There have been many Dark Souls imitators over the last decade, but in recent years, one that has managed to stand out is Deck13’s The Surge. Combining Soulslike mechanics with its own brutal combat and a sci-fi aesthetic, the 2017 title was one that was flawed, yet, but also showed a lot of promise. With The Surge 2, Deck13 are looking to make good on that promise. The Surge 2’s launch is almost upon us, and in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen vital things you need to know about the action RPG. Without further ado, let’s get started.
The Surge 2 takes place two months after the events of the first game, and is set in Jericho City. As the game begins, the plane that the protagonist is in is caught in a mysterious storm, and crash-lands in the city. The protagonist wakes up weeks later, finding themselves in a detention centre, and learning that Jericho City is being plagued by a nanite-based techno-disease, because of which it is currently under quarantine, with martial law in effect. Players are tasked with figuring out what happened, and how to undo it.
You might have noticed us using the word “protagonist” instead of a specific name. Well, that’s because The Surge 2 allows players to create and customize their own character. Everything from your gender, to hair colour and style, skin colour, clothing, and more can be customized as you see fit.
Going back to Jericho City- one of the reasons Deck13 chose to set the game in a city as opposed to the more confined setting of the first game was so they could address one of the biggest criticisms for it, and introduce more environmental variety. Jericho City is an urban landscape, which has allowed the developers to display much more variety in the environments that players will be visiting. That said, the changes and improvements are going to be more than just aesthetic…
Jericho City also enables improvements in level design in The Surge 2, as per the development team. It is a larger and interconnected environment, and also has a lot more verticality, which makes sense, given its nature as an urban city. Though the developers do not classify it as open world, it is a much larger setting with a lot of open areas and branching paths that allow players much more freedom in how they want to progress- which brings us to our next point.
The Surge 2 is also placing a huge focus on allowing players to tackle the game and all its missions in whatever order they see fit. Non-linearity is the name of the game in The Surge 2. Jericho City allows for much more freedom in how players can progress through the game, and the order in which they want to tackle objectives and side objectives. The city centre serves as he main hub, from where you can explore outward in the city in any direction, with the entirety of Jericho being open from the beginning of the game. As such, players can tackle missions and side quests in a non-linear order.
The artificial intelligence is one more area where Deck13 are claiming to have made significant improvements, which was another area that drew some criticism from players and critics in the first game. Enemies in the game have smarter AI, and can now communicate and cooperate with one another during combat to present a more formidable challenge for the player, such as being able to use exo lifts to chase you, or using the environments’ more vertical nature to their advantage.
The Surge had five total different weapon types that players could use- all five of those are returning, of course, but the sequel is also adding five more new weapon types, taking the total up to ten, to encourage even more variety in combat and allowing players to experiment with various different styles. One of these new weapons is a heavy duty class weapon similar to an axe, which can also be split into two one handed weapons to deal faster attacks and combos.
During combat, players can also deploy a combat drone. This drone attacks enemies from afar, while players deal up close melee damage. It can stun enemies, attack several at once, or even target individual body parts of enemies. But its applications aren’t just restricted to combat, and it can also be used as a scouting device to spot hidden foes. Interestingly enough, you can also knock projectile weapons off of enemies – such as lasers or sniper rifles – and attach them to the combat drone.
Oh, and speaking of enemies…
Yet another area where The Surge drew some criticism from players was the number of boss encounters and variety in the enemies we faced. Deck13 are looking to address those issues as well, and as per them, the number of enemy types, bosses and boss encounters in the game has seen an increase. There are now more boss fights in the game than there were in the first game, while there are also several – as the developers put it – “smaller, tricky” bosses. Is that another way of saying “mini-bosses”? Either way, the more the merrier.
The limb targeting system – the best thing about the entire first game – is, of course, returning. For those not aware, it allows the player to target different body parts of enemies and dismember them with precision (and glorious brutality). When enemies die or when their limbs or body parts are dismembered, they drop gear, weapons, and equipment that you can then pick up for your own use. This also means that if you want specific loot that an enemy is carrying, those specific body parts need to be cut off.
We all love farming for loot and gear in RPGs, and The Surge 2 is intentionally designed to let you do just that. There is no respawn limit on enemies, which means you can kill enemies again and again – and with more efficiency – to continue getting better loot for yourselves, to then upgrade your gear further and further. That said, gear and enemies will both come in tiers, which means if you’re, say, facing a tier two enemy, you can keep farming them, sure, but you can only upgrade your gear from the loot they drop up to tier two. If you want to upgrade to tier three, you’ll need to find tier three enemies.
As anyone who’s played The Surge would tell you, implants are a pretty vital component of the gameplay. In The Surge 2, there are going to be a lot more implants than there were in the first game. From those that give you some health back on every kill, to others that give your batteries more lasting life, to one that can even aid you with directional blocking, there’s going to be a lot of options for you to play around with.
The Surge 2 has no co-op or dedicated multiplayer, so as far as the immediate experience is concerned, it’s strictly single player- that said, it does have some multiplayer elements. Players can also leave graffiti messages on the walls for other players to see and gain clues and hints about the environment or fights against enemies or bosses. Yes, it’s very Dark Souls– but, I mean, it’s a Soulslike game.
While we don’t yet have an estimate from Deck13 for how long a playthrough of The Surge 2 will be, the developers have given us some idea. As per the developers, the upcoming sequel is going to be longer than its predecessors. The Surge was a 20-25 hour game, so even if the developers are giving us bloated estimates like developers and publishers so often do, we can expect at least the same length as the first game, which is still pretty darn meaty. That said, with a larger map, supposedly more bosses and enemies, and all those side quests, it does seem like The Surge 2 is going to be noticeably bigger.
XBOX ONE X AND PS4 PRO ENHANCEMENTS
The Surge 2 will have at least some enhancements on both the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, but we don’t yet know what those enhancements will be exactly. That said, the game’s director Jan Klose did talk to us about this briefly in an interview a while back, which gives us some idea of what to expect. “We’re working on it and will pump it up as high as possible,” he said. “We have a lot going on on the screen, but we really want to keep the high fidelity when it comes to combat and movement. Therefore, a higher framerate is more important to us than the highest possible resolutio