Hands-On with The Surge 2 – Sci-Fi Dark Souls with Exo Suits
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:00pm 02/08/19 | Comments
Some gameplay capture from the recent beta, and a rundown of how it’s shaping up.
In 2019 just about anything can be a Dark Souls. For example, one could easily state, “This drink is the Dark Souls of drinks”. Not that you should do anything of the sort. Such is the power of From Software’s challenging, brutal, and beloved action-RPG series. One that puts a razor-sharp focus on brutal, rewarding, and challenging melee combat. When it comes to Dark Souls, the laws of writing allow the word ‘brutal’ and ‘challenging’ over and over again.
The Dark Souls comparison and reference, in relation to developer Deck13’s The Surge is more in the realm of facsimile. In that it can be summarised as “Sci-fi Dark Souls”. With the first game, as per our review, adhering to the Dark Souls formula – whilst leaning very heavily into the difficulty and challenging part of the equation. “This is a game built around the idea that combat in a lot of cases (see: most) will end up with you dead,” we wrote. “Running around an environment will only become easier once you learn where enemies like to hang out and what path or route might net you some trusty scraps to craft better gear.”
The Surge 2 - Beta Gameplay (Part 1)
The Surge 2 isn’t so much a departure as it is a continuation of the above, improvements made here and there but the flow still all Souls, all day. That means heading out into branching environments, taking on enemies, collecting scrap metal, and hopefully taking it back to the nearest Medical Station. To save your progress and invest in an upgrade or two or perhaps a new piece of armour or a new weapon to wield.
Where The Surge 2 feels different, is with the pace of the game itself and the speed of the combat. It doesn’t enter the realm of button-mashing or arcade, but early on stuff like blocking is easier than the first outing with counters being able to be triggered with speed and finesse. In a way it diminishes the feeling of walking around in a heavy exo-suit carrying a super-heavy chunk of future metal sharpened into a blade but leads to a tutorial area that hits the right balance of manageable and challenging without feeling like a slow grind. As the opening parts of the original game did.
The Surge 2 - Beta Gameplay (Part 2)
The bulk of the experience though, takes place after you escape the prison and enter the city of Jericho. Here the more open and branching design of the game versus the first outing is made apparent. And the depth to the crafting and skill system feels more natural and inviting.
With the beta focusing on what is essentially the first few hours with the game it, The Surge 2 offers up a promising extension of the action found in the original. It didn’t quite hit the mark that we hoped for. Although character and enemy animation was impressive, character detail is basically last-gen. This mixed bag extends to Jericho, which alternates between bland and beautiful depending on which direction you’re headed. The story stuff too, wasn’t that engaging. That said, the whole waking up in a future prison and then becoming part human part killing machine gave off very welcome BioForge vibes.
With The Surge 2 out soon, we’re keen to see more – and are hoping that like with many RPGs over the years, the good stuff comes later. Once your character is levelled and capable of surviving more than, say, a single blow to the head.