After the mixed reception to 2014’s Lords of the Fallen, Deck 13 parted with CI Games to develop 2017’s The Surge by their lonesome. A faster-paced ‘Souls-like that stood out thanks to its sci-fi setting, limb-targeting exo-rig combat, and intuitive, flexible progression system. What it lacked was polish and a key component that many fans were after – a multitude of mechanically interesting and challenging bosses to slay. The Surge 2 has expanded on that solid foundation, offering up a larger and more diverse environment, new and challenging enemy types, more gear, a refined progression and crafting systems, and more than double the number of bosses. However, the Fledge engine that powers The Surge 2 is starting to show its age, especially on the base consoles.
READ MORE: The Surge Review
Although it’s not vital to have played the first game, The Surge 2 benefits from the player understanding a bit of the back story, and several key characters – some of whom were just voices on an audiolog - reappear in Jericho City. Events in The Surge 2 pick up right after the climax of the first game where, irrespective of your final choice, a semi-sentient nano-virus payload was detonated in the atmosphere, sending a shard crashing into the aircraft your new protagonist was travelling on. Two months later, you awake in a detention centre falling apart around you (which serves as the tutorial), before escaping onto the Jericho City streets - on the hunt for Athena, the daughter of CREO’s former CEO Jonah Guttenberg, who seems to have some connection to the player. You swiftly discover the city has been quarantined by the military to avoid the spread of the “Defrag” disease, and there’s a giant nano-virus anomaly looming above.
Despite its apparent size, Jericho City is more dense than sprawling. You’ll be fighting through it block-by-block, opening shortcuts as you go.
Unlike the first game, which put you in the shoes of paraplegic turned exo-rig warrior Warren, The Surge 2 lets you create your own protagonist, male or female, with plenty of customisation options. You even pick one of several character backgrounds, though they only seem to offer minor dialogue variations and a unique set of armour from vendors. The city manages to feel both familiar and vastly different from the sprawling CREO complex; the Jericho City downtown serves a sprawling core area, with three large zones branching off, typically connected by a hub area full of survivors that offer up expository dialogue or secondary quests that reward new gear schematics, crafting components, or simple tech scrap.
Common enemy mobs and boss characters are no longer primarily psychotic augmented workers, malfunctioning robots, or angry production lines, rather gang factions and shady paramilitary groups that have carved up the quarantined city.
Mechanically, The Surge 2 is more of the same with several refinements, and some much-needed polish.
The best aspect of the progression system is that everything can be adjusted on the fly, allowing you to completely rebuild your character as the situation demands.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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Focus Home Interactive
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
24 September 2019
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