The Surge – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Deck 13 Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: Xbox One

The Surge – Review

Site Score
8.4
Good: Rip of limbs to steal gear, Combat, Setting
Bad: Small amount of input lag and problems with hit detection
User Score
8.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Those who have cleared all the content in Dark Souls III, Nioh and other similar games will be able to rest easy now that the release of The Surge is upon us. We’ll fast-forward to a dystopian future where it’s all about rebuilding the planet, which is done by a massive corporation CREO. Of course, you know things will not go as planned, and you end up fighting for your life, tearing the limbs from your opponents to become stronger by using their enhancements to fend for yourself.

The Surge

Story

As expected, the human race has completely fucked up the planet by deforesting, global warming and many other items that have made our planet rather barren, and for many different groups of people, hard to sustain a certain quality of life. Nonetheless, a massive corporation by the name of CREO offers to make things better, and many of their projects seem to have a certain effect. You will be playing as Warren, a rather young man, who is stuck in a wheelchair. CREO offers you the chance to become a fully ‘functional’ human again, if you decide to work for them. Of course, an offer like this is hard to withstand, and soon you find yourself in the CREO headquarters, choosing which job you wish to apply to.

When you make a choice between two available jobs, which will just determine the class of your character in-game, you will be operated upon, as you’ll need to get several implants to make your body functional again, as well as be able to equip the heavy gear you’ll be working with. Not to anyone’s surprise, something goes horribly wrong, as you’re not sedated during the operation, which means you’re wide awake when they start drilling holes inside of you, making you pass out after a while. Before you know it, you find yourself being dragged away by a drone on a makeshift scrap yard, filled with zombie-like colleagues, who are out to get you.

Overall the story is rather simple and never truly evolves that quickly. It’s clear the developers just wanted a cool setting and then focus on the gameplay, rather than a fully fleshed out storyline. Nonetheless, the story aspects that are present are fairly cool, but don’t expect a very deep narrative.

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Graphics

Graphically The Surge is a rather impressive piece of Sci-Fi goodness. While the graphical prowess will not always use the full capabilities of the Xbox One, it’s still a good game to look at. Of course, seeing this title is somewhat of a Dark Souls clone, you’ll encounter the same type of enemies over and over again, which is ‘justified’ by the usage of the same exo-suits the characters are wearing. Nonetheless, a bit more diversity in the enemy department would have done wonders for this game, especially in the beginning when you’re wading through the same type of enemies all the time.

All of the copy-paste material aside, the game looks good in every department, even though you’ll be spending most of your time in a futuristic factory setting, with drones, mechs and humanoids in heavy mechanical exoskeletons. Overall this setting is very fun for the genre, as most Dark Souls clones are often situated in the same type of setting, namely a more medieval setting. Truth be told, it felt very satisfying ripping mech parts, and the limbs attached to them, from our enemies to later utilize those parts on our own character.

The Surge 2

Sound

The Surge has a rather atmospheric soundtrack, rather than a very intrusive one. While the music changes tempo from time to time, it remains on the background for the biggest part of the game, which isn’t a bad thing, as you’ll be focusing on your enemies throughout the entire campaign of this title anyway.

You’ll notice there is a bit of voice acting present, ranging from the grunts of your enemies, to properly done ‘cinematics’ and short conversations with those that still seem sane. Nonetheless, a bit more would have been nice to fully flesh out this title, as it feels like dishing out the gameplay section was the primary focus of the developers of the game, which is of course nothing to mope and complain about.

Gameplay

Just like Dark Souls, Nioh and many others, The Surge is an action RPG, which focuses on hard to overcome enemies, trial and error, and a slow but rewarding progression system. For the biggest part of the game, you’ll be figuring out attack patterns of your enemies and then try taking them on, whilst you will die many times before making any real progress in the game. Nonetheless, making progress, be it by overcoming small foes or bigger bosses is extremely rewarding in this title, as it shows your skill level is clearly improving.

The Surge 3

At the beginning of the game, you’ll be prompted to choose between two classes, namely the somewhat more agile ‘Lynx’ or the brutish ‘Rhino’ suit, each having their advantages when it comes to brute power or agility. Nonetheless, the play style of the game remains pretty much the same, as it’s all about learning the attack patterns of your enemies, and dodge in time before you get your ass handed to you, all while occasionally nudging the block button to defend you from hard to dodge attacks. Combat is rather versatile in this game, all while keeping the controls as simple as possible. You’ll notice the combat alters slightly when handling different types of weapons, as they simply respond slower/faster and have a different range.

You’ll notice that combat itself is rather simple, but your enemies can be attacked in many different ways. You’ll be able to target different body parts, be it armored or unarmored ones. The armored pieces will of course dish out the least damage when you mercilessly bash on them, but it will grant you the chance to damage the armor, and then use a finishing move which pretty much allows you to tear off the limb with the armor attached to it. When doing this several times in a row, it will allow you to recreate the piece of armor the enemy was wearing, immediately granting you the chance to power up. This gear system is quite fun, not only because of the sheer brutality, but the fact that everything your enemies wear (for humanoid characters), can also become a part of your personal arsenal. Other gear involves placing implants, which are pretty much items that can be attached to your power core (which can be leveled by investing the scrap you find along the way) that grant you active or passive bonuses, such as healing, or slower power drainage.

The Surge 4

The Dark Souls principle can also be found in this game, where every kill grants you with Tech Scrap, which is needed to either craft or level up your power core. When returning to your central hub per zone, you can bank whatever scrap you have on you, and keep it safe. Nonetheless, don’t forget that returning to your safe zone will also respawn all enemies when you walk out in the hostile factory once again. If you die with a lot of scrap  on you, you will have the chance to go back to the place of your unfortunate demise, but you’ll have to do so in a specific timeframe, as otherwise all your collected scrap (safe for that in the bank) will be gone. The timer will extend a tiny bit per kill you make while tracking back to the place of your death. Overall this mechanic adds some extra stress to regaining what you lost, which is both fun, but annoying as well. More than once we found ourselves dead in an impossible to reach location, thus our scrap was instantly gone for good, as we had no way of reaching it. If you die when trying to recover the scrap, the first batch is also lost.

Is all good in the The Surge? Not really, as there are clearly some hit detection bugs left, and sometimes you’ll notice some input lag, but other than that, there is hardly anything to mope about. This game is clearly inspired by Dark Souls and the likes, but it makes the game its own, not only by the setting, but its entire combat setting and gear system. All of this is very commendable and makes for a fun title.

The Surge 5

Conclusion

The Surge may imitate a certain franchise to a certain extent, but it does so much to stand out in the genre, which isn’t really all too accessible for casual players. Nonetheless, the threshold for The Surge makes this game an ideal experience for those who are new to the genre to give it a try, and who knows eventually evolve towards Dark Souls and other similar games that are slightly more difficult. That being said, The Surge holds challenging gameplay, a very interesting and original gear system, all going hand in hand with a great graphical style, an ominous soundtrack and a fairly realistic dystopian future of our world. The only thing this game may lack is a bit depth in the story department, but the gameplay makes up for that tenfold.

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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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The Surge - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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