rgdraconic's The Surge 2 (PC) review

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More of the same, less of anything else.

Disclaimer: I loved The Surge. It was one of my Top 10 of 2017. I wanted a sci-fi Dark Souls for forever, and there it was. And you could dismember people like Dead Space! And then take their metal and put it on YOUR BODY. How cool is THAT. So when a sequel was in the works, I was pumped. Unfortunately, after playing it, I was left less than impressed. Not because it wasn't more of the same, that's what I wanted, but because that's all that it was.

And nothing else.

The story continues shortly after the events of the previous game, with all new characters. You start out on a plane - briefly - and then you're not anymore. As it turns out, planes don't fly very well when exposed to rockets on the same trajectory. And, like Warren before you in The Surge, you wake up in a medical bed. Only this time you haven't gone through a terrible procedure of being awake while an exoskeleton is screwed onto/into you while the anesthetic isn't working properly. So you have that going for you.

Everything uses power - your armor, and your plugins. Scrap metal are your souls.
Everything uses power - your armor, and your plugins. Scrap metal are your souls.

If you've never played The Surge or Dark Souls, they're very methodical games, approach hopefully what is one enemy, bobbing and weaving, attacking when you have an opening, blocking when you don't. Stamina drains when doing both, and attacks from enemies are almost always lethal after a while if not instantly. The Surge, however, makes dismemberment a necessity, because your enemies have the materials and schematics for your arms, legs, head, body, and weapon parts to upgrade yourself (as well as the scrap metal for your overall level, your 'core battery' level - used to power said parts and plugins, shown here).

In order to target specific parts, you must lock on and move the right stick (I play with a controller) to specific areas of the body. This makes targeting the head, arms, and legs a breeze, but centering in on the body rather a pain, as just leaving the stick in the center doesn't always work. And not targeting anything doesn't work either. You have to target something to get anything out of it. Targeting the right arm (all enemies are right handed - how convenient!) also grants you a chance at the weapon to drop in addition to the arm gear.

Should you already have the arm gear schematic, a generic alloy drops instead, allowing you to use that to upgrade the version of any built arm gear you have to the next Mk. version. It sounds complicated. It's not. Just imagine in Souls it's the next +1, +2.

The score is 30-Love. Red team is winning.
The score is 30-Love. Red team is winning.

The game is very pretty. It's also very dark underground and indoors. Those that have played the first game know this, but they do give you lights on your rig to help, but they don't stretch that far, but that's rather intentional as a spooky hard game. Luckily, the majority of your foes have bright neon accents to you pick them out. Unfortunately, later on the game, the world has bright neon accents to help flub you up in picking them out.

Do you like chromatic aberration? How about the colors purple and red? I hope you do! This game is head over heels for that kinda stuff! The two games were developed smack dab in that 2016-2019 discovery time when people learned to split RGB on getting hit or getting near a certain hazard thinking it looked cool - then overused it. The Surge series can be a little guilty of that. It can also be a little guilty of abiliteasing. Showing you things you'll need ability X or Y for and they're littered all over the maps (a force hook for riding down a line, a lifter for riding back up a line) when in reality you'll only really need those maybe.. 5-10 times total if you're just following the plot alone? And you'll get them late game.

Now that you have the rambling basics out of the way - and unfortunately without any multiplayer aspects because I didn't get to check that out, back to the story.

You were on a plane, now you're not. There was a girl, now she's not, but you're hearing her in your mind! And she won't really be quiet so now you have to go find her. Like any other find the girl, save the world kind of situations. Which unfortunately left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Like Dead Space 2, and many other sequels I've played, when all else fails, fall back on religion - and The Surge 2 does - hard, with a very big cult aspect which seems tried and true, but also very.. boring. (Though that's not really fair, Dead Space 1 used religion too..)

I admit, the first game's plot was rather thin as well with "wake up, find out what happened", but it was a rather inventive approach to the Souls genre that the newness covered up the dullness elsewhere. The plot in 2 is so very thin that I just cared just enough to see it through to the end. And even the end is.. "O.. oh. Okay." I liked the combat just enough to play the bosses, to encounter new enemies once, and then book it through an area I had done once before, screw farming. Nevermind much of the sidequests, or the audiologs. And even with that mentality, I had done.. 85-90% of the game without thinking about it. I had STUMBLED upon near completion.

My problem with the sequel is that has run very dry. At this point it's very repetitive. If you're brand new to the first game, you're nodding you're head after the first few hours like "okay, I get what this is, I can't wait to be decked out in the most powerful gear this has to show me." and with the sequel I was leaning back saying to myself, "...so how long until I find that DLC I paid for so I don't have to worry about being a marshmallow..."

I am very happy that they made a sequel to The Surge. I think it deserved one. I think it deserved a much better one. I wish they had taken a page out of Dead Space's playbook because to me Dead Space 2 is one of the best sequels ever made and I hope to God they do not take a page out of Dead Space's playbook if they ever make a Surge 3.

The Surge 2 was more of the same, it just needed much more around it to compliment all that more of the same.

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