As a third-person RPG that focuses heavily on trial and error combat against enemies is exo-suits, The Surge is best described as a sci-fi Dark Souls. Set within the grounds of a engineering facility named CREO, it’s up to you to figure out why it’s overrun by deranged employees with a thirst for blood. Your character is a man who arrives at its facilities in a wheelchair, but shortly after the acquisition of an engineered exoskeleton he has the ability to walk again.
Combat allows you to target an opponent’s limbs individually before dismembering them. It’s critical to study each enemy type and their weaknesses, so that you can take advantage of a weak spot (such as a part of their body which isn’t covered in armour) and quickly take them down. Much like the Dark Souls series, dodging incoming attacks and biding your time is an all-important strategy. Depending on the weapon that’s equipped, attacks can be dealt in light and heavy blows.
When you die – and it’s only a matter of time – you reload and spawn to the nearest MedBay. These act as safe houses and allow players to upgrade gear and install new modifications into their exo-suit. These modifiers include the chance to increase your damage output, health and a variety of other gameplay buffs. Any scrap you loot from fallen enemies can be used as an in-game currency to develop new equipment and level up your exoskeleton.
The further you get into The Surge the harder it gets. There were mind-numbing moments which included dying with a stash of loot, and if you want to recoup your losses, then you must travel back to your place of death within a time limit to reacquire any scrap you’ve lost – oh, if you also die on the way then you lose your loot forever. I restarted certain segments multiple times until I perfected the required technique to deal with the game’s devilishly difficult enemies. Unfortunately, akin to the Dark Souls series, when you die all the enemies you’ve killed regenerate.
Despite the frustrating gameplay and supremely challenging enemies, I’ve actually quite enjoyed my time in The Surge. Its tactical combat system is refreshing and experimenting with different weapons and exo-suit modifications always helped to provide new ways to kill a tricky enemy. That said, unlike the brilliant tales that are told in its competitors (I.E. Bloodborne and Dark Souls), The Surge fails to keep me engaged within its narrative. Overall, it’s a good game but its lack of a strong story is a bit disappointing.