The Surge Is Like Dark Souls Except You Can Dismember Everyone

The Surge is a futuristic action game in the vein of Dark Souls that pits players against a host of robots and power-suit-wearing goons. It's fun to bash on zombies, but even better to cut their limbs off to steal their loot.

Item acquisition in Souls-like titles tends to be abstract. You wail on a zombie or demon for a bit and if you're lucky, they drop a shiny pick-up that could be any number of things. It's a dice roll whether you get a new weapon or not. In Dark Souls, the small, ethereal bag of loot that falls to the ground is mysterious. In the Souls-ish Nioh, the colourful burst of multicoloured drops feels in tone with the game's energy. But The Surge (out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC) takes another route that might be the best attempt yet at making loot feel meaningful.

In The Surge, you have the ability to focus attacks on certain body parts. Continue to attack a specific limb and you can trigger a powerful finishing move to slice them off your foes. It's more than an exciting bit of blood and mayhem; it's also how you get new items and equipment. Do you want that enemy's nifty chainsaw arm or powerful hammer? Cut it off and get the schematic to craft for yourself.

Dark Souls would occasionally allow players to cut off enemy limbs to get unique weapons, but The Surge takes that idea even further, allowing you to dismember pretty much any enemy in the game. Thanks to this little piece of design, the world feels solid and real. You can break and smash it for your benefit.

The Surge has a speedy approach to combat that can move a little too fast from time to time, but the way it handles loot is incredible. Slicing and bashing new gear from enemies is a distinctive touch that keep combat exciting and makes the world a little more extant.


Comments

    I want a demo. I'm not sold on souls clones, they never live up to standard set by FROM

      Probably the best "Soulsborne" inspired game I've ever played is Salt & Sanctuary, and that game's combat system is actually quite basic... but it's an interesting, 2D platformer that takes obvious inspiration from not only the Dark Souls series, but the Metroid/Castlevania games too ("Metroidvania").

        If you like that aspect, I'd recommend The Surge on account of how it takes the metroidvania 'gain powers that unlock new areas' thing to a level that the Souls series never did. Loads of unlockable shortcuts really scratch that 'explorer' itch.

    What a rubbish article title.

      I was just about to say this. Souls this, souls that. No, it doesn't even come close.

    Nioh is the only decent souls like, even then just play Dark Souls or Bloodborne.
    The dismember and loot system is shit because the items are as meaningless as this games existence.

      Ha! Harsh much?

        If I hadn't played the game myself I might agree, but unfortunately what janedoe says is pretty on the money.

        It is lacking in more ways than one. The dismember system being rather gimmicky with little real value to it is just one of its issue, and the asking price is absurd for what becomes an incredibly repetitive experience.

        It is basically just another Lords of the Fallen, which was the previous Souls-like game from the developer, and simply cannot contend with the Souls/Bloodborne games.

          These souls like games lack the soul, that is literally the only appropriate way to put it. Nioh was enjoyable but these games aren't going to capture the magic that only Miyazaki's studio can create, there's so much more outside of gameplay that makes souls great.

    I would like to play The Surge, but unfortunately it's quite an expensive title and there's no demo available.

      Step 1. Xbox live membership
      Step 2. Wait 15 months

      Worked with Lords of the Fallen unfortunately that game was less than stellar.

      All these psuedo souls clones forget the two best things about souls: the amazing levels and the online features

        Exactly, and to that I'd add atmosphere and (admittedly enigmatic) story.

        I've played until the second boss, and the game lacks, dare I say it, soul.

        It's technically competent and certainly has its merits, but I decided to put it on the back burner and start a NG++ of Dark Souls. Just arrived at Anor Londo last night; it's still impressive by contemporary standards (especially @ 4k thanks to Durante).

        I don't have an X-Box One, unfortunately. Got a PS4.

        I did get Lords of the Fallen on PS4 for free via Playstation Plus. It's a very pretty, beautiful game, but the game just felt so slow and repetitive.

    Man, I'm loving The Surge. Satisfyingly responsive and tactically-interesting combat, plenty of gear variety with meaningful changes, and the implants are a game-changer. It's possible to create all kinds of different builds for different playstyles by collecting and installing the right amps.

    The levels have been designed by the mad genius apprentice of E. M. Escher, looping back on themselves to open up new shortcuts with a delicious frequency even more gratuitous than the Undead Burg.

    The levelling/experience/currency system borrows one of the best parts from Lords of the Fallen - the multiplier you get for not cashing in/visiting a medbay (bonfire). The greater the collection of scrap (souls) you carry, and the longer you carry it, the higher your gain multiplier goes up, actively encouraging and rewarding riskier play.

    Also, I've just discovered after completing a few major plot points that the game has the balls to do something I wish more soulslikes would do: change the previous zones. It's already an enormously satisfying metroidvania in that you learn new skills that unlock previously inaccessible areas in the earliest zones, but if you advance the story, some parts of that terrain and the zones get populated with different, harder foes, in response to story events, presenting an entirely new challenge to shake you out of 'farm route memorized' complacency.

      Also, as you play NG+, NG++ the environments change further.
      The start of NG+ when you are going through the train station for example has a vent that's collapsed and has killed someone.

      Pretty damn cool. And subtle things... environment more damaged, enemies more aggresive and wearing different gear (random enemy in the first level who is wearing a mixture of black cerberus and crysallis gear). Excellent way to really mess you up.

      Oh and on NG+ when you get Iriana the staff she drops for you in the first playthrough (if you fully helped her) she says its badass and reacts to it.

      Proper planning!

    I bought it, and am having a blast. It is inherently unfair however; compare with other 'punishing' games (I love how every article for this game has Dark Souls in it, even though Demons Souls came first) which are just 'high learning curve').

    I'd actually put this about Dark Souls in terms of 'fun' and 'tension'.

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