When The Surge first released, it seemed to be a polarizing game. You were either someone that enjoyed it or hated it. I fell into the former category. I fell in love with the concept of a sci-fi Dark Souls. The combat is easy to get used to and being able to select what body parts you can attack so you can chop them off is a great feature. It feels nice and on PC I found it easier and more precise to pull off. While the combat is something I enjoyed, The Surge does come with its own set of flaws. These include the 2-minute timer to recover your lost tech scrap after a death, enemies that use staffs are generally a bitch to deal with, some odd physic interactions, and a general feeling that I needed to prioritize health over stamina.
The newest DLC: The Good, The Bad, and the Augmented doesn’t do anything different in those regards, but it’s still a blast to play. There are several locations in the game that you can access the DLC that are scattered throughout the first few zones. I had a save towards the end of the game that I used for the review so this is only a guess, but I feel as though you are meant to play through this DLC as you go through the game. Stopping by when you see a door and knocking out a chapter or two. Upon completing a chapter in the DLC, you receive a basic reward for a mod and a fair amount of tech scrap as well. I managed to get a level off every time starting at level 56 so I thought that wasn’t too bad.
The DLC has an interesting story behind it. Basically, and you find this out via the first couple of audio logs you unlock, there is a scientist named Rischboters that works for CREO who loved this western themed show called “Frontier Riders”. He was so obsessed with the show he started to base his life around it. After it was canceled and things go to shit at CREO, he is so furious that he makes an elaborate “studio” to replicate episodes from the show. Each chapter of this new DLC is a season from the show and Rishboters is the narrator.
There are a variety of modifiers that you can choose to use for your character, and you unlock these through progress in the DLC or by doing certain challenges like leaving a level early or killing less than 10 enemies in a chapter. There are a number of various challenges, some major, some minor, such as the first one that you get where you cannot use healing items, but whenever you take a certain amount of damage chunks of cheese fly out of your character and you only have a limited amount of time to pick the cheese up off the ground to restore health. Unfortunately, they can also fly out and over railings falling out of the level, but the boss room has plenty of cheese to restore your health to full and then some, so it really isn’t that big of an issue. There is another modifier that turns off all normal audio replacing it with old rag-time music and places a black and white silent film filter on the screen. I enjoyed it and used it quite a bit. So long as you are aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on the enemies it does nothing except give a slight increase in tech scrap awarded like all modifiers do.
Those are both fairly easy to deal with but there are harder modifiers. One almost acts as a tutorial where it increases the damage you do by a large amount for each perfectly timed hit in a combo but makes you deal single digit damage if you fail. So you can demolish a boss in a few swings if you know how to time it, or you can be there tickling him. I found it helpful as the game really does not punish you for a miss-timed click of the attack button and that sort of forced me to learn combo timing.
The last mod I am going to talk about is one I dreaded, and partly because I do so much damage it is hard to perform the requirements. There is a mod that strips your armor for the level and in order to get some you have to chop off parts of the enemy and the armor will automatically equip. The weapon I was using is nearly maxed out so most enemies die before I get a body part to the point where it can be chopped off so that was a bit difficult to pull off, to the point that I honestly gave up on it.
Now besides giving a bonus to tech scrap earned and a fresh way to play the game, each modifier gives you a special reward. This can be either armor or a weapon, and you can have up to four of those modifiers active at one time. There are four categories for modifiers and you can only have one modifier per category active. For example you cannot have two modifiers from the health category active at the same time. When selecting the second one in the same category the other will automatically turn off. Other than possibly making something easier there is no real reason to play with the same mod twice as it will reward you with the same item you received before.
The weapons you can acquire are basically re-skins of that weapon type with different stats. Though the staves did feel different to me, I never really played with those types of weapons very often. Each of the weapons has two flavors, a normal variant and a golden version that you unlock through different means. The armor looks nice and has decent stats as well, so if you wanted to be a sci-fi cowboy while kicking ass, this is your perfect chance.
The bosses at the end of each zone are also fun. Each episode has a few zones ending with a boss in a circular arena. The first few bosses have their own mechanics, like calling in a cavalry charge every so often, or a mass of clones that will attack you if you get close. If you pay attention they aren’t so bad to take down. Sadly some of the mechanics do get reused, but with how many bosses there are I can forgive them for that.
Other than the modifiers though, the DLC does not do much to improve upon the base game. The story does keep things interesting and the new zones, while reused a fair bit, are neat, and the enemy spawns do change so they keep things fresh. Each chapter will take about 30 minutes or less to complete if you decide to just run through once you unlock that zone’s shortcut. If you like The Surge then you will enjoy the gameplay from the DLC and it can at least help tide you over until The Surge 2 comes out. Considering everything the DLC has to offer on top of just being more added to a fun game, it is something I do recommend picking up. 5-6 hours for a normal playthrough on a DLC is not bad at all considering a lot of games are around 8-9 hours for an entire story campaign at $60. If you look at it that way, I think this DLC is a steal.
Needless to say, I hope to see you players on the next season of Frontier Riders. – TS
The Surge: The Good, The Bad & The Augmented is now available on PS4, Xbox One & Steam
Steam review code provided by Evolve PR