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The Surge

Welcome to CREO, the megacorporation saving our world! A catastrophic event has knocked you out during the first day on the job… you wake up equipped with a heavy-grade exoskeleton, in a destroyed section of the complex. Robots gone haywire, insane augmented co-workers and rogue AI - everything wants you dead. Defy deadly enemies and huge bosses in tight, visceral melee combat. Target and slice specific limbs off your foes, with a next-gen loot system where you loot what you dismember! Equip, upgrade and craft new weapons and armors sliced from enemies, and make yourself stronger through a fresh take on leveling-up.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

The Premise
This review contains no spoilers.
The Surge is a sci-fi souls-like set in a near-future where Earth is suffering from climate change, pollution and industrialization. Mega-corporation CREO comes with a solution, Project Resolve to fix the planet with cutting-edge tech. However, a mysterious event causes a massive crash of most of CREO's systems, making most people into insane murder machines... that's what Warren, the protagonist, wakes up into.
Want to know about DLCs? Check out my "Walk in the Park" DLC Review
Quick Sum-Up
🟩 The Pros
🟥 The Cons
1. Satisfying, fluid and challenging combat system.
2. Excellent level design with tons of secrets.
3. Vast build customization possibilities.
4. Solid replay value.
5. Very good amount of weapons, gear and implants.
1. Balance problems between weapon classes.
2. Quests are obscure and unrewarding.
🟨 Bugs & Other Issues
🔧 PC Specs
- Enemy limb targeting can be unreliable at times.
- Anti-aliasing doesn't work properly.
- Ryzen 3900X
- RTX 2080Ti
- 32GB RAM
- NvME SSD
- 1440p Display
In-Depth Analysis
Pros
1.
The Surge's combat system is a breath of fresh air for the Souls genre, and even today stands out for its uniqueness, nuances and satisfactory mechanics. The limb-cutting mechanic, united with many weapons having unique powers and the implant system that allows a high customization degree about the combat approach, ensure an experience not easily replicated in other titles.
2.
Each area except the first one, shares an intricate, multi-layered design that makes exploration interesting and at times, labyrinthine. Masterful shortcut placements, a metric ton of secrets and consistent design quality make each level unique in its own way, but still coherent with the global sci-fi style.
3.
From heavy tanks with ample healing reserves, to agile fighters that bet everything on DPS, or tricksters that use active abilities and drones to wear enemies down, there is a play style for everyone in The Surge. The implant system is brilliant and allows players to choose what they want to prioritize in their approach, does so to a fantastic degree.
4.
Replaying the game with a different weapon and/or armor class will feel like a significantly different experience, in addition NG+ mode adds some new enemies, new areas and allows further upgrades to existing weapons with previously inaccessible resources. I replayed this game six times over several years and platforms, it was always fun.
5.
The implant, armor and weapon variety is really great. Around the next corner there can be a new one that can revolutionize the current build, or open a path for a completely new one. Many weapons have diverse movesets and unique powers as well, further adding to the variety, while all armors have a unique set bonus.
Cons
1.
Some weapon classes are just better than others, no matter what. For instance, Twin-Rigged and One-Handed are arguably the best, while Single-Rigged is by far the worst. Some weapon categories just become not viable against certain bosses or anyway later-game enemies. It's not impossible to finish the game with them, it's just quite depressing.
2.
Dark Souls did this wrong, and Surge sadly followed: quests are obscure tasks without even a remote hint on what to do most of the time, as NPCs will spit out very vague indications of what they want. It becomes frustrating to accomplish such tasks, and the rewards are often underwhelming or plain trash.
Gameplay Breakdown
Exploration
Is performed on foot, with Warren being able to jump and leap over great distances thanks to the exoskeleton. Levels in The Surge are intricate, some of them are however definitely more complex than others. Each stage has a myriad of secret areas, hidden loot caches and even NPCs that give quests: exploring every corner, breaking all containers and taking extra time to be thorough pays off with rare gear and extra XP. As in other souls-likes there will be shortcuts to go back to the Ops Station (bonfire) more easily, however there is no fast-travel of any kind and no map.
Character Management
Can be performed in a limited way while on the field, with Warren able to swap armor pieces, weapons and some implants that have the "Hot Swap" propriety, without returning to an Ops Station. The bulk of management, upgrading and crafting is however done at such safe areas, that always have a Medical Bay to replenish healing items, change Implants, use Scrap (souls) to level-up Warren. The Assembly Station allows crafting armor pieces among the known blueprints, and also upgrade weapons and armor using the resources obtained from slain enemies or found in the world. Most blueprints for gear and weapons are gained by severing enemy limbs, defeating bosses and less commonly, exploring the world.
Implants need a special mention, as they are modules that can be inserted in the Exo-Rig to give Warren passive and active abilities. Each implant costs a certain amount of Core Power (character level) to be equipped, with the total level acting as a cap to balance things out. Armor pieces also cost some Core Power to equip, usually heavier armors will cost more.
Combat
Plays out in third-person, mostly in melee. Warren can wield one of five weapon categories, ranging from the slow but powerful Heavy Duty to the nimble Twin Rigged. Using a weapon class will upgrade its Proficiency level as more enemies are slain, granting bonuses - sticking to one weapon class for the whole game is recommended. Most enemies' individual limbs can be targeted to inflict different effects, stability loss and amounts of damage. The goal is performing an Execution, that will kill the enemy and sever that limb, awarding Warren with the armor worn on it and eventually their weapon, if that limb held one. A unique approach that makes any new enemy encounter exciting.
As in most souls-games, combat uses a stamina system and is highly punishing, as even common enemies can deliver great amounts of damage. Dodging at the right times, learning attack patterns and being quick-witted are the cardinal points. The more enemies are killed in a row without using an Ops Station, the higher a passive Multiplier will get, awarding bonus Scrap and even some healing recharges at random. Energy is another parameter accumulated with successful blows, and is used to fuel active implants and drone weapons, but depletes over time. Counter attacks are present. however they're a marginal mechanic simply not worth using over a dodge. All bosses have a secret way to be killed, that will award an upgraded version of their Boss Weapon, that has unique powers and is usually formidable.
The Judgment: Excellent
Complete Ratings List here
It takes around 10-12 hours to finish the base campaign, and another three to five if one also plays the "Walk in the Park DLC. Replay value is high and the quality excellent, so I can recommend the game for full price.
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Review from Steam

So, this game is literally Dark Souls and robots going bat-shit crazy and it's amazing. The enemies can and will kill you, sometimes easier than you might think, if you are to engage with them, make sure you take your time with swinging because otherwise you'll run out of stamina very, very quickly. The Surge is a game that is tough, but also fair and the fact that you can bank your tech scrap (souls for you Dark Soul players reading this) allows for a very comforting reprieve.
Each boss has a weapon and/or armor that they can drop once killed, but you can get an improved variant of the weapon if they are killed in a specific way; if for no other reason than just an upgrade, I'd do it because you have to kill them anyway. The game is a lot of fun, but be prepared to get turned around in the map. Like, A LOT. There were times where I had to look up where to go at certain portions of the game, but after finding my way, I had a lot of fun. Dive into the game, you won't be disappointed.

Review from Steam

Review done after beating the game once.
TL;DR
It achieves what it set out to do with it's mechanics - it's just that those very mechanical choices made by developers are the source of most problems this game has.
In the end I still think it's a worthwhile distraction and probably still my favourite 3D Souls clone (since Nioh can go fk itself in the arseho...)
Review
You play as Warren - a mechanically augmented engineering worker, who will have to deal with an outbreak of a computer virus that made other augmented people and machines go crazy.
The Surge is a Souls clone with a lot of original ideas, mainly in it's “finisher” mechanics. In order to acquire gear that an enemy is using, you have to attack the body part which the gear is equipped in and then perform a finishing move - this will cut away the enemy part and drop it or it's crafting schematics for you alongside some materials, but only if you deal enough damage to the part beforehand. This means if an enemy has a weapon you want you don't have to kill dozens of that enemy like in Dark Souls when you were hunting for that Black Knights Halberd - instead you can carefully target the enemy's right hand (all weapons are held in right hand) and when you deal enough damage and do a finisher - you will get the weapon.
There are 5 weapon types and 3 armor classes. All weapons and armor can be upgraded in a linear fashion (+1, +2, etc.) with materials obtained mostly from finishing moves.
You can also equip many different implants, which give you bonuses like healing items or increased stats and damage, or provide utility like letting you see the stamina bars of enemies.
Each piece of equipment (except weapon) will require some energy to equip, which is determined by your level. Equipping a matching set of 6 armor pieces of the same set will net you additional bonus, so it's usually a good idea to wear finished armor sets, which encourages you to farm for the pieces. One armor set may grant you increased attack speed when near full health, while another can protect you from environmental hazards like poison fumes.
There are several free and paid DLCs, of which 2 offer new areas and challenges, but they aren't necessary for the full experience. However if you finish the game and decide to play DLCs later, you may want to start over with a new character since DLCs are meant to be played alongside the main story (or NG+) - otherwise they will be far too easy for a geared character. I will post DLC reviews separately.
Pros:
+ Distinct from Souls
It's obvious that this game is based off Dark Souls, but with it's setting and equipment/combat mechanics it's original enough to not be a full-on clone like Lords of The Fallen tried to be.
+ Engaging equipment hunting
When you see an enemy wielding a new weapon or an armor set you just want to get it and that makes the execution mechanics engaging and fun. When hunting for materials you can likewise target specific parts to make sure you get what you need.
+ Visuals
Artstyle and visual design is really strong with good detail and nice animations. Especially finishers are very fun to watch, but quick enough to not become boring.
+ Level design
While this game doesn't have a full on open world design like Dark Souls, instead using levels with loading screens in between - the levels themselves are nicely designed to give you shortcuts back to the base area (where you can upgrade your character and craft equipment). Level flow is also very nice, with branching pathways, many secrets to uncover and for completion - some areas are locked until you acquire specific upgrades.
Cons:
- Long attack animations
The biggest feature of the combat system is how nearly all attacks after the first one in the combo consist of multiple hits that your character will have to complete all animations for before he will be able to do something else like dodge or block. So when you press attack once with your staff - you will do one swing, but press it again to continue the combo and the next attack consists of a very long animation which attacks several times. In comparison - in Dark Souls very few weapons have lengthy windup animations and even fewer have multiple hits (off the top of my head I can only name the tracer daggers dual-wield attack).
This could have been a decent system that feels distinct and fun to experiment with, but most enemies won't flinch from your attacks unless you are using heavy impact weapons and those usually have weaker elemental damage (which is the most effective a lot of the time and will be the focus for your upgrades). This means you will be jumping in to attack once and immediately back away so that your animations can reset and you can attack once again, instead of continuing with long combos that will put you at risk.
After some time in game you will get some implants that can help you regenerate health and after that you'll be able to trade damage with most enemies, making combos much stronger, but until then the combat can be viewed as tedious. There are some cool moves your character can do during combos, but their effectiveness is questionable.
- Wonky hitboxes
Every Souls-style game has this problem. Here it's really uneven, but for the most part your dodge invincibility frames are unreliable thanks to some unreal tracking and lingering hurtboxes, as well as your own hitbox being seemingly very large. The tracking is so absurd that enemies can literally lock in on you during jumping or sliding on the ground and no dodge can save you from being hit.
- Tedious enemies
Some enemies will require you to take your time. Especially the three legged drones that jump at you - there is only one attack that can be reliably punished, and they have one very nasty close-range attack impossible to dodge unless you are way out of it's range before they begin this move. There’s also more annoying enemies, but I don’t want to spoil too much.
- Not much variety
Nearly all weapons belonging to the same class have same attack animations and playstyle. It's not like with Dark Souls's weapons where for example broadsword and longsword are both same class, but have totally different attacks that make them better or worse at specific scenarios. In The Surge the only practical distinction between the weapons in same class is what kind of damage they do and how heavy their attacks are. Elemental and crushing weapons are strongest, because they deal more damage to armored parts and since only armored parts give you materials that's the thing you'll be wanting focus your attacks on. The heavier the weapon is with it's hits, the more the enemy will stagger after your attack, but in general weapons with heavier impact have some kind of tradeoff, like dealing less overall damage.
There’s also problem with enemy variety. Most enemies will be other humans that have very similar moves to yours. There are also several drone and machine enemies, but overall there isn’t much.
- Discourages experimenting
Because of weapon proficiency you are discouraged from trying weapons from different classes - instead the game rewards you sticking to 1 type. Implants also have some problems, since they are the only source of healing items - you'll always want to have some implants set to healing, leaving more creative ones out of your ability to equip them.
- Badly told plot
Plot itself is actually good, but the way it’s presented isn’t. Very few conversations are meaningful and even those are written weirdly in a way that makes whole thing difficult to follow.
Lowdown
It’s ok, but the problematic hitboxes and tracking combined with lengthy animations can make for a frustrating experience. I mostly enjoyed it regardless.
I’d give The Surge a
7/10
Pretty good. If you want a bit of originality in Souls-like genre and can catch a discount - get it.

Review from Steam

A souls-like game in a futuristic setting but it plays so much better on PC than any dark souls game because it's not capped at 60, has decent default control scheme for M+K, control hints for whatever controls you use, FOV slider, proper ultrawide support and many more quality of life things. A better PC (!) souls-like game than any dark souls game

Review from Steam

Such A Good Game, GG
Smooth Animation
Satisfying Combat
Nice World/ Level Design
Beautiful Graphical Details/ Effects Exists & Game also Runs Like Butter!
The Meh...
Checkpoint System (very punishing)
You'll die a lot for various reason, you just gotta die!

Review from Steam

Good game!

Review from Steam

Warning! Playing this will give you a surge in your pants!