The Surge 2 (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 06.11.2019

Review for The Surge 2 on Xbox One

When The Surge came out in 2017, it was one the of many Dark Souls imitators that came flooding into the market. It stood out by being in a science fiction setting, and having the protagonist augmenting himself into a human-sized mecha. It was a smaller and more intimate affair than some of the competition like Nioh or Bloodborne, since The Surge's sole location was an expansive factory, and had a handful of bosses. Deck13 is back, and it has honed the best aspects for the sequel; plus, it adjusted the weak links for The Surge 2. After taking a look at the PS4 version Cubed3 gets a fresh exo-skeleton drilled into its frame to prepare for the ordeals that await in Jericho City.

For the uninitiated, The Surge was about Warren, a crippled man who found a new lease on life by becoming a mechanized walking death machine. Gameplay-wise, it fit the "souls-like" budding sub-genre quite well, and was a very polished and fluid science-fiction experience in a confined setting. Flawed at times due to some outrageous difficulty spikes, and with many of the basic enemies being padded out with too much HP, The Surge still impressed thanks to densely intricate level design. Where Deck13 improves with The Surge 2 is in almost every way possible.

Not everything worked right in The Surge. The parrying mechanics was something the developer was clearly proud of, but good luck to any poor devil who had to try to actually use it when negotiating with some CREO guards, tungsten staff in hand. The Surge 2 ditches the hop and duck mechanics for a much simpler, and easier-to-time, lower and upper parry. There has been so much more effort to give options this time around now since player-characters can even be augmented with a passive ability that adds indicators to which direction incoming strikes are coming from. This is not to be confused with an easy mode, since this only informs players where the hit will come from - timing is still entirely up to the user. Naturally this also comes at the cost of a slot which could potentially be used for other useful augments. These are the kind of choices that the best souls-likes have since it makes people consider things more carefully when building their original character.

Screenshot for The Surge 2 on Xbox One

The trash mobs in The Surge 2 are no longer life-threatening, fist clenching nightmares as they used to be in the original. This time things are much more fair and evenly balanced, to a point where every encounter does not wear down the human spirit. It's more realistic to take on several boys at once and come out on top than it used to be. All of this is bolstered by combat animation that is more refined, and a wider range of combat options. Even the drone is more useful than before, which was barely a factor when fighting heavies - this time it's possible to have a scout completely melt a guy nine meters away before a fight can begin. Even the targeting of the many different limbs on targets is much more responsive and effective.

There are almost double the amount of bosses in The Surge 2 than the original. This was one of the weak points in the last game, and it has been totally addressed. The bosses are also much easier now than before since there are so many more to fight, but don't expect any of them to hold back. It is almost a tradition now where some bosses will become walls to some and none is more blatant than the Delver who will utterly shred everyone who faces it for the first time. Deck13 still is deeply inspired by Dark Souls and they get that making a gnarly challenge is important to give players a sense of accomplishment. Some of these guys can be fought out of order too which adds some replay value and of course making boss weapons is still tricky undertaking.

Jericho City has much more going on than the CREO factory. There are several districts to explore and hubs that connect to one another. There are even many more non-threatening NPCs to make the world feel more believable, instead of being a huge maze of cyborgs to kill. Many of these citizens have important things to say that give context to just what the "surge" actually is, or might trigger the start of a side quest. As detailed as the city is, it is unrealistic to expect it to be a vibrant, living place like the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. Jericho is a city enduring the aftermath of a cataclysmic event, and most of its people are insane cyborgs who kill anything that moves. Naturally, this is a perfect set-up for a cyberpunk souls-like.

Screenshot for The Surge 2 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Deck13 addressed every single issue that held The Surge back in The Surge 2. It is not even necessary to have played the first, since the sequel has almost no connections to it outside of its gameplay mechanics and systems. The idea of Dark Souls but "sci-fi" is not exactly a great idea, but Deck13 truly made the most out of what is possible. Realistically, there would be much more guns than there are and probably hacking would have been more present in the gameplay, but since this "sub-genre" relies so heavily on melee combat, it is unavoidable. Finally, there's someone other than From Software who has nailed it.

Developer

Deck13

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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