Parents' Guide to

The Surge

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Unbalanced, violent sci-fi action ultimately disappoints.

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This action game's problems surface early and often, so you have to decide whether you want to try to tolerate them or move to something different. To be clear, The Surge isn't merely a bad game; it's just a confusing and unrewarding one. After the tutorial and intro areas, the game continues to spike wildly in difficulty. There's no map, and each area's general mission is to kill all enemies, flip all switches, see what that opens, and repeat until you reach a boss fight. As a result, you can wind up feeling completely lost and under the impression you've done everything there is to do. Since there also isn't a way to quickly move from area to area, you'll be left in the dark the farther you go, as the only way to go back is to literally run through the whole world to do it.

The Surge is intending to pay homage to other, recent, popular games such as Dark Souls, which is apparent in its interesting though shallow approach to combat and leveling. Rather than give you a weak and strong attack, you have a horizontal and vertical strike. You target different limbs on different enemies and can switch those up on the fly, trying to find their weak spot. But moving around while attacking never quite comes together enough to feel intentional and precise -- even if you're adept, it will feel sloppy. Boss fights, similarly, feel more unfair than a challenge: They can kill you in one hit, and even in a faster armor class, you'll get done in. The Surge plays with a lot of ideas, but unfortunately they don't quite come together.

Game Details

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