The Surge – A Walk in the Park: Progress Log #2

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

The extra implant slots all of my grinding unlocked are already making a difference, as I was able to slot in something that restores 20% of my total health whenever I kill an enemy with a finisher. I’m also using an implant that increases drone damage, which complements an implant that increases the amount of energy gained after successful attacks. That way, one or two strikes are enough to get a damaging drone shot in, which is proving handy against highly armored enemies who aren’t easily staggered. And speaking of staggering, I crafted some new arm equipment with the net gain of 1% faster attacks and 15% more impact. That comes at the cost of some defense, but Warren dies quickly enough that the difference is imperceptible.

Creo loves vents

I knew it was just a matter of time until the vents showed up again. There are quite a few of them, though right now they’re mostly serving as shortcuts. As far as I’ve played (judging by the achievements, maybe 40-50% of the way), I’d say that it’s been about half sunny locations and half typical The Surge fare. It’s a little disappointing that they didn’t commit entirely to the outside parts, instead including a whole bunch of shadowy and claustrophobic indoor areas to wander through, but the mixture of the two is much better than in the base game regardless.

I can’t believe I forgot to post this

This should have gone in the last progress log, but it somehow managed to slip through the cracks. Basically, there’s this weird bug where certain enemies will sometimes have their leg remain behind after dying, at which point it’ll get confused about what to do and mimic what Warren’s legs are doing. I think what’s happening is that both the enemy and Warren have the same type of leg gear, so losing the character who dictated its movement causes it to default to Warren.

Some details that I appreciate

It’s easy to forget given the grim, oppressive atmosphere of The Surge, but Deck13 is actually really good at creating things that are funny. Not laugh-until-you-can’t-breathe funny, but that type of endearing humor centered around the absurdity of situations that always makes you smile. Ankh had this in spades, as did Venetica to a lesser extent, and there are a few moments where the mid-apocalypse audio logs of patrons in utter disbelief reminded me a bit of the writing in those earlier games.

There are also small touches that end up adding a lot, such as the way the Ops area is balanced on a ledge, so walking over to the edge in your heavy exoskeleton causes it to tip over slightly. Having your safe place feel slightly unsafe is definitely an effective way of communicating how badly things are going. Pretty cool.

I have a moral objection to whatever this is

You have to fix the power at one point, and the second you do, an enemy comes in from who-knows-where and pins you to the back wall. His first attack comes before the power-fixing animation is even finished, so you’re not able to defend yourself from that initial damage. Now, I can understand and appreciate brutally difficult gameplay, but this is just cheap. Especially given how small the area is.

And the areas can sometimes be really small

There are all of these wide-open areas that are awesome to fight in, but then there are times when you get stuck in a small arena with a bunch of enemies. This isn’t always a bad thing; there’s nothing wrong with the video above, for instance, and the limited amount of space adds to the tension without coming across as cheap.

But then there are times where you’re fighting in a small space that also has signs and boxes and various other things littered around, and that’s where things start to get a bit frustrating. Enemies get stuck behind objects, it’s easy to get pinned into a corner without recognizing that it’s a corner, and the whole thing doesn’t come together the way it probably should. I can understand the desire to make areas like this so that enemies can hide in alcoves to jump out at you, but being unable to dodge because you’re pinned between an enemy and a wall simply isn’t worth it. The camera also becomes incredibly awkward in areas that are too small, and The Surge excels when it tasks you with fighting tough enemies in open space anyway.

For example, this early boss fight. It’s just you and him fighting in an open space where there’s more than enough room to dodge around. I lost to him repeatedly because I’ve never been comfortable with the timing of staff-users’ attacks, but every failure boiled down to multiple mistakes on my part rather than a quirk of the level geometry or camera, and that made my eventual success all the more sweet.

There’s also this guy, who’s one of several highly armored enemies who can heal themselves when near death. I can’t remember humanoid enemies in the base game ever healing, so that really threw me for a loop, but luring him to an open space for a fair fight was a high point despite how many times he beat me.

The enemies are getting better

I have hope that there will be more open areas in the later parts of the game, because this new enemy practically necessitates them. It’s a mutated theme park mascot with a ridiculous reach, and it uses its arm to whip you in different ways. Fights like these only work when you have a large enough space to dodge in.

[Click here to go to The Surge – A Walk in the Park log #1]
[Click here to go to The Surge – A Walk in the Park log #3 (END)]

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