e3 2016

The Surge

The Surge Puts A Sci-Fi Spin On Souls-Style Action
by Jeff Cork on Jun 16, 2016 at 02:15 PM
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Deck13 Interactive
Release:
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The popularity of From Software's Souls series has spawned a handful of similar titles, including Deck 13's 2014 game Lords of the Fallen. For its upcoming game The Surge, the studio is taking elements like exploration and methodical combat and dropping them into a world that's far removed from swords, shields, and dark horror.

The Surge takes place in a near-future dystopia, in a world filled with machines and technology. You play as Warren, a man who has taken a job with the Creo corporation. He somehow gets knocked unconscious on his first day, and when he comes to, he realizes things have gone horribly wrong. Fortunately, that happened after he was outfitted with an exosuit and issued an axe-like tool.

In the demo, the world is bright, but still manages to communicate a sense of unease. The first co-worker he encounters is also equipped with an exosuit, but it's clear that something has gone wrong with him. Warren has to avoid the lurching man's attacks. According to Deck 13, attacks are focused more on horizontal and vertical swings, as opposed to light and heavy attacks that players may be accustomed to. Players can target enemies with a press of a button, which is standard stuff, but while locked on can also target specific body parts. We see this in action in a short battle against another armored foe. After dodge-rolling away from his attacks, Warren focuses his retaliation on his opponent's head. After weakening it sufficiently, he decapitates his victim with a powerful blow. Each successful attack fills an electric meter, and when it's filled Warren can unleash powerful finishing attacks. The meter depletes relatively quickly, which should encourage players to use it rather than attempt to hoard the attack for later.  

Warren moves through the facility, encountering malfunctioning drone-like disassembly bots, which announce "You have been scheduled for disassembly" before swooping down with blowtorches out. He also finds a blueprint for an electric staff, which he later crafts at a 3D printing station. The enemies are diverse in the demo, including a simian loader bot, which attacks with its powerful arms and a spinning tail, and workers in exosuits that are clearly designed for loading. The forklift-like blades on the ends of their arms are intimidating, but fortunately Warren is able to dodge them – impaling his enemy with a spear before splitting it in half at the waist. Even though the game doesn't have a dark-fantasy setting, there's plenty of gore and horror on display.

The demo ends with a boss battle against a security robot. The titanic bot somehow coaxes itself to life, even though it, too, is malfunctioning. In addition to a health meter, it has a threat-analysis bar on the screen. As Warren beats at the biped's legs, the threat meter fills. Its behavior changes, too, transitioning from defensive maneuvers and half-hearted swipes on the low end to missile strikes when it's filled. When maxed out, Warren can use those missiles to harm the bot itself – he runs toward the robot after the missiles are fired, and they home in on his position, even after he ducks beneath its legs. Stunned, Warren turns the machine into scrap. Hopefully, Warren will soon figure out exactly what went wrong.