It’s like Dark Souls… with ro­botic dis­mem­ber­ment, writes Heidi Kemps

Hyper - - EDITORIAL -

Deck 13 is a developer that’s been around for a bit, but who re­ally burst onto the scene through Lords of the Fallen, an ac­tion-RPG that took a fair share of in­flu­ence from FromSoft­ware’s ven­er­a­ble Souls se­ries. The game was warmly re­ceived, and now all hands are on Deck 13 again for an­other toughas-nails ac­tion-RPG ad­ven­ture, but this time, we’re go­ing to be fight­ing for our lives in the far-flung fu­ture.

The world of The Surge is that of the tech­nol­ogy that shapes our daily lives gone awry. Cor­po­ra­tions rule the roost, cit­i­zens live in a sur­veil­lance state, the en­vi­ron­ment’s gone hay­wire due to global warm­ing, and the best you can hope for in life is to land a cosy man­u­fac­tur­ing job at a govern­ment­funded firm that says they’re go­ing to take care of that nasty green­house ef­fect. That’s ex­actly what hap­pened to our hero, Wil­liam. But things have a ter­ri­ble ten­dency to go wrong in these messy me­chan­i­cal so­ci­eties, and as Wil­liam wakes up in the com­pany junk­yard en­closed in a pow­ered, me­chan­i­cal ex­oskele­ton, he knows some­thing’s gone hor­ri­bly wrong. The ro­bots have gone hay­wire, his co-work­ers (in their own pow­ered ex­oskele­tons) are at­tack­ing him, and the whole world seems to want him dead. Talk about the lousi­est day at work, eh?

You’ll take con­trol of Wil­liam, guid­ing him through the sur­pris­ingly bright and colour­ful world of his for­mer work­place. Ex­plo­ration is non-lin­ear, and while we only saw the junk­yard in our demo, it was in­di­cated to us that later ar­eas would look quite dif­fer­ent. The game’s still at a very early point in its de­vel­op­ment. Wil­liam is free to roam wher­ever he wants, though cer­tain ob­sta­cles – namely, en­e­mies and bar­ri­ers that re­quire a cer­tain level of 'Over­charge' power to open – can prove in­sur­mount­able at cer­tain points in the game. In some cases, you’ll need to re­turn to pre­vi­ously ex­plored ar­eas later on in or­der to pass an ob­sta­cle that you couldn’t over­come at first.

But while ex­plo­ration is im­por­tant, it sim­ply wouldn’t be a Souls-style game with­out chal­leng­ing com­bat. As you en­gage foes in pri­mar­ily melee-based com­bat, you’ll utilise the typ­i­cal ar­ray of strikes, par­ries, and dodges, all while keep­ing a care­ful eye on your stamina. You also have ac­cess to a 'com­bat en­ergy' me­ter can be utilised in a va­ri­ety of ways de­pend­ing on what sort of gear you have equipped.

Said gear is a big part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. When fight­ing en­e­mies, you can choose to tar­get spe­cific points on their bod­ies. You can hack off heads, limbs, and me­chan­i­cal ap­pendages, claim­ing the gear and ma­te­ri­als that once adorned them. Of­ten­times, you’ll be forced to choose be­tween quickly dis­patch­ing a foe or fight­ing it more care­fully to claim the loot it holds. When you do get some sweet gear, you can take it back to your base of op­er­a­tions where you can fur­ther en­hance it to suit your spe­cific game­play needs.

The Surge is still quite early in de­vel­op­ment, with only a vague 2017 re­lease date given. From ev­ery­thing we’ve seen, how­ever, it’s shap­ing up to be a solid sci-fi Souls suc­ces­sor and we're look­ing for­ward to more.

Brings new mean­ing to 'armed and dan­ger­ous'. Look at that thing!

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