I had the chance of playing the Surge 2 and I was pretty grateful for it. Haven’t played the original Surge game when it came out, I was pretty interested in seeing how this one could go. Now while The Surge 2 is considerably better than its predecessor, as a game standing on its own, it was a bit gnarly. That’s not to say you won’t enjoy it at all, but it did struggle to keep my attention attached to it.
Let’s start off with how the game is set. You, the player character, are on a flight that mysteriously crashes over the futuristic Jericho City for reasons unknown. You wake up in a hospital bed where your adventure almost immediately begins thereafter. Now, unlike the previous Surge, you do actually get to create your character this time. However, as I’ve said with Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Far Cry 5, they may as well have not included this feature.
Why? Because the customization is so abysmal. You get a handful of cosmetic options that barely look any different from the last one. The most noticeable change you could actually make to the character was in their gender and skin color. That’s it, shouldn’t have bothered with the other options. Anyways, after picking your character and their background, you’re thrust straight into gameplay. Your first objective being to escape the hospital itself.
Now the graphics of the game didn’t look at all like this was a sequel to the Surge. In fact, the price of the game didn’t justify how it looked as well, in my opinion. Now personally, I’m one to look more at the gameplay than the graphics. However, the visuals in this game were just an eyesore to look at in most scenarios. It was pretty annoying. The lighting and shadow effects specifically were bad enough to remember. Since I’m using a GTX 1060, I had to focus on being performance friendly (and this was after I saw what the max graphics looked like) and oh boy, performance friendly visuals did not at all look like a 60$ game.
The gameplay is something that the Surge 2 did actually improve on, however. I’m glad of that since in every feature leading up to the actual gameplay, it was a pretty lost cause. The Surge 2 operates as a third-person close quarters combat game. One where you use a variety of weapons against small hordes of really tough enemies. This game will lead to you dying pretty often. I’m not gonna deny that I myself died in several instances out of either stupid mistakes, getting overwhelmed or reading a move wrong. The game isn’t easy, I’ll admit. The locale of Jericho city is also one of the most hostile environments I’ve ever seen in a game. There’s something or someone that wants to kill you behind every corner. Not fun stuff, guys.
You have two styles of attacks to utilize, one being horizontal and the other being vertical. How both of those attacks apply to enemies depend on the weapon you’re using. I liked the weapon variety in the game, personally I used the defibilator fists and upgraded them to a pretty high level to take me far into the game. The fast and hard hitting punches were satisfying and staggering to land, even on boss enemies. Each attack was also fast enough to let me dodge out of the way once I landed my hits. Which brings me to my next point, do not button mash. As tempting as it can be with some weapons, button mashing will launch you into unending combos that you cannot cancel. Doing these at the wrong time will straight up get you killed.
The game has a system of targeting enemy limbs as well. This is done to loot parts that you need, and it’s a feature that I feel like the Surge 2 is very original in. I can’t remember the last time I saw that option in a game other than getting weapons out of enemy tails in Dark Souls 1. Let’s say you want a helmet upgrade, you’ll then want to target the head of the enemy in question and decapitate them for that upgrade. The same concept applies to a foe’s arm if you want their weapon.
The enemies won’t just give you the parts you want, however. The enemy design in the Surge 2 is pretty heavy on the variety. Initially enemies did feel a bit cloned with the same movesets in different skins but they did change it up pretty quickly into the story. The AI wasn’t too intelligent since all they did was use the movesets programmed into them in a random order. I often found enemies that spammed the same move three times before actually changing it up. In groups, they don’t really have coordination outside of rushing you simultaneously to overwhelm you. Some of them do naturally work well together, for example a rifleman and a club user that fight you simultaneously.
The bosses of the game were pretty forgetful since they had no cutscenes usually or lore to back them up. They were just names that you will probably only remember if they gave you a tough time. I do remember the first warden boss because he gave me my favorite tool in the game, my drone.
The drone implants itself to your back and can be used as long range support whenever you’re in a pickle. While the little buzzard can have different weapons like a banner, the one I used the most was the laser pistol. Besides just staggering and sometimes even killing enemies, the drone’s best use was also its capability to sever limbs in emergency situations. I personally loved my robot companion and would fight the world for it.
Other than that, the game had some basic mechanics you’d expect from a third-person action game. Parrying was one of the most useful mechanics that could trivialize even the toughest bosses if you got the timing down right in most scenarios.
The game also had an inventory management that was honestly pretty confusing to me when I played the first time. There’s a lot to take in let’s just say. Things like injector batteries to induce limb severing or gathering materials to upgrade your attire. You also had to use the same tech scrap to level yourself up at the nearest medbay. Something I’d definitely recommend doing a lot of if you don’t want to die to annoyingly bulky enemies. The medbays served as bonfires of sorts that established checkpoints at different parts of Jericho city. Each Medbay also had multiple locked paths leading in and out of them that could later be classified as shortcuts and interconnecting map paths. If you die, you drop your tech scraps which stay their for a limited time before either despawning or being lost if you’re killed again. Best learn how to rush to them to avoid losing too much.
The Surge 2 did emphasize on its role-playing much more than the previous installment. You had a lot of choices to make even early on in the game. Such as when you could either pay off somebody’s loan or beat the shit out of the debt collector. The story was pretty confusing and left to a lot of interpretation at times. All I can give you as a basic spoiler free guideline is that follow the girl’s voice I guess. The NPCs were pretty forgetful and I only remembered them based on the rewards and loot they offered at times.
The Soundtrack of the Surge 2 was okay. I liked the techy aspect of it which fit in with the rest of the chrome themed environment. The level design was pretty good too. Opening shortcuts really showed off how well the map was connected which it didn’t seem like first. Paths you had to rush that were once bullshit become a short peaceful stroll after you unlock the right shortcuts. The maps did vary from being big open Detroit like cities to closed corridor prison hallways. Variety is something you could expect.
The only multiplayer in the game was in the form of leaving messages and getting revenge. Messages were left in banners that could warn you about traps or point out map secrets/shortcuts. The revenge system involved killing an enemy that recently killed a player and getting some bonus loot.
All in all, the game was an improvement on the original Surge with its gameplay. The animations and fighting felt way more smoother and the attacks had weight behind them. The RPG aspect was also beefed up a lot. The visuals and story along with the characters and setting were just pretty meh at most. It’s a good game but I can’t say if it’s actually worth 60$. If I were to give you a suggestion, buy it during a sale.