Hello Dark Souls my old friend……
If you’ve read the opening line and expected a Dark Souls article, you can navigate away from the page now. However, this is very much Dark Souls-type, as Deck13 and Focus Home Interactive bring in a new action-RPG to the table, titled The Surge. I say it’s like Dark Souls because erm…..IT’S BLOODY IMPOSSIBLE! Ok, not impossible but if one thing is for certain out of this review, you will die…… a lot.
First thing is first, without spoiling too much, you play in the role as Warren, who has lost the use of his legs and has been stricken to a wheelchair. Bring in futuristic company CREO, who are offering Warren a job and the ability to become some kind of Robocop super human, thanks to their advances in technology allowing them to create Warren a exo-suit that is one of a kind. All is not as it seems as you quickly find out, and it is up to you to find out why so many of these ‘machines’ were killed and who is responsible. It’s a pretty good story, but quite a predictable one if I’m honest.
Deck13 impressed me in terms of the visuals, and the overall atmosphere in the game. Every environment, from downbeat factories with old machines and others all had a mysterious, yet chilling atmosphere to go with them. You could never tell if an enemy was about to sneak up on you from the side, knowing that in 2 hits, you’ll more than likely be dead. The Surge is a game where you have to keep your wits about you at all times. Failing to do so will just result in frustration, and possible controller rage!
Frustration and Rage are two adjectives I would use when talking about The Surge, which is why I liken it a lot to the Dark Souls series. Although the stories are completely different, the combat formula is very much the same. You will have to work out when the best time to hit your opponent, and when is the best time to dodge. Your attacks are took up by a stamina bar, so make sure you also keep an eye on it in order to know when the best time to attack is.
Although there are only a handful of bosses in the game (I found that quite disappointing), the normal enemies that you face almost feel like mini-bosses on their own if you don’t manage to get to grips with how they attack etc. It’s a fundamental part of the game that you must learn how your enemies work, or you’ll just find yourself quitting and never going back to it.
The game doesn’t just throw you in the deep end however (it might seem like it), as there is every opportunity for you to upgrade the gear that you have on you. When you fight the enemies, if you can kill them with a cool-looking finishing move, they will drop more tech scrap and other bits which you can use in order to upgrade your exo-suit, in turn making you stronger and giving you the ability to finish off enemies in a more quicker fashion. These upgrades and health regeneration can be done at Ops Centers. You can return to the Op Center mid mission, if not too far away, in order to give yourself a health boost or store away the tech scrap that you have collected in order to spend it at a later date or whenever you see fit.
Thankfully, making new and upgrading equipment is quite an easy task. Unlike many other RPGs I have played, it isn’t a time-filled chore that you often forget about down the line in order to focus more on the story. It’s pretty much all explained on the simple screen. If you have enough tech scrap stored, you can use that to upgrade your equipment or install new gear. It was important for Deck13 to make this a simple task due to the games’ unforgiving nature. Crafting and upgrading your equipment is a vital part of the game, if you are going to progress further into the game. Sometimes, enemies will also drop bonus equipment, that when equipped will give your character bonus features, such as your health regenerating a little after each kill; that to me felt like a godsend!
As I said previously, there is a handful of boss fights within The Surge. I’m almost at the end of the game and have only faced 4 to this point, which is a little underwhelming. However, the boss fights require more than just swinging your weapon at them. For each boss fight, there is a way to kill them specifically, and it’s up to you to find out. I found out the hard way, often dying over 10 times in one sitting. It’s all about learning how they fight, and keeping an eye on open spots for you to take advantage of.
A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by Focus Home Interactive