So I've beaten the Surge yesterday and had some thoughts/impressions I wanted to share. And since there are no proper full threads for what people think of the game, might as well start one.
First of all I do think that overall it's pretty good. Something like a 4/5 for me. Like I've mentioned in another post it's not quite up to par with Souls games imo but it is a marked step up from Lords of the Fallen. The developers have clearly improved on the most important area, the combat (the actual main gameplay), which is a pleasant surprise in this day and age (to see a studio progress so well) I mean that seriously.
- It was good enough to binge on for 3-4 days straight (I did do most if not all of the content and exploration).
- The limb system is a really interesting and a welcome addition. The choice to go for easy kills or try to gather resources from tougher armored and less "staggerable" body parts is neat.
- The combat as mentioned is well executed for the most part. It does have some kinks tho when fighting non humanoid enemies. But overall feels good.
- The change of setting works to it's benefit (but it's not all gravy) to set it apart.
- The PC options are really good, as someone who likes to disable or change certain things in my games, I loved that this game was smart enough to offer those choices in a well thought out way. (i disabled motion blur, chromatic aberration, and camera bob when walking for example)
- On that note I know this is a bit subjective on PC but 99.9% of the time the game runs great, it feels smooth and really well optimized. A huge improvement over the mediocre performance of Lords of the Fallen. I was running it at around 120fps at 1440p on a 1080 card. It also looks good (again better then LotF). So gold star to the technical team for this game.
- Contrary to my belief the slo-mo of cutting dudes apart with various implements did not get old, ever. I thought I would eventually tone down their frequency and remove the slowdown via options (again great that that option is there), but I never did since I didn't tire of it throughout.
- Progression system. Adventures in homemade progression systems that deviate from the industry norms where the developers try to spin their own yarn 9/10 times end in mediocre failures. This is that 1/10 game, where the developers put their own spin on a soulslike progression system by going with implants you can mix and match that have various functions from estus flasks to your life and stamina amounts (kinda like Nier: Automata actually but more robust), and your "level" dictating how much and what quality of armor and implants you can sodder on in total. It works, well and is quite engaging.
- Opening cutscene is grisly and effective, it punched me and I liked it. Not gonna spoil more.
However I do have some bones to pick with it, the game is not without it's share of flaws major and minor:
- The storytelling, the main plot, the narrative weave, the side threads. It's still bad. Mind you it's not Lords of the Fallen levels of abysmal failure; but it's not good either; imo it's below average. This game would make the Fast and the Furious movies blush with it's plotholes. This is especially glaring when recent games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Prey have both executed well on their central premises and have certain themes that are similar to what is in this game. Where the above 2 games are examples of how to properly execute on their concepts respectively, The Surge is most definitely not. The side threads in this game rather then propping up the main narrative serve more as distractions, most of which lead to nowhere and only serve to open up questions to which the game never bothers with answers; but it doesn't even feel like they are deliberate good mysteries, just that the writers had no fucking idea where to take those threads in the first place; it's all fluffy setup with no real follow through. I shit you not the last boss felt like I had no narrative point to fight it. The only meaningful thing you manage to do in the entire game happens before the last boss fight and is a totally left field opportunity dropped on you on the spot with little to no build up that your character doesn't even remark on, a literal button that may (or may not) do something, it's bizzare. Even the post boss fight credits sequence stingers felt like they had no point or purpose, I was just watching them with the only thought being: "who cares".
- Whew... sorry for that rant. It's just that these guys either need to hire better writers or at least consider their narratives more. In this day and age games have improved, the standards have risen. The Surge narrative feels like a C-B grade game from the 00's and not in a good cheesy way. I mean for fucks sake it has a goddamn scientist, who while theoretically is very smart and is a head of a department spouts his justifications and ideas at you that are just idiot-nonsense-garbage-shit, how bad can you get game. Here I go again, sorry.
- The level design. A - has issues with the above narrative badness. Some layouts and places where things happen make no fucking sense. This corporation literally has a black ops grisly project on human "volunteers" (shocker!) that is right through a door off of the main exhibition plaza WHERE GUIDED TOURS HAPPEN... FUCK.
- Level design part dos. A couple of levels suffer from a maze like structure. The last level especially is just a warren of service tunnels, cramped lifts, etcetera. It's at some point no longer fun smart level design that interconnects and is a lazy orgy of same looking bullshit ducts and cabling.
- Not so much a flaw but a design choice that I prefer a different take on. The game consists of very discrete levels you travel to and from. Where I prefer a more DarkSouls 1 type of approach where the world is more cohesive and singular (even if yes it's technically not all one zone)
- Some clunkiness in combat imo when fighting non humanoid enemies.
- Enemy variety leaves a lot to be desired. After the first two levels, the introduction of new enemies slows to a crawl. I don't think there is even one new enemy type introduced in the entirety of levels 4 and 5. For a very big chunk of the game you are fighting the exact same enemy types over and over. Only in the last level do you finally get introduced to 2 new types of enemies.
- Boss fights could have had more oomph. For me the most memorable boss fight was the first boss. The rest are just forgettable. One of the later bosses is literally a tougher standard enemy that summons a first boss once in a while, and there are only 5 boss encounters in total, come on you can do better.
- The way to get advanced versions of boss weapons is very arbitrary. If you did not know or read up on how to do the specific things you need before hand you're shit out of luck for the most part. In all but 1 case it's not intuitive at all.
- I do not like the design of the final "endgame" weapons. They basically had a carte blanche with those to come up with the best most badass looking shit and they instead look like puny fiddly sticks (with the exception of the axe type that one looks dope but you get it like 5 mins before last boss, so). My personal nitpick.
All in all the main reason I think it's a good game and a decent souslike is because it gets the biggest most important parts right the combat and the rpg aspects, which for game like this (call it a soulslike or and action rpg) are in my book the two main things. Yes the story is dismissable and the exploration/level design is touch and go, but those are survivable weak aspects. The meat of it is on the stick and it smells like good cookin.
Watcha all think so far?