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Thread: The Surge

  1. #1
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    The Surge

    The Lords of the Fallen-devs at Deck13 have decided to make hay while the sun is shining! So just in time for DS3's release, here's the first gameplay footage of their upcoming Soulsalike.



    Still Soulsy, but now with a sci-fi theme instead of fantasy. I liked Lords well enough, so here's hoping this'll be good.

    Release date: 2017

    Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    The body targeting mechanic sounds pretty cool and seems to work in a similar way to Jedi Outcast 2. I'm kind of wondering how they are going to explain why guns haven't been invented yet, or if they have, why everyone's using swords instead.

  3. #3
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I believe they're more repurposed industrial tools than swords. It's set in a factory, which I'm guessing is in some remote place. And so there aren't any guns because why would there be?

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    They released a 15 minute gameplay presentation of this now at Gamescom. I definitely like it.


  5. #5
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Looks definitely worth a pop.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    I started playing this yesterday. The coombat feels solid, I like it. It's stamina based like in the souls games, but also has a unique flavor (there are no iframes, for example). It also has the feel of impact that Lord of the Fallen had, which is great. This one's faster though. I like the rpg system too. It's a simple one, not stat based, but it's fine for a game like this. Of course it has the soulslike "if you die everything respawns and you have to get your resource back" thing, but you know, other than this, it doesn't feel like a knockoff, it has its own personality IMO. I'm definitely liking it so far.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Wait, no iframes? Not even for those slow-ass finishers? Does that mean you're fully vulnerable while the animations play out?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Oh, you do have them on finishers. Forgot about that. Just not on dodges or backstabs (the latter is different from finishers and cancellable).

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Hmm... looking at some footage, doesn't seem half bad. It seems they have learned a lot from Lords of the Fallen.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    I've never played a Dark Souls game, but couldn't resist the 'exoskeleton Borg' theme and decided to buy The Surge. While I don't have any frame of reference with the Souls games, I am enjoying this quite a bit. Even basic enemies can be very quickly lethal if you screw up, so there's a constant sense of challenge, and the combat feels good. I'm not sure if other games in the genre work this same way, but enemies don't respawn over time, they respawn the instant you go back to home base to cash in collected resources and upgrade, and progress is made by unlocking shortcuts so you don't have to slog through all the enemies every time. The upgrade mechanic of targeting specific body parts and lopping them off isn't a gimmick, it's a pretty viscerally entertaining M-rated take on the Megaman-esque gameplay concept of acquiring powers from defeated enemies.

    Reviews are mixed so I was prepared for it to underwhelm, but I've gotten as far as the first boss and so far it seems like a polished AAA title with solid gameplay. It remains to be seen whether it'll wear out its welcome over the length of the campaign.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    I'm not sure if other games in the genre work this same way, but enemies don't respawn over time, they respawn the instant you go back to home base to cash in collected resources and upgrade, and progress is made by unlocking shortcuts so you don't have to slog through all the enemies every time.
    Yes, that's very typical of this sub genre.

    Btw, I found a useful post on the Steam forums, some tips&tricks about the combat: http://steamcommunity.com/app/378540...0669221499552/

  12. #12
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    My interest is piqued, but I think I'm gonna wait to see what you're all saying once you've gotten a bit farther into the game before picking it up for myself.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Thanks Malleus for the link, I've been having trouble figuring out how to properly block so that will help. I got to the second area feeling like tough stuff, and promptly got my butt handed to me by the basic enemies. I'm starting to get a handle on their behaviors and attack patterns, but I've also run into some new non-humanoid enemies that are proving very difficult to predict. The three-wheeled robots in particular are tough, I'm not sure how to get behind them to hit their weak spot.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    The three-wheeled robots in particular are tough, I'm not sure how to get behind them to hit their weak spot.
    You have to use jump counter or duck counter against them. Basically, when you're blocking, you can move the right stick / mousewheel up and the character will jump. This avoids certain low sweeping attacks. Same with moving the right stick / mousewheel down, the character ducks, avoiding certain high sweeping attacks. You have to time these, of course. If you press R1 or R2 immediately after these moves, you will do a counter attack.

    These robots have counterable high and low sweeping attacks. If you land the counter, the robot will be stunned for a bit, enough to get behind it and get a few hits in. You can also get behind it once it starts repairing itself.

    EDIT: I read that using the concussion drone on them also stuns them.
    Last edited by Malleus; 19th May 2017 at 19:55.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    I actually found a dumb, but reliable and effective way to do it- get right up next to them and circle-strafe. They'll pause to make an attack (doesn't matter which), and then you can run in and get a hit or two on the vulnerable leg. I might try properly countering, I just have a hard time knowing if I'm supposed to duck or jump.

    On another note, I've found a particularly nasty combo in the form of a full set of Lynx gear, energy-accrual-boosting implants, the spend-energy-to-heal implant, and the dual-rig arm blades. The blades attack very quickly, and the Lynx set bonus increases attack rate when at high health. With the energy accrual bonuses it very quickly charges up for either a finishing move or healing. What kind of build have you been running?

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Well, I can't circle strafe them because I'm using the Imperator weapon (single rigged), which is slow. The robot finishes its attack and turns around before I can hit the back, so I have to stun. I'm using that weapon with full Rhino gear (high stability, defense and impact bonus for weapon) with implants for max HP and standard healing injectors. So basically the complete opposite of your build.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Hah, sounds like it. I was actually using full Rhino and switching between the chainsaw and Imperator, but kept finding that screwing up my timing got me killed in short order, so I decided to give the speedy build a try and it's surprising how quickly it shivs things to death. I appreciate that so far I haven't run across any particular weapons or builds that seem totally OP, they just facilitate very different playstyles.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    I finished the game and loved it. As I said before, the combat is great and easily the strongest point of the game. It's fast and intense (but not too much), but it's not 'spammy' at all - R1 mashing is almost always a guaranteed death, and timing and spacing is of utmost importance, which I liked. The character animations are top notch, (I'd say it's because of mocap, but the robotic enemies are also very well animated, and I assume that wasn't mocapped ), everything has weight and momentum, and as I wrote before, the feeling of impact is very much there when you hit an enemy. Or when they hit you.

    The level design is also well done. The areas are large and complex, and each has one medbay. You unlock shortcuts to the medbay as you progress and it was a joy to discover the connections and how the areas are made up. It has the DS feeling when you open a door and go 'Where am I? Oh wait, I remember this place!', and of course the dread when you carry a lot of resources and progress inch by inch praying for a shortcut, and then glimpse a doot that leads back to the medbay. The game also has a little metroidvania vibe, as you have to go back to previous areas to open new ways to progress with new abilities you acquire elsewhere.

    Visually, the game is centered around a single theme, since it takes place in an industrial complex, but within that theme it offers decent variety. There are junkyards, factory complex, laboratories, offices, etc. Enemy variety is kind of like in Lords of the Fallen - there aren't many types, but they fight quite differently, and require different strategies. Bosses are also few, but they are interesting and mostly unique. To be fair, I wouldn't call oridnary mobs trashmobs in the game. They are quite powerful even by themselves, and you have to pay attention while fighting them otherwise you'll get rekt. This makes them fun to fight though.

    The rpg system is not stat based. You level up one stat, called core power, and this opens up implant slots. All armor and implants use core power too, so basically, leveling up just opens up more options. The variety of implants allow for nice build variety, but also for experimentation too, as you can switch implants in the medbay.

    The story is told via audiologs, NPCs, and the environment, but it is quite cryptic, which I didn't like that much, though I couldn't really put together the lore of DS either, so maybe I'm just stupid. For what its worth, it establishes a nice distopian, sort of pre-apocalyptic atmosphere, and even though it won't surprise anyone who is a bit versed in scifi, but has some good ideas and characters (the protagonist is not one, though), and mostly good voice acting.

    So, it takes influence from Souls, but add enough new stuff to the formula, to stand on its own. IMO it has outstanding combat and great level design. I give it my seal of approval.

  19. #19
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    As I've mentioned before, Lords of the Fallen was surprisingly good, and a remarkable first effort for a new studio, so I'm keen to pick it up at some stage; probably when it appears on a sale. One thing I've noticed from the screenshots so far is that there doesn't appear to be that much variety in the locations -- that was a criticism I had of LotF, as so much of it looked all the same after a while. Is that the case with The Surge?

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    Is that the case with The Surge?
    Well, yeah, if you expect an around the world tour, you won't get it here. I'd say it has about as much variety as LotF.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    I finished the game and promptly uninstalled it. Unfortunately, while I really liked the first half or so of the game, I think it started to go downhill after the Black Cerberus fight and never recovered. Just some thoughts in no particular order:

    -The visuals are excellent. The animations and designs of the suits and enemies are great, and the facilities have a very lived-in appearance. It's a little disappointing, though, that the most visually interesting area is the starting one (an abandoned rocket production facility, partially ruined and overgrown), while later levels are mostly corridors and fairly generic industrial complexes.

    -Level design is mostly a positive. The maps are non-linear and interesting areas can usually be reached a couple of different ways. Getting to a shortcut back to the spawn area can be a nerve-wracking experience but is never too brutal, and you always find a shortcut before having to fight a boss.

    -There's a decent amount of variety in the enemy types. There are slow zombie-like humanoids, hammer-wielding humanoids, fast humanoids, slow robots, fast robots, flamethrower humanoids, a pretty good variety that matches particular types to different areas.

    -The combat is largely good. Attacks feel weighty and significant, and there are a lot of ways to approach each fight. You can dodge attacks, or block and counterattack. You can tank damage to swing wildly, or avoid attacks and surgically retaliate. The humanoid enemies telegraph their attacks so you can respond, and are generally fun to fight. I really had fun with most of the humanoid enemies in the game- they weren't easy by any means, but when I died it was clear what I did wrong and how to do better next time.

    -However, when I ran into enemies that didn't 'follow the rules', it was often a frustrating experience. In particular there are dog-like robots with a couple of extremely damaging attacks that they can execute in quick succession with minimal indication, and human security enemies later in the game that are difficult to stun or counterattack, and have stun attacks of their own with minimal windup. It was pretty common for me to get stunned by a security guard's kick, or a dog-robot's leap, and then die to a series of follow-up strikes while I was stunned and could do nothing about it.

    -Some of the weapons don't 'follow the rules' either. Being able to abandon a combo chain to parry or dodge is key to the game, but some of the attacks execute multiple-hit strings that cannot be interrupted, leaving you to hope that you don't get walloped before you can finish the animation. The single-rigged weapons in particular are brutal about this, since the second attack in any combo is a jab followed by a swing, which takes about two full seconds to execute. If that first jab doesn't stun the enemy, you get a face full of pain before you can react.

    -The player isn't any tougher than the enemies. This means each fight is significant, and you can never just turn on autopilot and left-click-spam your way to victory, and I liked that. However, it also means that it is very easy to die outright from full health if the enemy hits you with a combo. When that happens as a result of being animation-locked, it's very frustrating.

    -Armor seems unbalanced, since heavy armor doesn't seem to help much. Even with the heaviest armor I could find, upgraded as high as I could get it, only let me sustain one or maybe two hits more than the lightest armor. Meanwhile, the lightest armor gives significant mobility and attack speed benefits and consumes much less of my all-important core power (used to power implants, which serve as skills/gear).

    -The last level is where I stopped enjoying the game altogether. It's a maze-like level scattered with two new enemy types that do all of the cheap things I mentioned earlier (can't be stunned, instant-death combos, don't telegraph their attacks) and are frustrating as hell to fight through over and over again. I reached the final boss completely by accident. No build-up or lead-in, just go down a corridor and oh hey, boss fight time.

    -I feel like there was an interesting story somewhere in the game, but the storytelling is extremely opaque. It reminded me of System Shock 2, if SS2 had about half as many audiologs and the character giving you phone calls now and again just gave vague, unhelpful comments. I kept playing because I enjoyed the gameplay, not because I felt like I was following any sort of plot.

    Overall: 3/5. Despite my criticisms it's not a bad game (I did play it through to the end), but it's a little rough around the edges. Some further tweaks to the combat would bump it to a 4/5 so I'll be watching to see if the developers do any more besides the gameplay patch they already released.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Hmm... sounds like a somewhat decent execution of the Souls formula, actually, but without the worldbuilding and atmosphere. I really thought I would be tired of these games by now, but I'm actually perfectly happy to see other takes on it. A shame about the story, though. I find that the slow-paced tactical combat and the exploration-heavy gameplay of the Souls games leads to an investment into the game world unlike anything since Thief.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    I'd actually disagree with that characterization. The game does worldbuilding and atmosphere in spades. The scenery is scattered with broadcasts from the energetic startup CEO, displays and information about the company, and little details of a lived-in world, and the environments are designed around a great mix of futuristic corporatism and practical machinery. The environments look and feel right, they're not just empty containers for the enemies and objectives.

    It's more that while there is a story, it's presented fairly subtly. I mean, about 2/3 of the way through the game the requisite evil scientist tells you face-to-face exactly what he's doing and what it'll do to the world if you don't intervene. But how you're supposed to intervene, why everything's gone batshit to begin with, who the woman is telling you where to go is, why some of the people you run into are behaving oddly, why security is trying to kill you, and other seemingly important details are left for the player to piece together. That's why I bumbled my way into the final boss, because I didn't have a sense of what exactly I was trying to accomplish on the last level besides unlocking new shortcuts and proceeding towards something. Then the ending might as well just boot you back to the main menu for all the resolution it provides.

    I think they tried to avoid spoonfeeding the player, but went just a little too far.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Fair enough, this does sound a lot like Dark Souls. I'm definitely intrigued enough to pick it up.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    Armor seems unbalanced, since heavy armor doesn't seem to help much.
    Heavy armor has high stability. It lets you dodge out of some comboes that would otherwise stunlock you.

    Not sure about the 'weapons not following the rules' comment. Most weapons in the game have multi-hit attacks, you just have to know when to use them. I finished the game with single rigged weapons, and didn't have much trouble even with enemies in the last area. I mean they obliterated me the first few times, but then I learned how to fight them. And I personally loved the last area. It's a maze, yeah, but ... I guess I like mazes? I enjoyed putting the map together in my head to figure out where I've been and what leads where.

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