elaborate. The premise of Seraph is that its titular character has mastered guns to such an extent that you–the player–don’t need to worry about aiming. What you need to worry about is dodging. From the get-go, you cannot stand still, or you will die. A lot. And dying is bad.

I’ve died so much in Seraph that I went looking for the difficulty settings. There is a problem, though, since I’m on the lowest setting: normal. That’s not the only problem that I’m having. Progression in Seraph is based around two things: Shards and Crafting. Shards allow you to activate a variety of passive abilities called Oaths. The shards come in different rarities, and the rarer Shards upgrade the Oaths’ strength. For example, one Oath increases the health gain from Healing Orbs, which can range from +3 to +15 when you use the highest rarity shard. That’s… not really a lot. The enemies I’ve been running my head into tend to take a fifth of my health, and I rarely get Healing Orbs to begin with. That, or I am just bad at this game (which is very likely).

Why Dying in Seraph is Bad

  1. Every time you die, your max health is reduced by a third.
  2. You only get two respawns before it’s game over.
  3. Unless you find the checkpoints that are hidden away in each level, a Game Over will launch you back to the beginning of the section. Not the level, the section. Were you on 3-4? Too bad, welcome back to 3-1.

Crafting, on the other hand, is… odd. Other than the default Pistols, all of the other guns have to be picked up from gun lockers that spawn in each level. I’m not sure if the guns are randomized or not, but it certainly isn’t helpful if that MK-III Shotgun you crafted doesn’t pop up for three levels. Then there are the Wards, which are the game’s equivalent of armor and are also randomly placed around the map. They are supposed to provide defensive bonuses such as bonus health, but I rarely noticed if they ever kept me alive. Finally, Blessings are abilities that you can use to help eradicate the daemons that murderize you. Again, you have to craft them from enemy drops. I feel like there is a trend there…

I’ll probably pick it up again later and beat my head against this daemon-colored wall until I bust through. If that’s up your alley, go ahead and pick it up. The game just launched, and it’s a launch day sale, too! Don’t take this for a full review, though. After all, I haven’t finished it yet – let’s hope I can actually do that…

 

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