OK, NOW I’M LOST
That might sound damning, but I was happy to push past it all so I could keep exploring CREO’s labyrinthine headquarters.
Each new area doesn’t deviate much from the previous one, and splitting the map into separate sections with train-rides between each one makes it all feel that little bit more enclosed, rather than a sprawling, singular whole, but somehow it all works.
With no fast travel cheesing going on, you’ve still got to trek back to any previously-explored areas, and Operations rooms aren’t always easy to come by, so you’ll quickly come to rely on all manner of shortcuts. Most are obvious, some are hidden, but all of them are oh so satisfying when they open back out into a familiar area where you’ve learned to deal with the enemies and know how to make it safely back to level up.
They aren’t quite so common further into the game, where you’ll be desperate to bank your scrap in case you get thwomped in the next fight, meaning you never get too comfortable and you’re always one or two hits away from disaster. These are easily the best moments in the game, so it’s a shame that the combat isn’t quite on the same level.
The Surge Verdict
Did I actually manage to beat The Surge? Nope, my Souls-like skills are sadly lacking and I had to bow out before the credits rolled in order to write this review. Unlike FromSoftware's fantasy epics, though, I didn't feel the need to jump back in and carry on once I'd hit publish.
It's decent enough, even with a finicky camera and punishing combat that is arguably even more of a challenge than anything you'll encounter in Lothric, but it doesn't have quite the same charm. Kind of ironic, then, that a game borrowing so much from the Dark Souls series doesn't have much soul of its own.
That's partly down to the sterile setting, with each new area feeling a bit too similar to the last, and partly because combat just isn't as fluid here. Enemies aren't as predictable, and certain mechanics feel half-baked.
Still, The Surge is packed with shortcuts to uncover and it's definitely going to tax even the most seasoned Souls veterans - so if you're a glutton for punishment, CREO will be waiting for your application.