As a humongous, rabid, fiercely addicted souls fan I couldn’t wait for The Surge 2. I had conquered Sekiro this year, revisited the Dark Souls Trilogy, took on Nioh 2… Then nothing. What else was there? Thankfully Deck13 chose the absolute perfect time to give us the sequel to The Surge. If you haven’t heard of it then shame on you. The Surge is essentially a Sci-fi Dark Souls game. This is 100% a compliment, if you didn’t know FromSoft weren’t involved here then you’d be forgiven for automatically assuming they were. Everything you love and expect is here. Is it any good though?
The first thing to talk about is the interconnected world. This is a massive step forward from the first game. Everyone genuinely feels close together, as if it could all fold in on itself at any point. It’s a wonderful mechanic that really helps the player to feel engaged. Recognizing areas as your progress makes you feel like you belong in the world, as does being able to chop down early enemies that killed you several times in one swift slash. The world also grows and adapts as you reach certain milestones in the story. This makes The Surge 2 feel more like a linear story experience and less like an open-world RPG and it’s a completely welcome change. The focus on progression and making a player’s time feel valuable is a concept that a lot of other games have abandoned, Deck13 have aced it here.
Obviously combat is a massive focus here. It just works so well. I absolutely love it. Your character feels very heavy which encourages you to focus on blocking rather than dodging and this adds a nice flow and weight to the combat that’s almost realistic rather than ‘gamey’. Rather than doing one million rolls then poking an enemy in the back you’ll actually stand in front of them, block their assault using your armor then unleash a flurry of your own in response once you’ve caught them off guard. The directional blocking gives you a ton of control over this. Correctly choose the direction an attack is coming from when you block and you’ll execute a parry and deal a ton of damage. You don’t need a ridiculous amount of skill to do this, just focus on timings and the reward is incredibly satisfying.
The combat variety is a huge improvement over the first game. Not only are there way more weapons (seriously you’re given a new weapon pretty much every five minutes) but there are way more enemy types. Enemies no longer follow the same basic structural archetypes as the original game but instead, there are far more foes to face. Even the final areas of the game will still be adding new complications.
Most of the biggest complaints about the first game are dealt with very strongly here. Same three enemies? Have some more. Not enough bosses? Have double that but also have some optional extra creatures. Bosses too easy? Try these on for size. Story irrelevant? Here’s way, way more lore, more audio logs, and some genuinely interesting side characters. The best example of it all is Gideon’s Rock. First off the area is beautiful. Then you meet some interesting NPCs who are on a mission to catch a beast. Then you discover there’s been betrayal and are fed some backstory before making your way through the area uncovering even more. The characters all have relationships and you can learn more by completing little side objectives.
As you’re doing this you’ll meet the enemies that populate this lush green landscape, a far cry from the brown and black of the original game’s factory. The statues are fantastic fights, at first they are so intimidating but eventually you’ll cut them down for one. The different ways they react to you dismembering them are a delight to behold, each fight can genuinely be different (start with the shield). They aren’t the only foe you’ll contend with here. The human enemies have special gear that allows them to turn invisible. It leads to some fantastically tense moments as the hunter becomes the hunted. You can even disable this capability and turn the fight very one-sided. There are two boss fights here as well, one a 1v1 with a human and the other a three-stage fight against the hunted beast. It’s just a totally wonderful experience that really highlights what is special about this game.
The game looks beautiful, the frame rate is brilliant and it runs really well. The music is fine is unremarkable but the voice acting is actually quite good. There’s a ton of content here, it took me forty hours to beat the game but that could easily be extended. For fans of difficulty then The Surge 2 is definitely a challenge but it keeps considerably easier later on. If you enjoy action games then I’d say you should definitely give this a try. If you’re on Xbox head to Games Pass and play the original if you even kind of like that you’ll love this. It’s a genuine evolution.