The Surge 2

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
The Surge 2 Game Poster Image
Sci-fi sequel improves on original but still falls short.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players are trapped within the walls of a quarantined city where society has collapsed. Players occasionally help others, but by and large are just fighting to survive and figure out what has caused the current state of chaos.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players occasionally run into characters that will offer to lend them a hand, and players also try to settle into the role of a hero by helping in return. But all of this is simply an excuse to fight and kill to progress the story, and most characters still have their own agendas in play. 

Ease of Play

The controls take a lot of getting used to, so your character will feel awkward and slow, particularly in the early stages. Many weapons take time to wind up for a swing and targeting specific limbs doesn't really feel like it matters outside of the finishing blow. Finally, in-game tutorials often feel inadequate or incomplete, with too much left for players to sort out on their own.

Violence

The game is brutal in its violence, with players hacking off enemies' limbs, slicing them in half, and even standing on their shoulders and ripping enemies' heads from their bodies. People can also be burned alive, electrocuted, etc. Defeated enemies quickly vanish from the screen and leave items behind for the player.

Sex
Language

There's a fair amount of strong profanity throughout the game's dialogue, including "s--t" and "f--k." Players can also leave simple graffiti messages that can pop up in other players' games as warnings, clues, etc. While it's not designed to be offensive, there's always the possibility that some user might find ways to get "creative" with the system.

Consumerism

Sequel to 2017's The Surge.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are a few references to drug use, such as characters "tripping" while high, and a fictional drug called Blue Sparkle is found in bags and syringes throughout parts of the game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Surge 2 is a sci-fi themed action role-playing game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. The game is a sequel to 2017's The Surge, with players taking on the role of a new protagonist after a new "surge" event releases another nanite infestation. The game's a brutally violent action game, with players dismembering enemies in order to take their equipment and weapons. Executions show this sequence in slow motion scenes in all its gory detail, though with surprisingly little blood. The game also makes frequent use of profanity in its dialogue, as well as references to various illicit drug use.

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What's it about?

You begin your journey in the sci-fi world of THE SURGE 2 as a passenger on a jet bound for a new life in Jericho City. That's until your plane is knocked out of the sky by a powerful anomaly, a massive electrical surge unleashed by a nanite plague on the city. Waking up from a coma two months later, you learn you're supposedly the only survivor from the crash. Making matters worse, the entire city has been quarantined, sealed off from the outside world. Strange mechanical creatures run rampant through the streets, and society within the walls has collapsed into chaos. To survive, you'll need to equip yourself with a mechanical exoskeleton, upgrading it along the way with parts you salvage from fighting for your life against bloodthirsty criminals, haywire robots, and other twisted creatures created by the nanite plague. But there's more than just survival on your mind. Something about your experience on that plane holds the key to this outbreak. Something that lies just beyond the veil of this world. Can you uncover this secret? And if so, will it lead to the next stage of humanity's evolution … or its annihilation?

Is it any good?

This action sequel tries to improve on the shortcomings of the original game, expanding the action and world to draw in fans, but still manages to fall short overall. The world of The Surge 2 feels more open, with side streets and alleys branching out for players to explore. The game also introduces a new drone mechanism, giving players the benefit of an extra flying sidekick to add to their arsenals. While The Surge 2 is definitely an improvement, it's still got more than a few short circuits of its own that keep it from living up to its full potential.

Right from the start, the game's visuals are painfully rough. Textures don't always mesh up quite right, lending to strange sights like character hair that only appears in patches. And depending on the game settings, players have to choose between a smoother framerate with sorely blurred visuals or sharp images but movement that's barely a step above a stop-motion movie. The game's also frustrating because it feels like the instructions are incomplete. After opening up the first two drones for use, players are only provided instructions on the use of one. This happens often, where weapons or abilities are only explained half-heartedly, if at all, leaving players to sort it out for themselves through trial and error … and lots of death. Finally, the combat control generally feel slow and sluggish, but with real weight to them. There's an odd realism in the effort it takes to swing a massive makeshift blade, though that realism disappears when you somehow cut someone in half with the steel nozzle of a flamethrower. All said, while the world feels larger and better fleshed out, the overall experience of The Surge 2 just barely sparks interest in its play.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Surge 2 affected by the realism of the blood and gore from the attacks you commit? Is there a point when violence is less about the story and more about "shock value?"

  • What are some ways that advanced technology is being used to help augment the human condition? How can this technology be used to help create more advanced prosthetics, or to help people carry out seemingly impossible tasks?

Game details

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For kids who love action

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