It was probably about time for me to get stuck into another challenging game after some easy rides recently. Perfect timing for The Surge 2 to arrive on PS4, offering just the challenge I am looking for. Published by Focus Home Interactive and developed by Deck 13, The Surge 2 launches with a lot of hype from some great launch trailers.
The story begins with a plane crash on your way to Jericho City, crashing on the outskirts of the city. Weeks later you wake up in a detention facility that is in a meltdown, armored guards attempt to maintain order but there is something here causing a mess. From here your journey into Jericho city begins, but first you need to get out of this detention center.
For anyone who played The Surge you will very quickly get a feel for this game. A lot of the basics remain in terms of light and heavy attacks, stamina and battery bars. Dodging is still a vital part of the game as well as the unforgiving combat. You will also notice a few changes and I must admit they are welcome changes. The first change you will notice is you have some character customization at the start of the game, letting you pick your own little backstory to your character.
Once you escape from the detention facility, you are thrown into a much more open world environment full of enemies and bosses to test your skills in. The world offers more routes to take than the previous game and has a much deeper level design, partly thanks to the new engine Deck13 used for this game. This means you will take your combat from ruined buildings to gang ridden cities and everything in between. This new world also opens up the combat possibilities meaning you need to use cover or knock enemies off ledges to survive.
Carried on from The Surge, combat pushes you to target limbs. Not only to gain parts to build and upgrade your own items, but to decide whether you attack an armored or non-armored part. One of the differences here though is armored body parts can take extra damage from charged attacks, you can see these as they show with a red shield.
However, combat this time comes with a few changes that open up new possibilities when fighting. Firstly, your battery now lets you regenerate health as well as cut off body limbs. What you use it for is up to you and will vary depending on the situation you are in, gone are the days of only having 3 health injections though. Secondly, you now have directional blocking thanks to a new implant. Time the block right and you stagger your enemy, offering the chance for a few big attacks. Both seem simple but have such a big impact on the combat, that they cannot be overlooked.
The Surge 2 has adopted a more fluid approach to its character development as well. Once again it seems like a small change, but being able to take back invested progression points or switch implants as you go really does give you more control over how you play. It also brings a new level of importance to your kit as you change it around to adapt to the combat situation. You can save 3 set ups in your menus to allow for quick changes as well, I set up a heavy hitter and a speed attacker depending on the enemies. Drones have also had a massive upgrade and become not only extremely useful in combat now, but has a use in the world to open up new routes.
Once you have settled into your set up, got the right drone and perfected those directional blocks it is time to unleash them on the world. To my surprise the combat is even more gruesome and enjoyable than the original. Nothing matches up to getting that square limb severing option appear above an enemy and watching as your character very skilfully deals the fatal blow. Throw in the massive number of weapons available in The Surge 2 and the combat is still at the heart of this game. There is a weapon for everyone out there, the difficult part will be staying with one.
Deck13 have built a game that you will want to re-explore as you progress through. New implants allow you to travel the world differently and open up new routes not available on the first passing. Upgraded implants will give you that perfect build to kill that optional boss you have been avoiding. New quests that can be failed will have you exploring areas to collect certain items. Plus there are mysteries that need solving as your progress the story. Overall, Jericho City and its design opens up a lot more enjoyable re-playability then you might expect.
Now the only issue I had with this game was the visuals of it. You have the choice of performance or quality which jump between smoother flow in game to better looking graphics. I am always cautious to go into visuals too much as my PS4 Pro is old now and it could just be it struggles to read the disc to give me the best graphics. However, at times the game had lag in buffering environments. Characters didn’t look as crisp as they probably should for a game of this quality.
A much smaller annoyance I had with this game is the new graffiti option. In short you can now graffiti in locations to give hints to other players such as look behind this crate for some scrap. However, to open the players profile of these tags you press square, which also happens to be the same button I press to remove the head of my enemy. Meaning more than once I ended up looking at a PSN profile instead of engaging in combat.
The Surge 2 delivers a new and amazing experience that has maintained what made the first game so enjoyable, but with so many upgrades. The world is more inviting, developing your character feels more personal and the array of combat encounters in this game seemed never ending. This game is well worth the time it will take to master it, because when you do The Surge 2 is great.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*