Dark Souls of Surgelikes was unfortunately finished last week and I actually was a bit sad with it going to the “folder” of finished games for me. Haven’t played first game, only watched Ela playing through it and speedrunning it, not planning to play it though, especially after playing overall superior second game.
But let’s talk a bit about that second game and my lidl review…
First of all I have to mention that it’s on Microsoft Game Pass (both games) which makes it already great, because best case scenario you already have that sub and don’t need to pay anything, worst case you can get it very cheap and a whole bunch of games on top of Surge too. Game Pass is insane value and that way of getting the game adds a lot to my subjective review points, because you already subconsciously treat it like something very cheap/free and as long as it’s not plain bad you already can enjoy it.
Game looks pretty nice, no crazy beautiful picture, but I’d say that’s kinda typical for something Souls-ish – not super impressive, but not ugly and runs fine, average. Game is on Vulkan though, so capturing in OBS was whole lot of fun.
Story – honestly in almost every Souls game (yeah there will be a lot of comparisons and parallels with those here) I don’t really care about the story much, just focus on gameplay so much I just don’t really look into story seriously. In this game story is being fed to you in a more “standard” form, no weird narration like in Souls, so at least it’s easier to grasp the story without reading every item description and hidden quests – everything is more straight forward and obvious. In general nothing award winning, but not trash, so good average story.
Gameplay is the best thing about the game – combat is great, pretty much first thing I felt right in the tutorial and realized that I will love this game. System with removing parts of bodies from enemies by targeting and damaging them to get weapon/blueprint/materials is making combat a lot more engaging and exciting, bit more extreme sometimes too I’d say when you go hard way just to get some part or reset boss fight, because you are not getting right parts farmed in time. Lots of weapon types bring in lots of combos, armor sets that give you bonuses when you have some amount of items is something I’d love to see in Souls too – always prefer when equipment has some stats and bonuses and not just armor/weight. Not a lot of “stats” that you can level up, so character system on a first glance feels weak, but because of all the armor sets, weapons and augments you get plenty of variety for builds. Enemy variety is also on a decent level, providing you with all those weapons and armors to farm, having some different features and special “mechanics” in different areas with different enemy “classes”. Parrying is amazing, directional parry mechanic feels really nice and I’m sad I didn’t master it to use it all the time, but when I did it felt really good, even though I was scared to remove the implant that shows you directions of enemy attacks, but if you are MLG you can do it without it, just seeing attack and figuring how to parry it. Boss fights are all pretty good, except end game stuff I was mostly steamrolling due to my build that increased gain of “souls” and allowed me to level up and upgrade stuff plenty. Some bosses are “reused” in side quests, but still feel alright, could be a bit more bosses and variety among them, more boss fights (and unique ones too) would be my main wish for next game. Mechanic for getting boss weapons or other rare drops are fun, even though sometimes quite hard to get without getting some hints, kinda Souls tail cuts, but more complicated.
Thing that I found most interesting about the game was how level design is organized – you progress story and change how areas look, so even if map and areas are not insanely huge, they all get a bit refreshed during the game and you run through them again, but they are different and you get abilities that allow you to travel or to reach things/places you couldn’t before. Quite a good example how to “reuse” areas without making it feel too repetitive.
So overall I really enjoyed the game, sorta average in many aspects, but combat just carries it for me hard, now I want some more, maybe at some point I’ll try DLCs (reviews are not looking good though, pretty short for the price), but waiting for next game for sure, even if it will be not Surge 3 – guys improved a lot since their first attempts, so I’ll be happy to see more “soulslikes”.