The Surge tips and tricks
Before you start to play Deck13 Interactive’s The Surge, there’s one thing you need to know: this game is tough. Very tough. It’s a game very much in the vein of the Demon/Dark Souls titles, although the better comparison is Deck13’s own Lords of the Fallen. It’s all about the combat and becoming more powerful through upgrades, which means it’s all about the risk. That’s where this The Surge tips and tricks guide comes in.
The Surge is a simple enough game to understand. You wear an exo-suit, you fight techno-zombies, and you earn the equivalent of XP (called techno scraps) that you can spend on upgrades that make you stronger – and you’ll need it because you will die. You will die a lot.
The game gives you very little in terms of guidance either beyond a few tips you’ll see displayed on walls in the game. You are thrown into the deep end the minute you start playing, and things just get tougher as you go. The tradeoff to all of this is that the gameplay and the combat are fine-tuned to near perfection, and surviving an onslaught of enemies through a combination of well-timed dodges, blocks, and counterattacks is as empowering as anything in gaming.
With that in mind, we have a few The Surge tips and tricks to help you get started.
Combat – Attacking
The Surge is built around the core mechanics, namely the combat. This isn’t the type of game where button mashing will be enough to beat your enemies, you need to practice a little finesse, control, and timing. You’ll have to be able to dodge incoming attacks and strike the right spot at the right time, otherwise, you’ll be in deep trouble.
To begin with, the game features two attacks – vertical and horizontal. It’s easy to confuse these with light and heavy attacks, but they deal the same damage. The horizontal strike is better for multiple enemies, but otherwise, it’s really just about where you want to hit the enemy. You’ll need to understand how enemies guard and where you want to land an attack.
Combos are a big part of the game, and each weapon has its own combos. You’ll need to practice what weapon does what, but a good guide is simply to look at where your character is after one stroke and follow it up with a move that would continue your momentum if the character were real. In other words, if you lunge forward and are off balance with your weapon touching the ground, trying a vertical swing from there will take more time than simply pivoting and slashing horizontally.
Once you have your target locked, you can cycle through the areas on an enemy. If it is yellow, it means that area is armored, blue means it is undefended and weaker.
When you have an enemy down to about one-fifth health, if you still have at least half of your stamina you will be able to pull off a finisher move. Just look for the icon and hold down the corresponding button to initiate. If you were targeting an armored area prior to the finisher move, you’ll have a chance of the finisher severing that body part, leaving it for you to collect.
Be careful when you pull off a finisher while surrounded by enemies. It’s rare, but you can still be wounded by other enemies while the animation takes over. It’s also worth noting that while you are charging the finisher, you can’t kill an enemy – meaning you can continue to hit it without affecting the finisher.
- Different weapons produce different combos – test them out.
Combat – Defending
During combat, you have two options when it comes to defense: blocking and dodging.
The blocking is almost useless when it comes to stopping damage. If you block an attack you will still lose health – less than you would otherwise, but it’s still going to cost you. The only advantage to blocking is that if you time it exactly right, you can stagger an enemy and launch a counterattack. Given that it will still hurt, your best option is still to dodge.
Dodging is your best friend in The Surge. You’ll need to dodge enemy attacks, projectiles, and anything that will hurt you. Practice your dodging – you’ll need it often.
While you are targeting an enemy, you can also dash toward them using the circle/B button. Against bosses and enemies with range, dashing in, hitting them once or twice, then dodging backward out of their range is going to be a vital tactic.
- Your armor will determine your defense, but it will always be better not to get hit.
- If you are knocked down, start dodging the moment you are on your feet – the enemies will try to take advantage of your momentary weakness.
In one of the more disturbing and graphic game intros, you’ll quickly be introduced to the exo-rig, an upgradable exo-suit that augments you enough that you have a chance against the hordes of enemies standing between you and freedom.
Upgrading your exo-rig is a major part of The Surge, and it’s something you shouldn’t skimp on. There are multiple ways to do this, which in turn unlock multiple styles. There is no wrong way to play, so experiment with different load outs to determine what works best for you.
The first thing you’ll want to do is collect enough techno scrap to unlock the implant slots. Although it will take a little while, ideally you’ll want to hit at least core power level 25 before you take on the first boss, although if you want to significantly improve your chances you should aim for level 45 to unlock eight implant slots.
While you will find plenty of items and earn a lot of techno scrap in the first area of the game, it’s not until the second and third that you’ll see exactly what your exo-rig is capable of. Through the first area you’ll basically just equip whatever is more powerful and looks cooler, but the further you get, the more you’ll see how different equipment can change the game.
To upgrade your suit, you’ll need to find schematics. To earn a schematic you’ll need to take them off an enemy. To do so, target the area on the enemy you hope to get the schematic from (it needs to show up as yellow to denote that it is armored), wear them down, then use a finishing move. The drop rate is random, but if you keep using finishing moves you’ll find plenty of schematics along the way. Once you have a schematic, you’ll still need to continue the defeat enemies to earn the components you need to build the schematic, so don’t shy away from a fight.
Once you have a schematic, you’ll then need to head to a MedBay and build it, then equip them. Each new piece of armor you can equip can also be upgraded, although you’ll need to earn a lot of scrap to do so. You may want to switch out armor parts later, so choose wisely when upgrading.
Different armor sets offer different bonuses. Some protect you from hazardous materials, some help with health. You’ll want a full complement of as many armor pieces as you can find, and you’ll need to switch them out at the MedBays.
- Before facing the first boss you should try to have a complete exo-rig, meaning one piece on each slot.
- When you come across dark areas you’ll need a flashlight component to your rig, or you can equip a weapon that lights up.
- Hazardous materials will stop your progress unless you have the right armor equipped.
- If you have to focus on upgrading just one type of armor early on, focus on armor that increases defense. Everything else can be done later.
- Early on you’ll come across control panels that offer the ability to “overcharge.” To do this, your core level will need to be at least as high as the number assigned to the overcharge station. If it is, accept the overcharge and go and look for another console nearby that can accept the charge. That will then unlock doors, turn on lights, etc.
The bosses in The Surge are not for the faint of heart or those with slow reflexes. They are challenging and there’s a good chance you’ll need to take them on several times before you beat them. So be prepared.
The boss sections are easy to identify. There is a gate that you have to hold a button down to enter, so you won’t just fall backward and find yourself facing off against a boss. The bosses are also the final challenge for most areas.
Before you enter a boss area, you may want to run back to the nearest MedBay and bank your scrap. That will also give you an opportunity to upgrade, switch out implants, etc. The downside is that you’ll need to run or fight your way through the same enemies you beat to get there, but depending on your current haul it may be worth it.
Once you are ready for a boss fight, enter the area and familiarize yourself with your surroundings – including the giant mechanized boss you’ll be battling.
As soon as it sees you, the fight will begin so be ready. Lock on and begin dodging to get a sense of how it moves. Some will jump, some will lunge, but if you are prepared you can generally get out of the way and stay out of its reach. When you begin to attack is when the trouble starts.
Every boss in The Surge has a weak point, and they typically force you to break through at least one layer of protection before it is exposed, which in turn makes it more dangerous. In other words, once you wound a boss enough expect it to change its strategy and introduce new attacks.
Start by locking onto the enemy and see where you can hit, but be ready to change to another spot quickly. Patience is key here, and if you run in hoping to score several blows in a row in an effort to end the fight as fast as possible, you will almost certainly die. Boss fights in The Surge require hit-and-run tactics. Move in (the dash is useful here), get in a hit (two at most), then dodge back out. Rinse and repeat until your enemy’s tactics change.
Some of the bosses also feature a secondary bar under their health, which is filled by the damage you inflict. Once that bar is filled, expect an attack and look for ways to use it to your advantage. For example, the game’s first boss will fire off several missiles when the bar is full. When this happens, run under it and let the missiles strike the boss, exposing its vulnerable areas.
- Defeating the boss is the final challenge for each area. Once it is defeated, you can move on or you can stay and earn some tech scrap, defeating regular enemies – just make sure you return to a MedBay and bank your scrap first.
- Before you start a boss fight, have a general idea where the MedBay is. If you die, you’ll want to know the best route back.
- If you are having trouble, sacrifice a life; make sure you aren’t losing any tech scrap, then face off against the boss and simply run around to learn its patterns. Try a few attacks and see what helps and doesn’t, then die and try again in earnest.
- There are always shortcuts that will help you get to the boss from the MedBay quickly but you’ll need to unlock them first, and you’ll still have to beat/avoid at least some enemies.
The implants are a huge part of the game, although you may not realize how big their impact is until you are a little ways in. Once you have a full complement equipped, you’ll wonder how you managed before. To unlock implant slots, you’ll need to upgrade your core power level. Once you do, they will automatically become available. Just jump into your menu and assign whatever you want.
Implants are augments that allow you to add modifiers to your exo-rig. You’ll find several implants along the way, each offering a different benefit. You’ll also come across multiple types of the same implant, which is a good thing since they are stackable.
Implants are also what determine your health and stamina. While defense is determined by the armor you equip, you’ll need corresponding implants to improve health and stamina – it is the only way to increase your health. If you want to increase your health significantly, you’ll need to equip several health modifiers.
Ultimately your implant setup is down to you and should reflect your playstyle, but there are a few things to consider. For instance, you can remove health injections and add something else, but you probably won’t want to.
- Implants can offer passive or active abilities. Ideally, you should use both.
- Implants will be found lying around, often in hidden areas. When you first begin, you can run through the first area and dodge enemies, looking for implants. It’s probably going to be counterproductive, but it can be done.
Risk vs Reward
The Surge is all about accepting risk. You’ll need to do a fair amount of grinding throughout, so it’s important to know where you are at all times in relation to the MedBay. Dying means you’ll drop whatever metal scrap you were holding, forcing you to fight your way back to that same point and collect your previous belongings or let them go.
The question you’ll face again and again when you respawn is whether or not it’s worth the risk of going after your earlier haul. There’s no easy answer to this, but if you find yourself losing points again and again, or you find that you need to level up a bit to take on enemies, start grinding.
Start from the MedBay and kill nearby enemies. Go a little further out, then a little further still. Keep an eye on your health, and when you are almost dead and out of health injections, head back to the MedBay.
How much time you want to spend doing this is up to you, but if you are having trouble early on try reaching at least level 25 before you take on the first boss. That will give you access to six of the eight implants. If you really want to get a jump on the enemies in the second area you should aim for level 45, which will unlock eight implant slots.
- If you are in trouble against a standard enemy or enemies, run away. Most have a cutoff point where they will stop following you.
- When you are chasing down your dropped loot you have a timer telling you how long until it disappears for good; killing enemies adds more time.
- In the bottom right corner of the screen, you’ll see an experience modifier, which increases as you defeat more enemies and earns you more tech scrap. It resets when you die or use a MedBay. You’ll need to factor this in if your goal is to grind and level up.
- The first area is good for earning enough tech scrap to power your suit into the 30-50 range, but it will take time and you won’t earn much else. Head to the second area if you’re looking to grind early on.
Throughout The Surge you’ll receive several different types of weapons, each of which has their own playstyle and pros and cons. Ultimately, it will just come down to your preference and style.
There are two classifications of weapons each with multiple categories. They are: Handheld weapons (including one-handed, staff, and heavy-duty) and Rigged weapons (single-rigged and twin-rigged). The more you use one specific type of weapon, the more you increase your proficiency in that category, making your attacks more powerful while wielding a weapon in that category.
To increase your proficiency, you need to defeat enemies, and the fastest way to do this is to aim for the blue/weak areas on an opponent (assuming there is one). Kill them quickly and move on. When you first try out a new category of weapon, take a few minutes to try to get at least a few levels under it. Just keep an eye on the gauge in the lower left of the screen and track its progress.
Regardless of which weapon you choose or what your proficiency is, there are three things to consider: its attack power, how much stamina it uses to swing, and how fast it can swing. Of the three, the stamina may be the most vital as that determines how many times you can swing without a break (in other words how strong a combo you can offer).
Don’t be roped in by the attack power alone. It’s important, but a weapon that has an attack power of 25, for instance, that can swing 2-3 times as fast as a weapon with 50 attack will be equal, even better.
- While still in the first area of the game, it’s worth taking a few laps and gaining at least a few ranks in each weapon while it’s still relatively easy.
- Weapons can be upgraded similarly to armor pieces, with each upgrade increasing its stats. For some weapons, it’s worth upgrading before you even use them given their ratings.
General The Surge tips and tricks
- You can customize the controls however you like through the options screen.
- You’ll receive a drone in the second area, but it takes a while until it is powerful enough to do any real damage to enemies – until then you can still use it to lure enemies toward you.
- As you play you’ll earn wreckage that goes into your inventory, which is easy to miss. When you are in the MedBay, cash in the wreckage for tech scraps.
- The length of the game is tough to define given that it is a game based on combat and grinding. Expect 30-40 hours.