Underneath my yellow skin

Feeling meh about The Surge 2

Let’s talk more about The Surge 2. I haven’t played much this week because while I enjoy* the game as I’m playing, I don’t have a burning desire to play it when I’m not. In fact, I oftentimes don’t have the wherewithal to play it, so I choose to play a game that doesn’t tax me as much. I love Souls games, obviously, but I have to be up for playing one. Funnily enough, I’ve reached the point with actual Souls** games where they are comforting gaming to me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have trouble in places. It just means that I know them well enough to turn my brain off as I play, especially if I play as a pyro or a strength-caster. Dark Souls III is my ultimate comfort game, and I have been thinking of playing it again instead of finishing The Surge 2. I’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s talk some more about Delver.

Delver is the nano beast underground who has three health bars. I have accepted, barely, two health bars, but I don’t like it. Yes, I understand that it adds excitement and tension, but it also feels cheap much of the time. I know it’s a staple of the FromSoft games, and they had one of the best ones in Sekiro (The Guardian Ape) ever, but I think it’s something that should be used sparingly. Having three phases?*** No. Now that I’ve said that, though, two of the three-phase boss fights have been amazing, and they were both in the DLC for DS III. Please note, however, that that meant fighting them near the end of the game. Yes, you can do the DLC earlier, but it’s not recommended.

Delver is halfway in the main game, and he is not optional. Come to think of it, I don’t know if there is an optional boss in this game. One of them I’ve fight *might* be optional, but I’m not clear on that. The rest, however, are not. Having a three-phase boss halfway through the main game sucked all the air out of me at that moment. I had no desire to spend hours battling this guy, so I Googled how to fight him. I stumbled upon a reddit thread (or a Steam thread. I don’t remember which) from a guy who said he had spent five hours fighting Delver and still hadn’t beaten him. Five hours! That’s how much I spent on several FromSoft bosses!  I was not willing to put in that much effort for this boss.

I’ve said before, but part of the reason I’m having more reluctance playing this game than the original is because it’s markedly better. The first game was a hot mess, and I pretty much accepted that. I played it without any expectations, and as a result, I had a good time with it. This game, however, I had expectations from the start. I expected it to be better than the first game, and it was–markedly. The environments are better; the graphics are better; the NPCs are more interesting; and the weapons are better.  Almost everything is better (though there is still a healthy amount of jank), and the bosses in general are…not sure better is the word, but harder is definitely fair to say. And more interesting.

You might be scratching your head in puzzlement because if everything is better, why wouldn’t I be more eager to play the game? Because I keep thinking, “I could be playing Dark Souls“, that’s why. As good as this game is, and it’s a solid game, it’s not Souls. The closer it gets to Souls, the more I want to be playing Souls. The more it’s not Souls, the more irritated I get. It’s the uncanny valley thing–you’re too close to the real thing for comfort.

Back to Delver. I posted a video above of how you’re supposed to fight him. In all the videos on him (as with Little Johnny before him), the focus is on parrying and blocking. I don’t do either, and it was disheartening to see multiple videos advocating for parrying. I know it’s a staple of these games, but I suck at it. I have always sucked at it. I will probably always suck at  it. That’s just a fact of my life. I will say that I need to use blocking more because I forgot that was a thing. Parrying, however, is not going to happen. In this game, you have to directional-parry, which is even more complicated than regular parrying. With the bosses, you have to land three  parries in a row to stagger them, and I have not been able to pull that off once. I tried to parry Delver in his first form a few times, but it didn’t work. Circling around him and smacking that ass worked a charm, but the second form wrecked me time and time again.

I read a post from someone who asked if you could beat The Surge 2 without parrying, and there were plenty of affirmatives. One person in describing how they beat Delver said they used a mix of URBN gear and…Liquidator gear, I think. I looked at the URBN gear (DLC gear for pre-ordering I think?), and it was better than the Nightfall gear. I crafted an URBN set, grinded so I could get it all up to level 5, leveled up my character a few more times, added an implant that gave me battery energy when I got hit, and went in to face Delver again. I figured it’d take me a few tries to get the second stage, but that energy charge for being hit is a game changer, yo. I made it through the second phase, and I was resigned to being killed in the third phase (though it’s known to be the easiest). Much to my surprise, I knocked him out in one with my new build.

This implant is a game changer for someone as bad at the game as I am. Seriously. I get energy for getting hit, which I can convert into heals. It’s the cycle that keeps on giving! It only costs 2 units of energy, which is nothing. It’s very OP, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s meant to be that powerful. I think the balance in the game is off if beefing up that much and using one small implant can make such a difference, but it could be that I was seriously under-leveled before. In fact, I know I was because of the GAIA Statues, but I didn’t have that much difficulty with the regular enemies, so it’s hard to gauge. In fact, that is one of my issues with this game–the difficulty of different enemies/bosses is so varying. It feels like an imbalance to me, but I would have to do a closer study.

In the section after Delver, I have not died once. In fact, I’m finding it fairly easy so far. Which makes me think I could have done it earlier. In fact, it’s accessible earlier in the game, but I didn’t do it because I was put off by the robot dogs who were also above my level. Apart from them, however (and they were one of my most-hated enemies in the first game), I haven’t had a problem with the rest of the enemies. In fact, thinking about it, I probably was supposed to do this area before Gideon’s Rock, which is why it’s such a breeze now. There is a side quest in this area that warns me that if I progress too far into the area without finding the materials needed for the side quest, the side quest can be shut off to me. I am paranoid about missing the thing because there are so many twists and turns, and even though the environments are different from each other, within each area, many of the paths look the same. I revisited earlier places, and I found a whole mini-area I hadn’t seen before. It’s funny because in Souls games, I’m delighted when this happens. In this game, I become impatient. In the former, I feel as if it’s my fault I missed something. In this game, I feel as if it’s the fault of the game.

I’ll probably keep plugging on, but I have no burning desire to keep playing The Surge 2. Maybe I’ll fire up DS III instead.




*Enjoy is not the right word for how I play these kinds of games, but it’ll do in a pinch.

**Specifically Souls. Not BB and certainly not Sekiro.

***Let’s not even talk about four phases. Ahem. ::looking at you, Sekiro::

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