The Surge 2 is an action RPG developed by Deck13 Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive, which brings along all the best bits from the first game and shines up some of the looser points, but not without it’s faults. Let’s purge the nanite catastrophe and plunge our way straight into The Surge 2 PC Review!
You start off talking to a young girl, Athena Guttenberg, on plane ride. Everything’s fine, relaxing, easy going, the incoming missile is having a great day when it smashes into the plane and releases a mess of nanites that cause the plane to crash. By a stroke of luck, you’re the only survivor and get rushed a prisons medical facility. Two months later, you’re getting visions of that same girl and a massive nanite creature is attacking the prison, giving you an ideal opportunity to escape, starting off your adventure.
As might have been hinted the main storyline is tied to finding this young girl, who is the key to the nanite problem. Turns out, nanites are a huge problem as they might have grown slightly sentient and now everyone and their robot arms are trying to figure out a problem to their rampage across the globe as they try to eliminate the human race. Don’t be put off, although the game is better appreciated having played the first one you wont miss out on too much by jumping straight into the sequel.
The story of the surge is winding and interconnected, with the events of the game being the driving force behind the main plot, but then the side quests and optional tasks are very down to earth and character driven. One side quest see’s you grabbing medical supplies for a doctor to make sure people get free healthcare in the rioting city, but the doctor has his own compelling reasons that don’t quite line up with altruism, giving side quests their own unique flavours throughout.
Overall the story is well delivered and winds together, but can sometimes get lost in the smaller character driven moments and make you lose that momentum which in a game as winding as this one, is in some parts in short supply. The story of the first game was tighter and had a more bleak atmosphere compared to it’s predecessor, but by itself the sequel still holds to bring all the elements together.
The Surge 2 has some marked improvements over the first game, and you notice within the first few hours of the game. By itself, the gameplay is unavoidably souls-like, requiring you to balance your aggression with your timing during methodical combat, learn about the enemy types and layout of areas to deal with threats effectively, and to explore and memorise environments to find shortcuts and useful weapons and extras.
Your main gameplay loop will be collecting bigger and better weapons and armour to defeat enemies, upgrading or scavenging parts, directly in most cases by chopping off appropriate limbs of enemies. You can upgrade your key skills with core power that lets you equip better gear, which are basically analogous to levels. The core formula of the surge 2 is a combination of both skillful combat and well crafted gear.
The Surge 2 will see you dying a fair bit as you map out new locales and defeat bosses, but this time the environments cover far more area, at the cost of some convoluted level design in places but overall it’s a welcome change to be able to have room to breath properly. Enemies are still tightly packed in places and there are some claustrophobic moments but overall a better spread can be seen.
The flow of the combat with timings, parries and unique weapons makes for very satisfying encounters. The parry system is intuitive but with some added flair, as it requires you to block/time your blocks in a specific direction, meaning learning enemy attack patterns is absolutely crucial. Combined with the inherent bulkiness of the feedback and aesthetics of this game, its a very weighted and satisfying experience with regular enemies and bosses alike.
Artistically, The Surge 2 is identical to the first game but the imagination has a notable increase. A major complaint from the first game was that the majority of enemies/bosses were humanoid in design, something that got a bit worn out as you played. This issue has been majorly addressed in the sequel, with more abstract or creature like enemy designs being employed equally unconventional or powerful moves to give some much wanted diversity to the boss battles.
The weapons also receive a boost in imagination, with nanite making an appearance in weapon status effects to diversify the weapons like swords, hammers, spears and even claws. The atmosphere is significantly lighter than the first game, which seeks to work against it as the combat and story would imply a bleak and oppressive world to explore, but it often feels like a stroll through your friendly neighbourhood militarized zone. Whether this was a deliberate choice or some mismatch of ideas, is hard to say, but it does make the experience feel less cohesive despite the excellent aesthetic otherwise displayed.
The sound work and voice acting are all fantastic, with characters given real energy to match the writing. Evil characters sound evil, and the almost good characters sound distrustful and hard boiled. The sound effects for the status effects and weapons are suited perfectly. The soundtrack never stands out which is a shame, but this might be because the soundtrack only comes in during boss fights which gets drowned out by SFX and dialogue on default settings.
Overall the sound design is of the same quality as the rest of the game, and the lack of soundtrack with ambient sounds outside of boss encounters gives room to draw your own atmosphere in those not-so-tense moments.
The Surge 2 PC Review – Verdict
The Surge 2 is a worthy sequel to the first game. It still incorporates tight, weighty mechanics with tons of customizable gear to find and strategize with, but bolsters the level scale and imagination of the enemies and weapons to realize a greater potential that the first game built the foundations of.
With this comes a trade off however, with greater scope comes less focus on story and overall atmosphere, something that causes the momentum and drive of the game to suffer at times. If you can push forward past the lows, The Surge 2 has some great highs that fans of the first game and newcomers will definitely enjoy.
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