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PS4 Game Review

The Surge


Format: PS4
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Deck13
RRP: £49.99
Age Restrictions: 18+
Release Date: 16 May 2017

The Surge is a hardcore action role playing game set in a science fiction universe from Deck 13. The first thing you can say about the game is it looks great. The environments are well detailed with an effective use of shadow and colour. The slightly muted pallet highlights the gore of the kills.

Review imageThe game refuses to handhold you through the levels, and at the beginning you're disorientated and in the dark as to your main goal. Following a brief introduction, where you can play as three diverse types of combatant, you're shown being painfully screwed into your Elysium-like skeleton power suit. You are then unceremoniously dumped into the game.

Wander around for a bit getting used to smacking low level drones with a piece of pipe and you meet your first substantial area which contains a Gear Assembly which you can use to craft more powerful stuff and a Medbay, both of which are at this point of the game broken. Oh, and to add to your woes, the power core in your suit is a dud. There is a handy dandy hologram of a woman who tells you to get back into the factory and then you're off on your adventure.

I should say that I did not like the combat system all that much. On the one hand, you can choose which part of your opponent to hit, this action is pretty much the heart of the game, but the attack is frustratingly slow as your character has often to complete their animated move before you get a strike in. This often allows your less encumbered opponent to get a good few digs in between your showboating combat skills. If you can get enough hits in then the game rewards you with a combo which takes out your opponent’s limbs or, even more satisfyingly, splits your opponent apart. In the end once you get used to the system it provides a good balance between offence and defensive manoeuvres and the ability to choose which sections to attack and which to leave alone adds to the level of scavenging and crafting.

Review imageYou’re also going to want to turn down the sensitivity of the camera as the default setting will have you looking around the environment in a way that makes you feel like you've just downed a bottle of vodka.

Once you're good to go then head on out and test your lump of metal against bots and powered zombies. You pick up the core quickly which allows you to overcharge entry pads and open doors. You're still not particularly strong and so have to be careful which fights to pick, unless you want to die a lot. If you do die then the game just respawns you at the last significant point and penalises you by removing some of your scrap metal.

So, this means you must judge just how risky you want to make your gameplay as you need the scrap to upgrade your own suit, but die and your back to square one. If you die near the last spawn point then you do get a chance to retrieve the scrap, but you will be doing it against a countdown and the respawned enemies. Collect enough items and you will discover that the game has a rich crafting system, which includes addition implants that can be used when you level up.

Review imageThe AI enemies are ruthless and so you must be situationally aware, concentrate too much on bashing the brains out of the guy in front of you will usually result in any zombies you’ve left around coming up and killing you from behind in one slash. Leaving them untouched is not a great tactic when exploring, as you’ll find yourself trying to overcharge a door only to once again be killed from behind. This adds another problem. The story of the game is presented by flashbacks and interactions and the ever-present need to keep killing the zombies rather distracts from any ability to follow the narrative of the game.

In the end, while the game has its faults it does provide a good thirty to forty hours of mindless hack and slash in detailed and interesting sci-fi environments.


Charles Packer

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