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Light, digestible (indie) game reviews.

The Surge

Wear Proper Safety Equipment

Reviewed by: James "Voidfox" | Twitter | May 19, 2017

The Fight-Die-Learn-Repeat formula works well in The Surge.

  • Review Play Time: 25.7 hours
  • Price: $65.99 (CAD)

so far... I got $2.57/Hour* of fun times

*Based on updated Steam total play time.

Game Flow

  • Wander levels
  • Search for next objective
  • Fight enemies
  • Combo, dodge, block, and counter
  • Target an enemy's body part
  • Slice it off!
  • Enjoy slow-mo brutal finishing moves
  • Acquire new armor schematics based on dismembered limb
  • Head back to OPS (by choice or by death!)
  • Convert broken parts into crafting materials
  • Break down junk into scrap (for upgrading and crafting)
  • Craft new armor based on your needs/playstyle
  • Upgrade your armor and weapons
  • Install implants for passive/active abilities
  • Head back out there
  • Die
  • Attempt to reclaim your dropped scrap
  • Die again
  • Fight massive bosses
  • Die many more times
  • Learn
  • Repeat

Likes

  • A Souls-like wrapped in a mecha-sci-fi theme with killer robots and exo-suited undead
  • Encourages exploration, discovery, combat, loot acquisition
  • Combat feels visceral and has weight
  • Finishing moves are savage and vary from weapon to weapon
  • Acquiring new loot by slicing, bashing, or ripping it from enemies
  • Hitboxes feel solid
  • Block, dodge, jump, duck, and counter-attack mechanics add a fun layer to the fighting system
  • Dodging rewards reaction time
  • Full armor sets provide special bonuses
  • Weapons are plentiful and come in various archetypes
  • Each classification of weapon feels different
  • The more a specific category of weapon is used, the more deadly it becomes
  • Plenty of different implants to collect, providing passive/active abilities
  • Environments and enemies look great
  • Challenging but achievable for non-veterans of Souls-like games
  • Closest thing to feeling like a power loader from the Alien movie
  • Secrets and shortcuts to discover
  • Wickedly optimized, fluid performance
  • Dark, edgy, sci-fi-factory graphic style
  • Wonderful lighting effects
  • All around fantastic animations
  • Great menu and option UI with clear instructions and hints
  • Possibile 40+ hours for your first playthrough depending on skill, secret hunting, etc
  • Plays great with both a controller or mouse/keyboard
  • No map means relying on level layout memorization
All Likes

Dislikes

  • Story is scattered
  • Camera can sometimes zoom in too close during moves when in tight areas
  • Converting broken armor pieces into scrap can feel like "busy work", a "breakdown/convert all" button would go a long way
  • A visual bug causing finishing moves to not line up can sometimes occur in tight spaces
  • No visual change in armor when upgraded
  • Can feel grindy at times
  • Input-queue combat system will get you into trouble if you don't pace yourself with button inputs, leading to fatal results (don't button mash!)
  • Gear sets do not show what its full set bonus is until you have it equipped
  • Can suffer from backtracking fatigue
  • Only one checkpoint per level, adding to backtrack fatigue
  • Special boss weapons only drop if you fulfill a specific challenge during the fight with no way to obtain the weapon if you fail - next chance is New Game Plus (I have yet to find any other way)
  • Levels suffer from feeling too similar during early game
  • A compass would be helpful
All Dislikes

The Final Word

If you can get past some levels feeling cramped, maze-like, and a bit samey in addition to a story that is light, vague, and scattered, what you are left with is a fun, challenging but achievable souls-like, encouraging exploration and discovery with a viscerally-impactful, methodical combat system, an awesome loot acquisition mechanic, and plenty of surprises around every corner.

Put on your exoskeleton, grab a massive steel beam formed as a greatsword, and go loot what you sever... and remember, no button mashing!

Worth it?

Yes

Reviewed by: James "Voidfox" | Twitter | May 19, 2017