The Surge: Initial Impressions
NOTE: The article below is based on our experience with a review copy of The Surge for Xbox One (our preferred console platform) which we were fortunate enough to be provided.
Having never played more than an hour of any Dark Souls game, I went into The Surge only knowing a few things about the genre. I knew that I would probably die a lot and in doing so I would drop the in-game currency I was holding. What I didn't know was all the NPCs would respawn after every death, and the sledgehammer shaped hole in my face after sprinting around a dark corner was evidence of that.
I love the aesthetic of The Surge. The industrial and robotic setting gives fans of the genre a fresh option compared to the usual dark fantasy theme. Like Recore and more recently Horizon Zero Dawn, I think we'll see more of this mechanical style as its popularity rises.
You learn very quickly that a slow and methodical approach is necessary if you want any chance of getting through the gauntlet of psychotic mech heads. One on one encounters are the name of the game with horizontal attacks your best friend if two or more enemies come your way.
Level design is to be highly commended with multiple twists and turns throughout every section of the game I have played so far. Sporadic locked doors and broken elevators later turn into checkpoints as a reward for exploring a previously undiscovered area. It's very easy to get turned around in compact corridors across multiple floors. Every so often, just as you begin to worry that dying will mean you never see your current inventory again, you'll come across an unlockable doorway that leads back to safety and a huge sense of relief.
I usually struggle to enjoy games that deliver the storyline piecemeal, as is the case here. So far The Surge has kept me interested enough to keep going, but I'm eagerly awaiting the grand payoff at some point towards the back end of the campaign. That is just one of the many things we'll be covering in our six months later review later this year, so consider subscribing to our newsletter to be kept up to date.