THE SU RGE
Battle-crazed colleagues and berserk robots in the world’s most hostile work environment
Morally murky technology giant CREO probably didn’t envisage its industrial equipment being used in deadly melee throwdowns, but it turns out a drill the size of a postbox is quite good for hitting people with. And you’ll need all the tools you can get in this steely sci-fi RPG from the minds behind 2014’s Lords Of The Fallen.
It’s all self-defence, of course. We, as CREO employee Warren, wake up groggy in an exo-skeleton with no idea why our former colleagues – many of whom are malfunctioning machines – have gone all murdery. A stretch of metal rebar is our only defence against buzzing utility drones swooping at us in the construction yard. Combat’s stamina-based, all about carefully timing strikes while leaving enough green in the meter to block and dodge. We dispatch them and push through to the medbay.
Here’s where to upgrade weapons, craft new ones and raise your power level. That all requires tech scrap, a farmable resource dropped by enemies who respawn when you die. The next area, littered with hollow shells of grounded airplanes, is where we get to grips with Warren’s limb-targeting ability. You can aim at specific body parts by clicking the Right Stick then flicking it in the relevant direction. Our human opponents aren’t wearing helmets and we punish them for it with a series of noggin smashes. Moves do feel limited, just light and heavy attacks on RT and RB, and there are pauses between each slow swing, but we’ll chalk that down to our meagre stamina bar (upgradable), and beginner weapon (changeable).
Cut the dope
This is the fun part: to get new equipment you literally chop it off foes. We target the left arm of one exo-suited dude and inflict enough damage to trigger a killing blow where Warren binds him in an arm lock and viciously separates appendage from body. This drops a nasty serrated blade called the Vibro-Cutter. Further into the game lie hydraulic jackhammers, impervious pickaxes and a pump-type thing originally built to clean hazardous waste spills.
Modular customisation options, meanwhile, give Warren enviable access to asymmetrical style. We rock a massive yellow Rhino pauldron on the right shoulder, accented by a chunky Lynx-armoured right leg. Okay, so aesthetically we’re a little lopsided, but getting to assign gear for the head, chest and limbs offers greater precision over defence values versus overencumberance. In other words, looking like a leggy bulldozer in a suit of advanced load-bearing apparatus will make you move like one.
Deeper into the facility’s eerie confines we come to a set of thick metal doors controlled by a terminal demanding a power level rating of ten to enter. These overt gating mechanisms prevent you wandering into a dangerous area too early, and can also hide secret item caches and cheeky shortcuts. We do a quick farming run, bank our tech scrap in the medbay and rank up. What’s inside? Six disgruntled workers with crackling electrified staffs in hand. Yeah, we’ll come back later.
Indeed, this interconnected world is about taking your time, deciphering attack patterns and growing stronger bolt by grafted-on bolt until you’re powerful enough to take on an angry excavator. A bad day at work for Warren; a good day for you.