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The Surge Review: Souls of Scrap

/ Jun 27th, 2017 No Comments

The Surge

The Surge is a third-person action RPG with a frustratingly high difficulty. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. It probably sounds like a game that is copying Dark Souls. However, The Surge is much more than a Dark Souls clone.

Its sci-fi atmosphere, devastatingly tough enemies and smooth combat system built on timing and finesse help The Surge stand out as one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Metal for Metal

In The Surge, players take control of Warren, a dude whose life hasn’t exactly been everything he imagined. Without spoiling the story, Warren’s troubles become immediately obvious during the game’s prologue.

Enter CREO, your standard sci-fi corporation looking to make the world a better place through its technological advancements. CREO is shooting rockets into space to stop global warming and permanently installing mech-suits onto people in order to enhance the planet’s workforce.

You’ve probably seen enough movies to know that something is fishy about CREO. Warren finds this out, too. When getting his mech-suit installed, the anesthesia doesn’t work. His suit is drilled into his body while he’s still fully conscious. After this horrific scene, Warren and the player begin to learn that CREO is trying to kill humans and the tech the company creates is designed to make people go insane.

The Surge

Can we please stop trying to become cyborgs? Has nobody in video games played a video game?!

The story is a fairly typical Icarus romp — man reaches too high and is ultimately destroyed by what it created — but players will be driven to learn more about the game’s story as they progress through a mix of junkyard and lab locations.

The plot is told mostly through audio logs scattered about in the game. NPCs also clue players in on some of the necessary background, but The Surge mostly allows players to fill in the blanks in terms of the story.

The Surge

And some areas are brightly lit so you can see how badly you get your ass kicked each time.

Although The Surge follows some of the common sci-fi stereotypes, it has a distinct and powerful voice that creates a world worth exploring and a protagonist that is easy to empathize with. Unfortunately, the locations are repetitive. You will find yourself surrounded by nearly destroyed corporate buildings and a pseudo-desert environment throughout much of The Surge.

Despite the lack of variety, the world is beautifully brought to life. The corporate facility players will spend a lot of time in has a haunted factory feel, and dimly corridors add to the creepiness. The score heightens the sense of dread before the music during boss battles gets the adrenaline pumping.

Time Right or Take Flight

Combat in The Surge is unforgiving. There are only three real elements to combat — attacking, dodging and blocking — but the difficultly comes in learning your opponents, timing your movements and trying not to die.

Enemies can be extremely difficult. Players may be able to easily fight past attack drones, but the more you kill, the harder they will become. Before you know it, you will be facing off against opponents with more armor and larger guns. This method eases players into combat before ramping up the difficulty to intense levels. Learning when to execute moves and combos is necessary in The Surge.

Between taking down enemies, players can get some rest in MedBays, where they can craft items and enter healing stations.

Crafting allows players to build new armor and weapons, and upgrade existing gear. In MedBays, players can also revive enemies. This doesn’t sound like a great use of a rest area, but defeating these bad guys allows you to farm “tech scrap,” which is extremely important in The Surge. It can be used to level up your character, buy new items and item upgrades, and improve augments.

Within MedBays, players can swap out augments, which are in-game upgrades that can be equipped by the player. Each implant has a different use. For instance, you can choose to equip an augment that gives your character healing abilities or one that allows you to see health meters for your enemies.

The Surge

I am more machine than man now. I hope you’re happy.

There are a lot of different mechanics in The Surge, but this isn’t overwhelming. The game allows players to work up their skills and slowly introduces new gameplay elements early on. Learning how to play The Surge is easy, but mastering it is anything but.


The Surge is an excellent game. It is extremely challenging but not unfairly so. The environments are repetitive, but exploring a large facility that has succumbed to the elements of nature is chilling and enjoyable.

How you play is up to you. There is plenty of diversity in terms of how you suit up the main character, and this is what makes the game so much fun. You will have to learn your opponents and build a character that can take them all down.

The Surge was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.


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Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



The Surge has brutal, unforgiving combat, but it is incredibly addictive and fun to customize your character.


The Surge has a haunting vibe, but locales feel too similar after a while.


A haunting minimalist score and adrenaline-pumping boss sounds provide a great soundtrack to The Surge.


The Surge doesn't tread new ground, but it draws players in with its narrative.