Cyberpunk Dystopian Dark Souls-Lite, and a must play for 2019. That’s the best way I can describe The Surge 2.
And Surge 2 is very interesting to me because it was developed by Dek13 Interactive. They also made the first one in the Surge series, so this obviously is the sequel to that, but they also worked on Lords of the Fallen. And if you’ll remember that game, it was an action RPG very much along the vein of Dark Souls. Certainly not as good as Dark Souls, but you can see where their inspiration came from and they’ve certainly gotten much better at it over time.
Now, if you’ll remember the first Surge, you played as Warren, who actually was a new employee for CREO, which was a giant headquarters, one of the largest tech conglomerates controlling the world. And it was his first day of work, everything goes wrong, and that’s what sparks the adventure of that first story.
In The Surge 2, you’re not actually playing as Warren this time around. Instead, you play as a nameless character that you’re going to create, and he wakes up from a coma — or she. And, of course, you explore various plot threads to expound more on the workings of CREO and the City of Jericho itself.
Controls and Elements
Now, where Surge 2 really shines is the combat and equipment system. The battles are this nice balance of fair and punishing puzzles, which require you to read opponent’s moves and then react accordingly. And sometimes this may mean evading, waiting for an opening, attacking horizontally or vertically, locking onto weak points, or maybe even parrying to counterattack or using your droid in order to escape for the time being and heal. Each enemy basically has different ways of engaging you, so it’s gonna be your responsibility to learn their patterns and then respond in the correct manner.
Now, just remember you’re going to get punched in the mouth for your mistakes, which means a lot of game over screens, much like the Dark Souls series, so you’re gonna have to be on your toes with each engagement. Thankfully, though, with The Surge 2, they have these upgrade stations and save points, they do both, known as med bays. And when you approach a new area you’ll find a med bay and you’re usually also greeted with a new enemy type, so thankfully you can attempt to learn their nuances, practice a little bit, without being punished too harshly in case you are wiped out by the enemy because you’ll just literally get reverted back to that med bay.
The equipment and upgrades go very hand-in-hand with the combat mechanics due to your character’s robotic rig suit and its ability to be drastically customized. Now, what I mean by that is almost every enemy you face has weapons and equipment on their body that you can steal by taking off their limbs. So, let’s say the new enemy you meet has a beastly looking sword of epic proportions. Well, you just gotta lock on that body part and cut it off with a finishing move. Also, let’s say you see someone with a piece of armor you like. Well, you can cut that limb off too. You’ll then receive this schematic of said item that you can build at the med bay. And therefore, you can pretty much customize your rig to your liking with whatever stat buffs you like.
Now, in order to upgrade your equipment, you’re gonna need two things. One, your parts gained from dismembering enemies as well as any in-game currency, which is known as tech salvage. It’s really just a placeholder for experience and currency that you can use to purchase weapons, items, and character stat upgrades.
And the first is pretty self-explanatory, but the tech salvage is typically acquired by defeating enemies and it’s gonna be completely lost if you are killed in action. This is very reminiscent to what you’ve experienced before with a game like Dark Souls, where you can lose your souls.
So, coupled with that, the tech salvage is one of the more interesting mechanics. There’s this thing called the tech salvage multiplier, which is gonna greatly increase the tech salvage you receive with the more enemies you destroy, maybe the more salvage you are carrying overall, and it only is going to reset upon dying or returning to a med bay. So, there’s an interesting risk/reward opportunity to amass salvage.
Now, we touched on it a little bit earlier, but your droid plays an important role because you can use him to unlock pathways, maybe offer cover fire as a turret or sniper rifle, and he can even stun enemies if you’re in a jam. Two other droid mechanics also worth noting are the spray can and hide and seek banner mode. The spray can allows players connected online to leave messages for one another while the banner drops this decoy of yourself wherever you want to place it. And the idea is basically you’re playing hide and seek, so it’s you hide the decoy to the best of your abilities and you’re hoping that other players won’t find it in their games. So, the less people that locate your decoy, the more salvage you’re gonna get rewarded. It’s usually about an hour-long period, if I remember correctly, but it’s a pretty amusing game device.
And lastly, the map is quite large and can be a bit overwhelming at first glance, but you will start to see this pattern in opening shortcuts and that greatly reduces the time traversing from point A to point B. You can view the map at these kiosks, but I wouldn’t have minded some sort of map HUD to mark interesting areas as I progressed. It would have nicely rounded out the experience.
Graphics and Sound
And as for graphics, The Surge 2 is pretty eye candy, especially when looking at the details on the equipment. The particle effects on the weapons are mesmerizing and really look devastating when used in a combo or as a counterattack. And the sound, I mean I love the song on the title screen and all the gritty mechanical sounds within the game itself, all of which remind me that I’m in a dystopian future world. So, if you have a great sound setup, you gotta use it. You’re not gonna be disappointed.
Games like this with a high difficulty curve can sometimes really struggle with pacing issues if the players get stuck or lost for an extended period of time. In the beginning, I found the ability to upgrade quite addicting and took my time farming out enemies in order to get the character build I wanted. The key here is I was never bored by the idea of farming, though, which is a far cry from other games I’ve played in the past. And also, the location of new enemies after med bays gave me a fairly painless option to experiment without losing too much of my progress.
And sure, I definitely was stuck with a boss battle or two, but knowing that I could farm for upgrades gave me additional options to try, rather than just being stuck in boss battle tedium. I suspect most others are gonna feel the same way, as the difficulty seems a bit less brutal than those in the Dark Souls series, and other similar series, for that matter; and I didn’t find myself getting too lost, but I still think, again, this game would benefit from an always accessible map and fast travel at every med bay.
So, should you play The Surge 2? I’m gonna say, yes, because I feel like it fulfills this void for those action RPG fans that are craving a bit of a challenge and game mechanics that also empower the player and make them feel stronger. The cyberpunk futuristic worlds is a nice bonus and a great hold me over until Cyberpunk 2077 launches in 2020.
And if you’re still on the fence, I know the original Surge was the free game on PlayStation Plus back a few months ago, I think it was in April, and Surge is currently available for Xbox Game Pass, so there’s some additional options for you there. But just keep in mind that The Surge 2 feels more polished by comparison, though.
All right, that’s all I got for now. Please leave a like, comment, and subscribe down below if this is something you want to see more of. Thanks for watching. Have a good one.