By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on May 16, 2017
What will the world look like if humanity keeps on going like it is or, even worse, takes up its consuming-game another notch? To answer this question, German developer Deck 13 and French publisher Focus Home Interactive take us on a trip forward in time in their latest game: The Surge! Is Earth still pretty? Is it still a nice place to live? Well, you know what they say about things, being in the eye of the beholder, so that's for you to decide. But we can tell you this; it's one hack (pun intended) of an adventure to live there!
The Surge is an action RPG, set in a world which has had its natural resources exhausted by global warming, over-consumption and ongoing war. At the same time, humanity has made huge progress in the field of technology and is able to do things never thought possible in the past. But, as is usually the case, this progress has its merits but also a dark side. A mega-corporation named CREO is one of the leaders in the field of said technology. According to their commercials, they aim to let everyone share in this technological wealth. One of such benefits is that, if you were in an accident and ended up in a wheel chair for example, you would be able to walk again by having an Exoskeleton fitted to our body.
Well, today is your lucky day, because you're going to work for this great company! As the game starts, we meet the game's protagonist, Warren. Warren is, in fact, in a wheelchair and has dreamed of the day that he will be able to walk for quite some time now. This made him decide to join CREO and get fitted with an actual Exoskeleton through, as we are told, a completely painless and truly safe procedure. and this game starts on your first day. Upon arriving at CREO, Warren will have to report to the enlistment office and make his first choice of the game; whether to be a Rhino or a Lynx. No, you are not at the zoo! We're not talking about actual animals here, we're talking about types of Exo-suits. The Rhino skeleton gives you brute strength and lets you play as a Tank character, while the Lynx skeleton greatly increases your agility and gives the character a more Rogue/Fighter-like feel.
After you've carefully made your choice, you're on your way to be prepped for surgery. Now, I'm not going to spoil the scene for you, but let's just say that not everything goes exactly according to plan. What ensues is a horrifying scene of surgery, that is followed by you, finding yourself outside of the CREO complex, somewhat battered but able to walk. Alas, the joy of being able to move on your own two legs is short-lived, for not everything is as peachy as it should be! This is where our journey, as well as the game's tutorial, starts...
In this tutorial, we quickly learn the basics of the game. The real interesting part about the fighting system in The Surge, is the ability to target and eventually cut off specific body parts or weapons of your enemies and add them to your own inventory. By locking on to your enemies and moving your right thumbstick, you can easily select which body part to target. And, and this is very important, this is all done in real time! You could also craft most of these parts and weapons, but that would be the easy way out. Then again, you will have to collect all the materials needed for crafting, which can take a while. So, once again, choose the path that is most suited to your play-style and either chop your enemies to pieces or try to evade them.
Speaking of enemies; these mechanical creatures come in different sizes and difficulties. The way to defeat them increases in difficulty as you progress the game. When you first start playing, it is quite easy to figure out what to do and where to attack, but it's not like you get the way to defeat your enemies presented on a silver platter. This is one of the reasons why the comparison to the Souls series is easily made, but I have to add that it's not a copy of these games. The Surge has some nice tricks upon its sleeves. The sci-fi theme also helps to really set The Surge apart from the games in the Souls series. While playing, I couldn't help being put in mind of Lords of the Fallen. No wonder of course, because the amazing people of Deck 13 are the same brilliant minds that put together that game as well!
My first boss fight took about five tries. My first idea was to just rush in and start bashing the hell out of him. Now, I know this is usually not the right approach in this type of game, but it never hurts to try, does it? I gave it my best shot, but alas, bashing him didn't seem to do anything in the way of decreasing his health. Then I notices that my enemy had a second energy bar that was constantly filling up while I was hitting him. It took me a while to figure out what to do. I searched the whole environment for anything I could use to defeat this mechanical monster, but there was nothing I could find that would help me win this fight. But then it hit me (literally); when the enemy's second bar is full, he started firing missiles at me. It was then that I realized what I must do. That's all I'm going to say right now, because I don't want to spoil your fun!
Let's talk about one of the coolest features in The Surge; implants! Yes, I always wanted bigger boobs.. Wait, scratch that! And, just for the record, these are not that kind of implants. In The Surge, implants are like perks and you have to place them into the implant-slots of your Exoskeleton. You can extend your health, stamina, energy with it, which is very useful as you can imagine. As you progress the game, you'll gather more and more of these implants and find out all about the possibilities that come with these amazing pieces of technology. As you level up and upgrade your Exoskeleton, you'll unlock additional slots in which you can place the implants. There is one thing to keep in mind though. The use of implants increases your energy consumption, so carefully balance the implants you want to use with the energy your current type of skeleton, or more to the point, its energy core, can deliver.
The Surge is an awesome game that features amazing graphics and an arsenal of mind-blowing weapons. Yes, you'll start with smaller and more familiar weapons, but after while you will get your hands on some truly awesome weaponry, mostly by defeating big enemies and bosses. And, throughout the entire game, there is that constant feeling that makes you wonder: is there really nothing more than meets the eye going on at Creo? No hidden agenda? Nothing more than just working for the greater good? As the story unfolds, you will get the answers to these questions, but they may not be the answers you were hoping for... In short, if you're up for a truly challenging game with awesome graphics, interesting characters and a cool and immersive sci-fi story, you definitely going to love playing The Surge!