A sequel to The Surge, Deck13 and Focus Interactive's Sci-Fi Dark Souls, is on the way! We enjoyed both the full game and A Walk In The Park DLC, but definitely feel there's room for improvement. So, here's a list of Everything We Want To See from The Surge 2!
We have no real clue why the option to let us customize our player character wasn't in The Surge. No, we had to play as a generic white guy called Warren. It not only was one of a number of things that made the game feel a little cheap, but it also made the whole thing feel a little impersonal. It's not like The Surge had some incredibly deep storyline that required a preset character, and conversely allowing us to make our own protagonist would give us an immediate connection to them - something we never felt with Warren. Sure, give the ability to play as Warren if you're planning to continue his story, but otherwise in The Surge 2 - let us customize our own please.
Keep The Combat System
By far the best part about The Surge is its combat system. Deck13 took the already compelling fighting controls from the Dark Souls series and gave them an interesting tweak to make it even more interesting. The ability to target individual enemy body parts to do extra damage, or line up for a quicker execution, is simple, effective, and makes combat a lot more interesting. Focus have mentioned an "expanded limb targeting system" for the sequel. I'm happy for improvements in The Surge 2, but please don't overcomplicate things Deck13 - it's pretty much perfect as it is.
Improve The Environments
The most off-putting parts about The Surge, and the area that really made it pale in comparison to Dark Souls, were the drab environments. Endless boxy, metal, grey, confined rooms , and if you did go outside you couldn't see very far. In Dark Souls exploring the world is the best part and is key to that series' appeal, but The Surge just didn't have that. The good news is that Deck13 clearly listened to complaints and the Walk In The Park DLC, set in a twisted cross between Disneyworld and Five Nights At Freddy's, was far superior to anything in the main game. More of that kind of fun, compelling environment.
Less Shortcuts, More Map
One of the clever things that Dark Souls did so well is looping the map back on itself in surprising ways. You're continuously surprised when you turn a corner and find a ladder to kick down or some other cool shortcut back to an old area, so you can re-use your last saving Bonfire instead of hunting for a new one. The Surge also did this well, but we feel it went a little too far. A Walk In The Park, for example, is a huge area - but only has one Workshop save area in the entire thing. This means there has to be some real convoluted ways of getting back there, or worse - no shortcuts at all, so no chance of saving in a tough area. Can we just have a bit more map expansion and a bit less shortcutting please?
More Interesting Enemies
The Surge certainly had interesting enemies... but not enough of them. Far too often it would dip into straight humans or basic robots, nothing with flair or excitement. A Walk In The Park corrected this for the most part with its parade of terrifying mascots, but whenever "regular" enemies appeared the game was less exciting. Go all-in on the enemy designs. And don't be afraid to go totally ridiculous. Ridiculous is good!
Quick - what was the story of The Surge? Damned if I know. It wasn't so much that the storytelling was bad, it just wasn't particularly interesting. We never felt the desire to seek out lore like we'd do in Dark Souls or something like Bioshock, and beyond the opening cutscene with Warren in a wheelchair there wasn't much to engage us directly. If the rest of the game is great we're happy for The Surge 2 to not focus on storyline, but if you can - beef it up!
Make Upgrading Clearer and Less Complicated
The upgrade screens for The Surge are a cluttered mess, with no real explanation given for what any of it does or how it works. Upgrading weapons or armour is never obvious, and just forget about pumping Tech into that big energy meter. Multiple screens, different options, various resources... just make it all clearer please, and cut out at least 15% of the clutter.
Get Rid of the Timer for Dropped Tech
Much like Dark Souls, when you die in The Surge you leave behind all the main resource - in this case, Tech. Unlike Dark Souls, where the Souls you'd gathered would stay there until you die again, dropped Tech in The Surge has a timer. A very short timer, in fact, and once time's up it's gone forever. Sometimes we have actually been physically unable to get our Tech back in time because we died so far away from the save point. Just... do away with the Timer, please. It doesn't help anyone.
Co-Op, or some form of Multiplayer
A regularly overlooked, but vital, part of the Souls series is the ability to invade other player's games to help or attack them. Still, other than that there has never been a "real" multiplayer mode in a Souls game. Here's a chance for Deck13 and Focus to leap ahead. We'd love to see a (optional of course) co-op mode in the game and some sort of PvP Arena. It would add to the replay value, help struggling players to get through tougher areas, and give a reason to choose The Surge 2 over whatever From Software is cooking up.
Make The Drone More of a Companion Character
The little drone that follows you about, taking the occasional pot-shot at enemies amongst other abilities, he's really cute. Focus have mentioned "more drones" in The Surge 2, but what we'd like to see is the expansion of the drone into a proper character. He doesn't even have to talk - as long as it's the same drone all the time, maybe giving it a bit of personality, or the ability to customize it? It's make the game a lot less lonely.
Don't Be Afraid To Go a Different Direction to Dark Souls
Perhaps the most important point. Deck13 are certainly capable of this - just look at the combat system and its limb targeting. But we do worry that The Surge still ended up feeling like a sci-fi copy of Dark Souls, and a less good one, rather than a unique game. Feel free to go a different direction to From Software guys if it seems the right thing to do for The Surge 2. Co-op would be a good place to start... hint hint.
That's everything we'd like to see in The Surge 2! Is there anything you guys would like to see that we missed? Please let us know in the comments below!
The Surge 2 will be out in 2019. So we've got a while yet.