Of the many surprises E3 2018 had this year, the one perhaps didn’t hear about is The Surge 2, by German developer Deck 13. It’s not hard to understand why it got lost in all the gargantuan reveals, from Fallout 76 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, to Cyberpunk 2077. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t shine some light on it, the sequel to a game that was considered by many to be the best “souls like” to date. I spent over an hour at the Deck 13 booth watching gameplay and speaking with Jan Klose, the head of the studio, and the following is what I learned in my time there.
The Surge 2 Preview
Genre: Action RPG
Developed by: Deck 13
Published by: Focus Interactive
Release date: TBA
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One
The Surge 2 is set once again in a decimated earth, where things have gone catastrophically wrong. Much of the planet is dead or dying, including human life, and there are strange anomalies affecting the planet’s surface. While I didn’t learn a whole lot about the game’s story, The Surge 2 is not set inside CREO, but instead outside on the planet’s surface in a place called Jericho City. Deck 13 was heavily criticized for their lack of environmental variation in their first game, which is something Jan assured me they really took to heart, and have since worked hard to make each area feel unique and distinct.
Although I only got to see one locale during the gameplay session, the green man-made forest they showcased, was in stark contrast to what players have previously experienced inside CREO. Grass sways in the breeze, water runs down stream and there are tall trees everywhere in this area. You can even cut down the grass to reveal what’s inside, which sometimes features hidden loot. It would have made me forget about the atrocities that are going on just outside, if it weren’t for the enemies lying in wait to ambush you as you progress.
The Surge 2 – What’s New?
The Surge 2 will feature 10 different weapon types, which is exactly double the 5 the previous title had. One of the new weapon types, showcased in the demo, was a heavy two-handed axe that split into 2 axes if you attacked into quick succession, completely changing the attack animations and severing animations of the weapon. It was really cool to see, and though we don’t know exactly what the other types are, there will be some sort of fist weapons added to the game.
The game will feature all new armor to collect and farm, as well as some returning armor from the original game. I was not able to get an exact number on just how many there will be, but I was assured it was much more than the previous title. What sort of bonuses, or defenses these will possess is anyone’s guess, but the one in the demo was fucking rad and slightly resembled Master Chief from Halo 3. I cannot wait to see more!
In addition there will be all new Implants that will provide the player with different bonuses. These were not shown in the demo, so we don’t know exactly what they are yet, however. They have also added consumables to the game, which is something that players can use to further ensure their success.
Drones are handled a bit differently, as is the AI of the enemies. Drones can be outfitted by severing ranged weapons from enemies, and they can be deployed mid combat to fire upon them even while mid combo. Enemy AI has been upgraded to be smarter, and work together against you when you are facing multiple hostiles. For example, one will hang back and fire ranged weapons while you engage the other in melee combat. Should you switch targets, they will react and their behavior will change accordingly. This should make encounters more engaging and more challenging.
The way Quests and NPCs work have been changed somewhat from the first game. Now you will actually have a tracker when given a quest by an NPC, so you can see how you are progressing, and not simply hope you are doing it right. Additionally, objectives have been placed with a marker so that you know where you need to go, and your only problem is figuring out how to get there. These changes should really make Quests feel more meaningful, and make the game more appealing to traditional RPG enthusiasts.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, there is now a proper character creation to the game, and players are free to pick and choose exactly how they wish to look. You can choose your sex, race, and many more features that will allow the player to create the character they wish to play. This was a big issue of complaint with both Lords of the Fallen and The Surge, so this should satisfy many fans of these two games.
In my totally unimportant opinion, The Surge was a step in the right direction for Deck 13 and they showed that they can take a solid gameplay formula and make it better. The Surge 2 will be the next evolution in this cycle, and from all appearances it looks like the game will surpass the last in terms of quality and sales.
Jan and Deck 13 seem to understand exactly what their player base wants, and they have not fixed what isn’t broken. Instead you will find they have listened to player feedback, and worked to shore up the weakest areas of The Surge while maintaining the aspects that players loved from the game.
The Surge 2 is still fast, the combat is brutal and the severing animations are visceral. If you were a fan of The Surge in any capacity before, all indications are you will definitely enjoy the sequel!