The Surge Review

The Surge Review Ashleigh Linington
Lasting Appeal
User Rating: 5.9 (2 votes)

Developed by Deck 13 Interactive, who brought us Lords of the Fallen, and published by Focus Home Interactive for the PS4, XboxOne and PC, The Surge is an action RPG that tests just how good you are with a controller/keyboard. Branded as a Dark Souls clone, this game had me nervous before I even started it up.

The game starts out introducing you to your character, Warren a paraplegic looking for work at CREO (a medical device company). The game is set in a dystopian future as Earth is starting to die due to humanity’s influence and abuse. After a brief train ride, you proceed to register for your implants that will make you walk again, in exchange you will have to work for CREO using your newly acquired exoskeleton. Things go horribly wrong as your anesthesia doesn’t work as intended. Machines drill into your body installing implants while you endure every painful second. After gruesome blood splatters and screams you are simply dumped onto the trash heap just outside the facility as a failure. Here your fight for survival begins. Here is where you stand your ground. Fight.

The story seems fairy familiar with the big corporation being bad and things go horribly wrong. But what I realised early on is that this game is extremely challenging. Enemies have their own unique weak spots that aren’t armored; these are the sweet spots to deal damage most efficiently. But this is easier said than done. Positioning is extremely important in The Surge and you cannot for instance hit the left arm while the right side of an enemy’s body is pointing towards you. You have no shield or fancy ways to avoid damage, so movement is your friend and so are blocks and dodges, which performed at the right time, will save you. This puts you in an extremely interesting position!

Do you maneuver around the enemy to get to that sweet spot… or do you take your chances on some armored bits risking being hit? Finishing moves deserve a mention, attacks against limbs that are heavily damaged are beautiful and satisfying with the game initiating slow-mo and it throws in over the top blood splashes into the mix. I found that in the heat of battle I fumbled with the targeting system where you aim at a certain body part, this may be due to my nerves though. One thing I did not enjoy at all is the jumping. You cannot just jump on the spot; it has to be at a run which made certain situations quite annoying when you are on a small ledge with no real space for a run-up.

Levels/upgrades to your power core are gained through scrap (XP) you collect by killing enemies. Core Power in The Surge is extremely important. You can split the power between armour and implants to create your own personal build. Implants are upgrades that make it slightly easier to survive in the wasteland that is the CREO complex.

The game is unforgiving when you die. You drop all the scrap you are carrying and you return to your last known Med-Bay. All enemies respawn and you have to fight through it all again at a limited amount of time before your scrap disappears forever. I believe this is intentionally grindy in order for you to build up your strength to face the bigger boss fights. The story line is progressed through audio clips you find scattered all over the CREO complex and what the game lacks in story telling it definitely makes up for in creepy atmosphere. Dead Space came to mind for some reason.

While this game is quite challenging to get the hang of, I tried again and again to master certain areas. The trick is to observe carefully and not just charge into the fight, once you start looking at the game this way it gets slightly easier (only slightly). The atmosphere of the game is amazing and the game really looks beautiful on screen. The only bad thing I can honestly say about the game is my dislike in the repetitiveness of dying and killing the same enemies over and over again. As mentioned before this is done on purpose, but it is a mechanic I don’t enjoy.  This is definitely by no means a casual game and will give the avid action RPG fan a run for their money, and reduce the casual gamer to tears.

The Surge was reviewed by Ruan Du Toit
Follow Ruan on Twitter: @Pryroflamer

Edited By: Darryl & Ashleigh Linington
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