Game Info:

The Surge
Developed by: Deck13
Published by: Focus Home Interactive
Release date: May 15, 2017
Available on: PS4, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Action RPG
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Mature for blood, gore, intense violence, strong language
Price: $29.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Focus Home Interactive for sending us this game and the Walk in the Park DLC!

It’s your first day on the job at Creo, a huge company with a vision to fix the world from the bad things that humans have done to it. Their goal is to provide a better life for everyone and one of the draws of working there is that they have the technology to make your wheelchair-bound character, Warren, walk again. After selecting the class of Field Technician or Heavy Operator, the implant surgery commences. Without the expected anesthetic. There’s something wrong with the machines! Warren’s day starts off bloody and painful and only gets worse from there.

Although he can walk again, the system deems Warren a failure and discards him in the junkyard. It’s there that he’ll learn the basic attacking and blocking techniques needed to survive in this company that’s overrun with corrupt machinery and cybernetic zombies. Many of the enemies have a weak spot that can be targeted to take them down more efficiently. If you pay attention, you’ll also discover attack patterns that will be necessary to learn to sustain minimal damage.

As enemies are defeated, you may acquire schematics for their equipment and scrap metal to forge your own versions of them. Scrap is also needed to level up your rig which opens up more upgrade slots and the ability to overcharge various circuits to unlock loot and new areas to explore.

The Surge

Strong Points: Action-packed story with challenging enemies and bosses; neat upgrade abilities and the drone is very useful 
Weak Points: Although it does copy the Dark Souls game style, it doesn’t improve upon the formula; keyboard controls are easier to use than a gamepad
Moral Warnings: Lots of violence and gore and you rip limbs off of enemies;  every cuss word is used and blaspheming is shown with a lowercase “g”; there’s a pinup of a woman in a bikini

It doesn’t take long to discover the first medical operations building that heals Warren and replenishes the injectable healing vaccines. It’s in this area that weapons and armor can be upgraded and implants installed. Unfortunately, after healing, all of the previously defeated enemies are once again revived. Because of this mechanic, you’ll need to go easy on the healing injections and perfect your fighting techniques if you wish to survive in this harsh environment. Some areas have a healing station that will replenish your health and injections without reviving the enemies. Take advantage of those!

The main story is told via audio logs left behind and your goal is to save the remaining normal people left in the facility. An employee named Sally communicates with you via a hologram messaging system and will give you some basic objectives, but all of the heavy lifting is on you.

As you explore your surroundings, you’ll find various upgrades lying around. The good ones are usually guarded and off the beaten path so keep your eyes open for them. Some of the implants lower the energy or stamina usage needed for attacks, increase your health or allow you to regenerate it, grant you the ability to breathe toxic air without losing health, or increase you attack power. Later in the game, you’ll get a drone which comes in handy for shielding you in battle or attacking on your behalf from a distance. I highly recommend installing the implants for increasing the drone’s damage. Don’t rely too heavily on the drone though as it’s unavailable for some of the boss battles. Like the game levels, the bosses in this title are huge and intimidating.

The Surge
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 47%
Violence - 0/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The levels are easy to get lost in, but you know you’re on the right track when you unlock a new and faster way to get back to the operations/healing center. Another good sign is discovering a circuit that doesn’t require too much power to override it. Higher-level overrides generally yield nice loot instead of story progression.

If you purchase the Walk in the Park DLC, you can access it from a train station in Central Production B which requires multiple visits throughout the game’s main story. Another way to enter Creo World is through the Research and Development level. Like the main facility, Creo World has experienced serious destruction and the park’s mechanical mascots have gone haywire and are violent. Much of the park’s landscape is sunken and access to the various attractions is limited. Until you reach the Operations facility, there are no humans to interact with. The guy there is part of a rescue team, but he needs your help in restoring the power, networking, and locating the rest of his team who crashed nearby. There’s plenty of action, enemies, and Steam achievements to be had if you purchase this $14.99 DLC.

If you enjoy challenging action RPGs, The Surge will scratch that itch. Due to the fighting, you can expect lots of blood, violence, and limbs being torn off (especially during the finishing moves). Language is another moral concern since every cuss word including the F-bomb is heard in the audio logs. God’s name is also thrown around casually and is not capitalized either. Lastly, there’s a pinup up of a woman in a bikini on one of the office walls.

In the end, I found out that this game style isn’t my cup of tea, but I did find the story fascinating and wanted to see what caused this company’s collapse. I also grew to like the country song that always play in the healing facility and got it stuck in my head on multiple occasions. There are multiple endings and a new game plus mode to explore after you finish the main story. If you’re a fan of Dark Souls-style games then you’ll enjoy The Surge.

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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