Following on from their 2017 release of The Surge, Deck 13 have followed up with a sequel; something that fans have been excited about since it was first announced. The issue for me however was that the first title was oh so close to being a great game, but fell short of the mark. It had great potential but failed to deliver. The Surge 2 promises to be bigger and better in every way from its predecessor, but is it?
The Surge 2 takes place after its predecessor, our species is on the brink of extinction. For those that do remain, Jericho City is the safe haven. Many others are turned away from the gates due to being infected with an incurable Nano-disease. A plane crash changed everything and with only 2 survivors of that crash (obviously one being you) your mission is to find the other survivor and save the world.
The game is a great improvement over the original with more locations to visit, something that Deck 13 were criticised about with the original, but also the overall storyline and characters within the game. The overall graphics do look unbelievably similar to the original and for me, there just isn’t enough variation within the environment. A lot of destroyed buildings and structures look as if they are being used over and over again. The only real thing that differentiates the few areas of Jericho City seem to be slightly different colour palettes rather than anything else.
If you’re a Dark Souls fan then the combat within the game will be immediately recognisable as it plays very similarly to the title. You can block incoming attacks from enemies but it is so much easier to duck and roll out of the way as blocking does take away all important stamina which is easily lost. Once you have lost stamina in a fight you may as well kiss your ass goodbye. Now I do understand that stamina is a good part of a game, but it just seems to get wiped out way too easily within this title.
The routine from The Surge still stays the same however; leave a safe area, kill a load of enemies, face off against a boss, find another safe area, rinse, repeat. After each stage of doing that, turn any scrap that you have found in and upgrade your exo-rig. It gets very repetitive, very fast and does start to get rather boring with very little change from that formula to keep players entertained. There are plenty of variation in enemies and ways to defeat them, but it still boils down to the exact same thing over and over.
You can swap your loadouts easily enough to suit, but you do need to be able to plan what implants you can use with what armour. There are some great implants within you exo-rig to use; for instance one implant that automatically boosts your health if an enemy attack would normally finish you off, or power boosts in attacks against humans. When it comes to the boss fights however, the original game was much better in variation. With The Surge 2 a lot of the bosses do play the same way; deflect an attack at the right time, get an attack in and then get out of the way. Once you have mastered that technique there is no challenge, something that the first game did deliver with.
A welcome addition for me was the chance to allow me to customise my own character, although the choices for head, hair etc are limited. I did however manage to create something which very vaguely resembled my ugly face. After that there is the chance to select a back story to your character, but it didn’t make any difference to the game at all. I was expecting more and didn’t get anything.
It was nice however, that most NPCs I came across would deliver n optional side quest, something which does prolong the game. It started to feel like Deck 13 were trying to go for a more RPG feel to the game, but these quests added zero to the story of the game, they were all about collecting various items from the world and bringing them back or crafting them a specific type of armour. The first one I came across needed to be released from his prison cell, but to do that I had to find an upgrade to my rig to power open shut doors. OK, it did allow me to upgrade the rig to release him, but that would have happened anyway if I had chosen to ignore his shouts and was pretty pointless.
So, The Surge 2 does improve on the original, but in all honesty, only just. Its a fun game that starts to become repetitive and boring after quite a short time once you realise you are repeating the method over and over. There are some quite heavy frame drops in places where there is a lot of action happening at once and does distract heavily. You can tell that Deck 13 want to be up there with the best when it comes to game development but unfortunately they do still have a way to go although this is a great attempt.
For me the game only deserves a 6/10. If you are thinking about going out and getting the game I would wait for the price to drop which it is sure to do in a couple of months. I wanted to love the game as it promised so much, but seemed to deliver on very little.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**