E3 Preview – The Surge 2
This was a title I definitely wasn’t expecting to see at this E3. The original The Surge was a very good game, and I did enjoy it a lot, but I was well aware it suffered from some issues. Issues such as a lack of environmental variety as well as a lack of overall polish, something most certainly caused by its lower budget compared to the games it was trying to emulate (namely, the Dark Souls games). A little more than a year later, developer Deck13 has already announced a sequel slated for 2019. I had the opportunity to attend a behind closed doors presentation of The Surge 2 at Focus Home Interactive’s booth on the E3 show floor and I have to admit that I’m really impressed with what I saw.
For those who don’t know, The Surge is a game that emulates the gameplay and level design of the Souls games (as well as Souls “clones” [I hate this term]) while boasting some unique aspects of its own. The most obvious being the futuristic setting and the tactical combat that heavily emphasis aiming at specific enemy body parts in order to rip them off and equip them to your power suit. The original game had a simple but effective story about a wheelchair-bound protagonist strapped into an armored suit trying to escape from a factory full of rogue robots. The Surge tried to do something different with its formula and plot and, for the most part, it succeeded.
This time around, The Surge 2 is set in a much larger environment. The game now takes place in an abandoned city and not just an abandoned factory complex. This new setting allows for larger areas, a bigger focus on non-linearity, and a wider variety of places to visit. By removing the restriction of the factory setting, you are now able to visit derelict buildings, parks, forests, and much more. The game runs on a brand new engine and, visually-speaking, it looks much more impressive than The Surge.
Your character isn’t the same handicapped lad from the first game, by the way. He is an entirely new character than can be completely customized from the very beginning of the game. Male, female, black, white, bald, mo-hawk; it’s all based on what you want.
Another big change is the combat. The emphasis on targeting individual limbs is still here, and there is still a Dark Souls influence thrown into it, but The Surge 2‘s combat feels a lot more like its own thing this time around. Not just a carbon copy of an already established genre. The combat is a lot faster and the weapon variety has increased. Weapons can often have more than one form and function and the developers showcased this during the demo. The weapon their character was wielding could either be used as a bigger and slower “staff/axe” hybrid or it could be divided and used to dual wield two faster and lighter blades.
Other additions to the combat include a scouting device that allows the player to detect enemies hidden behind cloaking devices, as well as a companion drone that can be used as a long-distance weapon of sorts. A brief example of the drones functionality was actually demonstrated during a Boss Battle. When the boss was in a defensive stance, you would use your drone to target its head, its only susceptible body part. Once stunned, you would close the gab and attack with your blades. Still, Deck13 promises that each boss can be beaten in more than one way, truly embracing a “players choice” mentality. A promise I am more than OK with.
I had no idea of what to expect from The Surge 2, and I was very surprised with what I saw. It looks like a vast improvement over the previous game in both graphics and game play. It looks less like a Dark Souls clone and more like an established title with a personality of its own. Scheduled for a 2019 release for PC, Xbox One and PS4, I’m most certainly looking forward to playing it next year.