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From the beginning you are thrown straight into an 'escape room' style game where everyone is against you. You are in a Prison that has been blown to pieces with the majority of prisoners killed or escaped into madness. Security drones shoot at anyone that moves and to begin with you are the 'anyone' they have set their sights on. Dying is easy and is in itself a way to map out the route you need to take, for when you die you return to the beginning and everything is the same - all the droids are back in place, the wild prisoners are back alive, in fact the only things that are different is that you are back to full health and anything you had collected has been dropped at the site of your death; you have a set amount of time, shown by a timer top left, to get back to the deathzone and collect it, but of course the thing or things that killed you are still there so you need to grab your stuff before initiating the fight again.

Throughout the Prison complex there are Healing Stations which unfortunately are one-shot only so you need to use judgement on when to use them. You can take 3 maybe 4 hits before dying, your lifeline drops very quickly so deciding when to break for the Healing is critical. My experiences have led me to feel that once I get below half life I should be Healing up to full even if there are no enemies currently in sight. Running to a Healing Station mid-fight is possible and should be considered if you are one hit away from death, but remember that as you Heal you will be hit so almost half of the healing will be lost immediately. This really is a game for nimble fingered game controller users who are also quick to see what is coming and know how to react with haste. Sadly I am so poor at reacting that I had to keep dying, as previously mentioned, to map my way through.

As the sequel to The Surge (which I also thoroughly enjoyed but died in more often than I could count) this is a superbly animated action based game developed by Deck13 Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive. At times it is often like playing a movie with the scenes and characters being so lifelike. Other times it is like an MMO style RPG where the Artificial Intelligence is the Games Master controlling the opposing forces and events and leaving you to battle and endure them. There is definitely no letting up on the action so forget about going for a coffee or to the Restroom once you begin, only death or success earns you a break.

Along the way you can search and rob the bodies of the dead and the remains of the droids, gathering resources and equipment such as better weaponry, combat armour, up-dated tech etc. You also gain experience and 'level up' so that you gain the skills necessary to progress. As I said previously, I am not particularly great at all action-reaction games, but that doesn't mean I cannot enjoy them. True I do get a little fed up when I keep dying and having to start again, especially as you always have to play through it all again, at least until you reach a checkpoint and then you can continue from there after each death. Death is too easy, it may be more realistic not to be able to take several blows or shots but seeing as so many come from off screen, until you know to expect them you are always going to go into combat injured, one or two hits away from death.

You have the opportunity at times to choose your direction and affect the world around you, but in general whichever way you go there are enemies awaiting, this is, after all, an action based game. The action mainly concerns combat and you have some powerful weaponry at hand right from the beginning. You swing your fists and can destroy a robot droid with 2-3 hits but you do have to aim your punches/weapon it is not automatic aim. Adversaries move away or surround you, they rarely stand still to let you hit them. If you are against more than one enemy always totally destroy/kill the one you begin fighting, don't try to take them all on at once. Therefore you have to hit, move, dodge, block, hit again and wash, rinse repeat. Leaving an opponent alone when they fall and then going after another will only see that enemy get up and join in the fight again, they do not back off or run away when injured as they do in some online games. Fighting is always to the end. If you die and find your way back to your dropped loot remember that the enemies there will also be back to full health and any Healing Station used will be available again.

In The SURGE you play a predetermined character and although you don't start in a Prison the basics are very similar to The SURGE 2. In this latest game you go through a brief section of character creation. Not as long a process as in some games but better and more specific than in many others. It gives you the feeling of being more under control and more likely to have some rapport with your character, any MMO or Role-playing gamer will tell you what it feels like to control your own avatar rather than one that has just been thrust onto you.

An enjoyable, no-nonsense, combat game, with a few unique actions that it is best for you to discover rather than have me tell you - it's more fun to discover as you go.

You do not need to have played The SURGE first.



© Chris Baylis 2011-2021