Dark Light
The Surge Xbox One Review

Let’s get this out of the way: I really, really like The Surge. If you want to stop reading now? Go ahead. I really, really like The Surge. You won’t keep reading and find me slagging it off, trashing it like I did Troll and I, that’s not going to happen, you’ll be happy to know, that after playing The Surge for hours on end I STILL go back to this one grinding away (oh yes, there’s glorious, glorious grinding), but I really like Tech Souls… I mean The Surge. I mean, that’s the worst I can TRULY say for this game isn’t it, it uses Dark Souls as its own template? Any game that chooses to do that, and manages to push out a damn fun game? I’m A-OK with that! Sure, it’s derivative, sure it’s unoriginal, sure it’s been done before. But how many goddamn COD games, how many horror games, how many stealth-based-games have we played that fall into that category, that get high ratings, yet don’t have an original bone in their body?

You know one of my favorite movies of the last decade? John Wick. There’s NOTHING original about John Wick. Not a damn thing. Yet it’s amazing. Absolutely amazing. Name something original about it and I’ll tell you a movie that’s done it. Yet John Wick did it all brilliantly too. That’s what The Surge is like, nothing original, but it uses its unoriginality to its absolute benefit and makes you finish each go with a goddamn smile and a hunger for the next time you play to get ‘just that bit further’.

I really, really, truly, like The Surge.


This game threw me. Years back, I started playing HALF LIFE, and the game started on a train. It was odd, it threw me too. The first game I remember starting in such a manner, it was something special. The Surge starts with a tiny bit of a shock, to be honest, you’re wheelchair bound. Some won’t care, it’s not a huge deal, but when you consider you’re faced with a complex at the start in this giant military like train station filled with stairs, there’s this sudden feeling of helplessness, like “I can’t go here, I can’t go there…” not because of bad game design, but because of your own sudden limitations. That was utterly fantastic and a brilliant way to introduce your character, on his way to receive medical treatment. The story is paper thin, believe me, there’s barely anything truly told to you, but this was quite interesting, a brave way to start it. When you find your way around, you eventually go rolling into a lab, then Elysium, I mean The Surge, begins.

After a rather harrowing introduction I wouldn’t dare spoil, it all begins. You wake up in a Factory, in the middle of what seems to be a giant desert area. Your heads been sliced open and implants placed in it, your body can now attach itself to a whole mechanical suit you can now build and upgrade along the way. You can pick up a variety of weaponry to utilise. Chainsaws, clubs, metal pylon clubs, lots and lots and lots of weaponry to beat the living hell out of the denizens of this giant factory wasteland. And beat the hell out of them you will. As you bash, beat, slice and dice your way through your seemingly linear level, you’ll confront minions, mini-bosses, large bosses and the like. You’ll open up new pathways leading back to your base of operations allowing you to upgrade your suit and weaponry, making your path far less linear as the enemies continually respawn allowing you to grind for scrap and parts if needed.

The scenery is interesting, claustrophobic and linear at first, yet as you progress along this warehouse area, more and more paths open up allowing you shortcuts back to your starting zone, creating a ‘web’ of pathways, with respawning enemies that creates a rather neat little hub system. I know I’ve waxed on about the gameplay, but I’m just that happy with it.


I could be wrong, but this sucker seems to run at such a smooth framerate on the Xbox One which legitimately surprised me given how nice the graphics are. I want to say it’s 60 fps, but likely I’m wrong, but it really does feel that smooth at times? They’re not amazing, but they’re pretty damn good for what the game is. Couple this with the fact it’s a SIX GIGABYTE GAME in a time where games seem to want to reach for forty or fifty gig? SIX GIGABYTE and the textures look really nice? How bizarre is that? The textures are neat, they’re not mind blowing, but this is where something like Troll and I and The Surge differentiate. Everything in The Surge is consistent. The look has a cohesive element to it, everything is consistent, the quality does not differ, it sets a certain ‘quality’ for itself, which albeit is fairly high visually for what it is and sticks to it. It won’t blow your eyes out, but it’s nice to look at. It’s got a cartoony sci-fi look that’s really appealing. The basic zombie-robots look cool, the kill moves are entertaining to look at, and the backgrounds are noticeably populated with debris and the factory setting is utterly convincing, not just a random bunch of set pieces strewn together randomly. This is one nice looking game. Well done Deck13. Well done.

The enemies designs are nice too. From zombie-like basic warriors to big industrial machines you have to fight, everything in this game screams “bodyhorror” or “industrial nightmare”, maybe it’s a drone shooting at you, maybe it’s a zombie like robot bearing down on you, maybe it’s a giant badass Metal Gear style enemy at the end of the first level with two giant swords looking like it wants to turn you into a shish kebab or a group of spindly metal spider like things in the next location that just whip your ass over and over and over until you throw your controller… *ahem*.

So yeah, this game is definitely in the Dark Souls lite category, but in a good way. It’s most definitely worth playing.


Smooth as goddamn butter honestly. Once you get into the combat, you’re going to be bouncing around, chopping, slamming, hitting, dodging, blocking and beating up the denizens of the factory to no end. I have had zero issues with this game control wise. Any time I’ve died, I’ve never felt ‘cheated’ by the combat like some games, I’ve known it was my fault I didn’t block. I can pick combat patterns with enemies (important in a game style like this) and I really am enjoying the style of combat this game offers. The Surge isn’t original, by any means, but what it does, it does well. Targeting has been done before, as has everything else it does, but this game brings all its different parts together so brilliantly, it brings it together like peanut butter and chocolate, like bacon and maple syrup (TRY IT!) and it works so well. The controls are just one more element of a game that *works*.

One of the things I loved about Dark Souls, was the simplicity of the combat. It wasn’t overly complex, yet it was satisfying enough to keep you engrossed the whole time. The simplicity loaned itself to a game that constantly threw enemies at you with barely a break, giving you that “I’m screwed” feel repeatedly. The Surge does that too, also throwing in individual targeting of limbs. With a simple click of the right stick, you can target individual enemies, then flick the stick to either individual arms, legs, body or head, targeting them. When you build up enough energy via normal or strong attacks, finish them off with a ‘kill move’ and hopefully that targeted area will ‘drop’, allowing you to pick it up. Via collecting this armoured area, you’ll eventually pick up enough, allowing you to return to your starting zone, and crafting a new piece of armour, or an upgrade, or something new to assist yourself in a rather straightforward but useful crafting/inventory management system that thankfully doesn’t hamper the game at all.

All in all, the controls are pretty damn good, the camera is a tiny bit frustrating at times, but the ability to target lock takes away a lot of that frustration in combat believe you me, so thank god for small favours huh? It’s not the worst camera by a long shot, but I can’t help but feel if the field of view was a tiny bit greater, the camera would’ve escalated from decent to great.


The sounds really good, honestly. I enjoyed the ‘clanging’ of metal upon metal, the groans, the explosions you get, everything. This will be the shortest paragraph as often, I honestly fail at describing sound unless it’s god awful, but the Surge again, uses sound effectively and well. It’s fine, nothing bad here.


The Surge is a premium price game, and I haven’t gotten to the end of it yet. But I have stowed around 25+ hours so far and I’m only on level 3. But that doesn’t worry me, as this is a Dark Souls style game and at this point I can tell you I’ll be playing for a while yet. This is the sort of game you go back to, even after you beat it, BECAUSE of the grind. It’s definitely worth the money, it’s worth it for the combat and the enemies. There’s a satisfying feeling each time you kill someone, there’s a satisfying feeling each time you progress that bit more and a real fist pump feeling each time you manage to kill a boss. The Surge nails that ‘one more go’ feel like Dark Souls does, that’s not me saying The Surge is as GOOD as the best of the Souls series mind you, that’s me saying if you like Dark Souls, if you like your beat em up games, or if you like a challenging game, you’re going to find A LOT to like here. There’s long term value to be had here.

Caveats: At the time of writing there were no micro transactions or season passes available for The Surge. I hope it stays this way, because as it stands, it’s a great product that could only be ruined by the addition of Micro transactions or overpriced Season passes. If they choose to add DLC later on such as extra whole levels with new enemies that expand the story, I’m cool with that, but please Deck13, if you do add DLC make it quality, you’ve started off something great here, continue it this way.


Call me biased, call me a plant, call me whatever I don’t care. I’ve had a blast with this game. I still find excuses to go play it instead of doing other important things, I just want to keep progressing in it. It’s got some weird hold over me where I just feel like I want to keep going, keep getting through it, to finish it and kill every denizen of the factory I can! You won’t go wrong picking this game up, I can assure you. At first, you’ll wonder what the deal is, until you cut your first bad guy in half, or slice his arm off, or club his head in. Or maybe your head will be blown off, or your face eaten. Then you’ll get it… I promise. The Surge is addictive, it’s great fun and a fantastic way to kill a few hours, so grab it, enjoy it and I promise you won’t regret it.


  • Very good controls.
  • Takes old, cliché ideas and makes them its own.
  • Fun combat!
  • Great ‘one more go’ feeling!
  • It’s goddamn hard!
  • Nice graphics style.
  • Very smooth framerate ( Is it 60fps? It might be 30? I’m sure it is 60???)
  • It’s a new IP and not a sequel!!!!!


  • Not enough hours in the goddamn day to play The Surge…
  • Steep learning curve. Not everything is explained as clearly as it could be, although most things are explained well.

Rent or Buy this game from GetGaming Now!

Similar posts plugin not found.
Comments are closed.