What happens if we take all the Souls titles and shift them into a Cyberpunk era? The result would probably be similar to The Surge 2. See what we thought in our The Surge 2 review.
Three years after the Lords of the Fallen, Deck 13 decided to try out a new direction in its Dark Souls style titles that ultimately became The Surge. The result was again a mediocre success that didn’t deliver a captivating experience either in story or gameplay, though it was still better than their abortive project with CI Games. With the arrival of The Surge 2 this year, Deck 13, at least, succeeded in bringing a smooth gameplay-driven title that freshens the ideas behind Souls series in a post-apocalyptic era combined with some new ideas that can only be found in this franchise.
Story-wise, The Surge 2 features a simple narrative filled with awful dialogue that often leaves you no alternative except to ignore the story so as to enjoy your time as a machine slayer in Jericho City. It all starts after a plane crash which you were in and lived through. Lucky you!
Roaming around Jericho City and its multiple regions, you recover some memories about a child who is the main focus of the story. As you search for her, you will fight against gigantic bosses and challenging enemies. Aside from the story’s slow pace in telling what has happened to the girl and how the city has changed into a battleground between machines, the way The Surge 2 attempts to narrate its story lacks enough engagement to keep you excited and make you follow it. Having said that, personally, I didn’t expect any tangible overhaul in the narrative. However, when it comes to gameplay, The Surge 2 is a cut above compared to the previous version.
The series’ iconic body-limb-targeting system still feels like a wise and enjoyable mechanic giving a meaningful purpose to all your fights against enemies. Combining the system with cinematic finishers makes it a bit more challenging but satisfying to get what you want from the enemy facing you. However, I’d like to see a wider variety of enemies with more varied weapons to give me more reasons for fighting than just earning Tech Points. Generally, there are, at most, 3 to 4 kind of different enemies in each region, which makes body-targeting a bit pointless after you get what you wanted in your first encounters in any location, though upgrading each weapon through the parts you can get from the corpses of the enemies still seems an interesting option.
Although the body-targeting system still feels the same with no specific improvement, drones are the single best addition to The Surge 2 and bring you a whole new system to take down your enemies and plan more precisely for boss fights. You might think it’s just a way to lower the difficulty level of the game, but with the limited ammo you can use on each drone, beating up the bosses still needs more close combat than ranged shooting. There is a fair amount of drones in The Surge 2 each one with different functionalities. The ones with cutting-edge tech will stand in your away instead of helping you out. Fighting with robots and drones is much more difficult than dealing with humans in The Surge 2, however, sometimes it benefits more to flee than stand and fight.
Upgrading the character and weapons tightly depends on Tech points but that’s not the only requirement. You need to gather some tech scraps as well. But finding high-level scraps is a bit grindy in The Surge 2.
Speaking of the game’s difficulty level, The Surge 2 doesn’t have as high a curve as Souls-Borne titles, but still, you need to get the hang of your weapons and learn each enemy’s pattern of movement and attacks to make it out alive to the end. Moreover, the design of enemies, especially bosses, is the other factor that lowers the challenge. In most cases, you can slow down or interrupt the enemy’s attack thanks to your drones. I’d rather see more unique bosses than repetitive and difficult ones. However, the number of boss fights in The Surge 2 never meets the standards of a Dark Souls game. Unfortunately, The Surge 2 doesn’t feature enough side-quest bosses, which wears you down of exploring the regions and finding valuable items.
Looking at the map in The Surge 2, you may think it’s too tiny for an open-world game, but the density of the world and the complexity of different paths that collide with each other in interesting ways surprise the player. The game features multiple regions, each one with a different type of enemies, background, and environment.
The final step of review, as usual, goes over the game’s graphics and technical aspects, and this is where The Surge 2 fails. Playing The Surge 2 requires time for textures to load completely, and when they get loaded, the quality doesn’t meet standards of an 8th-gen title, especially with the characters’ awful design in the face. Moreover, there are a few bugs which fortunately don’t affect the gameplay that much. Having said that, in terms of animations and smooth movements, The Surge 2 has an acceptable performance.
All in all, The Surge 2 might not seem like a ground-breaking title from Deck 13 within the borders of its genre, but the game features a bunch of need-to-be-done improvements compared to the original version to make it the star it can be. If you are looking for a real sequel with many new features, you better wait for the third installment of the series, but The Surge 2 is still an entertaining game for those who are looking for an extreme challenge in combats.