The Surge: First of all, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I offered to review this game. I had heard limited info about it and after downloading, I wasn’t expecting much due to its worryingly small 8Gb file size. Without ruining the climax (because I would never want to do that), I was pleasantly surprised.
The plot consists of a dystopian future where a big company called CREO are giving those with certain physical disabilities the chance to walk and fight again. Warren, the main protagonist, decides he wants to get out of his wheelchair and walk again, so he signs up to the programme. There seems to be some sort of issue and it turns out CREO aren’t quite as nice as they made themselves out to be from the off (mischief). Basically, they decide they want you dead and you didn’t want to die. So, off you go on a mission to live… and a worthy mission it is at that.
As mentioned earlier, I had no real idea what type of game this was going to be. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised that it played very similar to Bloodborne and Nioh. I suppose the official genre is action-RPG but, for me, it should be called ‘Death-RPG’. The style of game first really started with Demon Souls, then Dark Souls and now there is beginning to become a plethora of titles using said style. You will die an awful lot and if you are someone who can’t handle dying in games then this is not the one for you. The combat is simple, yet effective, with R1 and R2 being vertical slash and horizontal slash. Attack time will differ due to the type of weapon you are using: staff, twin rigged (two arms), single rigged (one arm), heavy duty, and one handed.
For each weapon you can level-up as well as upgrade – saying that, I saw the obvious benefits to upgrading my weapon but didn’t quite understand what I was achieving by levelling it up. For me, they’re a big plus for The Surge. They all offer something different and unique and had me constantly swapping round when fighting the different enemies.
I am undecided with how I feel about the range of enemies and will therefore explain rather than pass a real judgement. You have flying drones which can barely attack you. Then you have rigged up weird human-type cyborgs which use a range of the different weaponry. Some of these will cause you serious pain and will end up killing you a number of times. As well as those, you have a weird spider-like robot which normally only has one weak point and wipes you out quite easily with its attacks. This was the hardest enemy to kill because it involved advanced defence which, if you are like me, you’ll find quite tricky to master. You also have the bosses – big, powerful and a pain in the backside; exactly what you would want them to be.
One area of combat I really couldn’t get a grips with is the aiming – it’s similar to some of the mid-era Zeldas where you lock on to the enemy. Equally to some of those Zelda games, it is a struggle to work out who you’re locked on to, how to change your lock and where it is going to go next. I was endlessly frustrated with this and felt it contributed to the death of Warren more times than it should have. To kill an enemy, easily, you should aim for their weak area, but if you want to start making their armour you should aim for a hardened area to try and break off parts that you need.
Overall, the gameplay faired quite equally to other games in the genre and made this experience incredibly addictive. I have spent too many hours on this game with the want to go back and destroy the enemy who just took me out. Something I should mention is that you gain some form of experience for killing .You can bank this experience in the MedBay, but then all the enemies come back. If you don’t bank the experience and you die, you have to try and get back to the same place to regain the experience. However, if you die en route: experience lost – controller thrown – Playstation smashed.
The graphics throughout are crisp and, even in the frame-rate mode, look pretty decent. You get a real feel for the robotic and there is a fair amount of attention to detail. You get to choose out of visual or frame-rate for either 4K and 30fps, or 1080p and 60fps. Personally, I couldn’t notice much between the two, but I am sure plugged in to some system people would notice it. They are meant to be developing a HDR patch to come out soon, but currently, at the point of reviewing, it is not available.
There is one key issue with the graphics though: there are so many glitches. At any point in the game, you could find yourself halfway into a wall or poking out of a box. Tied in with the obscure and annoying camera angles, this became incredible annoying and frustrated me more than it would with another game. Overall, I would say the glitches didn’t completely tarnish the good work they must have put in with the graphics, but they definitely didn’t help.
The biggest problem with this game, however, is the sound. I want to get straight to the point here: the voice acting is decent and there are no ridiculously bad voices. The fighting sound effects are okay and there is nothing particularly wrong at all with the sound. I suppose the real issue is the lack of audio and most importantly the lack of atmosphere throughout the whole game. When you’re in the safe area, you can hear a song which I found myself absolutely loving. However, every other moment throughout the game you’ll find yourself a little bit bored. Whilst playing this game, I made a real use of the Spotify app.
The Surge is a game which, if you are someone who always tries to improve, then you will find yourself spending ages on it. I will continue playing this game way after finishing the review and will be interested to see if any extra content comes out at all. Yes, it isn’t Bloodborne, nor is it Nioh, but it is a very good game which is well worth a play. Important notice – if you are unsure whether this style of game you like, I would explore Bloodborne first. However, The Surge is a lot more light-hearted.
Thanks to the Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Developer: Deck13 Interactive
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- Players: single player-only
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.