Focus Home Interactive brought its stable of upcoming games from the various developers the publisher represents to E3 this year, and one title in particular has me very intrigued after sitting through a closed door hands-off demo of it in action. This title is Deck 13’s The Surge, which is due out in 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC platforms.
One of the first things I noticed upon the demo starting up is its similarities to Blomkamp’s Elysium, which starred Matt Damon as an exo-suit wearing badass looking to save himself from certain death. Like that film, The Surge takes place in a dystopian near future Earth, where overpopulation and disease have left humanity struggling to survive. You take control of the lead character after he awakes from an event he can’t remember and must guide him on his way to figure out what went down. The character sports an upgradeable and customizable exo-suit, which again very closely resemble those featured in Elysium, and also make him a formidable combatant for those looking to take him out on his journey of discovery.
Due to the inclusion of exo-suits, The Surge’s gameplay is laser focused on melee combat, which is where my quasi-Mortal Kombat comparison comes into play. This game isn’t a fighter and you don’t line up on a 2D plane to battle, but its focus on strategic melee combat and special finishing moves echoes the brutality found in the Mortal Kombat franchise perfectly.
The game is presented in a third person view like other action adventure titles, but rather than just being a button masher, The Surge requires strategy for any chance of success. Each enemy has identifiable hit points which you can aim for while swinging your weapon using the right stick. This promotes a unique approach to melee combat since you can target noticeable weak areas on someone’s suit, leading to deadlier attacks and a quicker filling finishing meter. You definitely want your basic attacks to land successfully, because the quicker you can fill the finisher meter, the quicker you’ll get to see this game’s hardcore gore in action. These finishers are definitely inspired by Mortal Kombat’s fatalities, as one I saw had an enemy get his head knocked off in slow motion complete with the requisite amount of blood and giblets spewing from his open neck wound. Other finishers are equally as gory and brutal, so becoming proficient in strategic melee attacks is key in The Surge.
Once you down enemies you can also collect parts and blueprints from them to upgrade or customize your own exo-suit. These changes to your suit are reflected both visually and statistically as enhancements will buff your character’s skills. I loved the visual changes even more though, because they hinted at your exo-suit’s potential evolution throughout the game, so I can’t wait to see what other iterations of it will be possible in the full game.
The Surge wouldn’t be a full on third person melee action game without mini-bosses and actual bosses, both of which are present in Deck 13’s ambitious title. Like regular enemy fights, mini-bosses and bosses will have specific strategies required to conquer them, so there could be a hint of Dark Souls-style boss fights in this title. The developers did mention that the real boss fights will have a normal approach, which will still require planning and execution, but that there will be harder alternatives to beating the bosses that aren’t so clear. If you take the more difficult approach though you’ll be rewarded with better gear, so I appreciate the fact that Deck 13 plans to reward those who take the road less traveled in these boss fights.
At E3 2016 The Surge already looked like a polished game with lovely visuals and seemingly tight gameplay (hands-off so couldn’t tell how it controlled), so it’s definitely moved up a few spots on my games to watch in 2017 list. Its focus on strategic melee combat is refreshing, and the finishers are very rewarding to see, so they’ll be even better to pull off once the game releases in 2017.
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