REVIEW: ‘The Surge 2’ is a Fun Soulsborne Even Without an Immersive Story (Xbox One)

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The Surge 2

The Surge 2 is an action-RPG game developed by Deck 13 and published by Focus Home Interactive. Building on its predecessor, The Surge 2 comes back with soulsborne gameplay that is frustratingly good. Picking up after the events of The Surge, you are a survivor of a plane crash caused by a storm. You crash into the deteriorating city of Jericho that has been afflicted by a techno virus. The only thing you remember is the crash and the face of a young girl aboard the plane. 

This time you can create your own character that best represents you. Although daunting and sometimes frustrating, the game’s first area acts as a tutorial, showing you the ropes regardless if you’re a beginner or returning fan of the franchise. You progress through the game by defeating enemies in brutal and uncompromising combat, destroying limbs, and taking weapons and materials for yourselves. In Jericho City, it’s survival of the fittest and you best be prepared.

What makes The Surge 2 shine is its fluid combat system and animations. Combat feels more in-depth and smooth from the first game. In order to best your opponent, you have to look for weak spots. You need to know when to attack, dodge, and block. This is not the type of game where you can just rush in a fight and wail on your opponent. In some cases you can if you know your opponent’s movements and weaknesses. Blocking is not enough. 

In the beginning of the game, you have to anticipate where your opponent is going to it you. If you time is just right, you will parry your enemy, leaving him open for an onslaught of attacks. If you are not comfortable with blocking you can dodge out of the way. However, be careful of your stamina and surroundings If you’re out of stamina, you can’t dodge, block, or attack. And situational awareness is everything. You make the walk into an area and see one enemy but others may be lying in wait. 

Defeating enemies not only nets you weapons and armor but also Tech Scrap. This material source is used to level your character and upgrade your Rig equipment at a Med Bay.There is no skill tree but aside from weapons and armor, you collect implants. These are your active skills to passive skills. There is a system in place called Core Power which is the amount of power you can add to your rig. 

The Surge 2

Each piece of equipment has a power score. You have to choose a build suitable to your playstyle within the limit of your Core Power. However, if you die, you lose the scrap you’ve collected and the enemies you’ve defeated respawn to their original places. You do however have a limited amount of time to go back to the point of your demise to recover your lost resources. Due note, if you die on your way back, your materials are lost forever.

Sadly, I feel the only great thing that shines in The Surge 2 is it’s challenging gameplay and crafting. The story didn’t motivate me and I only progressed because of the weapons and abilities I was collecting. There are not many cut scenes aside from the beginning of the game. Dialogue has no meat and feels stale. You stand there as you converse with a character that shows no facial emotion and the voice acting is just not enough to keep you interested. I found myself wanting to get back into the action instead of talking to certain characters, key or not.

The game does world-building with audio devices you collect, similar to Tom Clancy’s The Division franchise, however, it doesn’t give you enough meat to get you hooked in the world you’re traversing. The dilapidated city is cool to look at as you journey to figure out what happened to you but after a certain point, it starts to look the same. Mostly all the people you encounter are enemies but there are a few innocent bystanders. Too bad they’re not memorable or stand out.

Despite its difficulty and what seems to be a never-ending grind The Surge 2 is a good game. Some of its shortcomings can be overlooked such as access to a map that is in the wild and keeping track of your quests can be confusing at times. It’s challenges and intense action will keep you coming back for more. The need to adapt keeps the gameplay fresh and exciting.

The Surge 2 is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

The Surge 2
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL; DR

Despite it’s difficulty and what seems to be a never ending grind The Surge 2 is a good game. Some of its shortcomings can be overlooked such as access to a map which is in the wild and keeping track of your quests can be confusing at times. It’s challenges and intense action will keep you coming back for more. The need to adapt keeps the gameplay fresh and exciting.