I’m sick. Or rather, I have a ‘bug’ that is sapping my energy and my will to do anything. I’ve had to cut down my morning routine to the bare basics, and I’ve been dozy all day long. I have not played The Surge 2 for the last two days because it takes a lot to play that game. However, before I got sick, I managed to finally find the first boss. I don’t know why it was so difficult for me to get to him, but probably because when I play this kind of game, I wring out absolutely every inch of content I can. I will go on every side path, and I will do every fetch quest, er, side quest.
An aside: There is a bug in the game that if you don’t get your reward from a certain NPC the first time she asks, you don’t get to open the magnetic lift next to her. It probably doesn’t matter in the long run other than it makes it hard to get to her, but it’s annoying.
Aside II: There is an area right outside the first Medical Bay (not in the prison) that you unlock, kinda, but that is walled off by some bad-ass motherfuckers. Supercops, if you will. You can go in there, but you probably don’t want to. It’s the same with another area. It has two supercops walling it off, but I picked them off and went behind them. To my disappointment, there wasn’t anything I could do yet there. I understand that they’re trying to organically wall off areas, but if you can get there, there should be something there waiting for you.
In the second walled-off area, I decided to take a peek behind the three supercops. I did a stealth thing down the side road and picked off all the enemies along the way. I stealthed into the plaza, then started running like hell because there were turrets and enemies and all kinds of bullshit.
Side Note to the Aside II: I really hate the turrets. Hate, hate, hate it. There is one enemy that has turrets and spider drones and rifle drones, and uses them all interchangeably. Yes, I have a turret drone and a rifle drone myself, but I don’t have unlimited ammo the way they do. Yes, Souls does the same thing with enemies having endless stamina/firebombs/whatever, so I know it’s not a novel idea, but it’s annoying and as frustrating as hell. Once again, I’d like to note that there is a really fine line between ‘difficult, but fair’ and ‘flat-out bullshit’. The Surge 2, unfortunately, crosses that line more than once.
Back to the Aside II: I managed to make it to the magnetic lift and whoosh up it (one of the best bits of the game), and then all hell broke loose. I died, and I ran back in just to get my tech scraps and run out again. I am very conservative when it comes to banking my scraps, which means I do a lot of backtracking. Anyway, I ran in again later when I wanted to try the area again, and the magnetic lift was sealed. I was freaked out. Why was it sealed? Later, I realized that I had breached the area (there was a warning alarm blaring as they spotted me), so they sealed the lift. If that’s the case (it’s only a theory), then I think it’s quite clever.
So. The boss. Since the game is fairly new, I’m affixing a spoiler warning if that’s your kind of thing.
The run up to the boss made me frustrated. Littering the boss run with difficult enemies when I’m already on the edge, ugh. At least they gave me a magnetic lift or I really would have raged. This boss, though. First, the positives. It was a man in a mech spider with three legs. That is different from anything in the first game, and it was visually interesting. Another positive thing is, well, nothing.
Look. I will give Deck13 Interactive credit. One of the biggest dings against the last game was that the bosses were forgettable and fairly easy. Except the last boss, but we don’t talk about that boss. They really upped their game if this first boss is the standard, and I have to give them big ups for that. However, this boss is shite. Why is it shite? Let me count the ways.
One, the lock-on is horrid for this boss. There are five places you need to attack, and locking onto any one of them is quite the struggle. Two, the camera does as it wants during the fight, which, as you can imagine, is not a good thing. Put the two things together, and you have a recipe for disaster. The spider flops around (or is it The Ring girl? I think there’s hair on the ‘head’ of the spider?) and stomps on you with its feet. Two of the batteries are on the main body, and there is one in each foot. The spider also has two pincers that you can hack off first if you want.
I’m making all this sound clinical, but in reality, I ran in and was immediately overwhelmed by what the fuck I was supposed to do. Part of that was because of the boss run, but it was mostly because I had not seen something like it before. I started hitting it with my spear (I think), and…nothing. I had no idea what I was doing, but it became obvious pretty quickly that I needed to do something more specific than just smacking it at random.
Side Note II: One thing I love about The Surge 2 is that you can equip your favorite weapons and scroll through them on the fly. I don’t remember this being a thing in the original game, and if it was, I certainly didn’t do it. Currently, I have three or four that I’m using, and it’s surprisingly fun. I say surprisingly because I usually wed myself to one weapon in these types of games. You can also do this with the drones and the implants (separately). It’s a lot to manage, but I’m making do.
Back to the boss. I died in quick succession to him three or four times before I looked him up. I wasn’t even getting a hit on him, and I verified that you had to hit certain points on the spider. I didn’t look up strats or anything like that, and I went back to plugging away. I forgot to mention that one of the attacks the boss has is to lift the spider hi and then vomit out many little spiders that shock and stun you (and take off a small chunk of health), and I hate this attack.
I started with trying to get rid of the pincers before going for the body batteries. The problem was that it took a long time to get rid of each pincer, and by the time I hit the body batteries, I had ran out of heals. I have three regular heals and three slowly regening heals, and you can get more by doing enough damage to charge your batteries and stocking up on the injectables.
This boss fight is long. I felt I was chipping away at it for so goddamn long. I got frustrated after several more attempts, and I looked up how to beat it. Number one–a long weapon. Check. I was using a staff and/or spear in my attempts. The biggest suggestion, though, was parrying the pincer attacks.
Devs. Can we talk? I’m An Old. My reflexes are not good at all. In addition, I have a terrible sense of spatial recognition (as in none at all). I don’t parry. Not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t! Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve practiced on the Silver Knights of Anor Londo (and while I can pretty consistently parry them, it doesn’t carry out to other enemies), and I’ve tried it in every other FromSoft/Souls-like game. I don’t care how easy it’s supposed to be (which, to be fair, is usually not very easy); I fucking can’t do it.
I was desperate, though. I put in the implant that shows you the direction you need to parry, and I went to practice on the scrubs. I got to the point where I could parry maybe 50% of the time, but only against the slower attacks. The fast attacks? No way. Still. I gave it a go with the boss, and I could not land a single parry. Or rather, I could land one, but you need three in a row in order to stun him so you can do massive damage. I could do the first one, but I whiffed on the following two. I tried several times, and I failed miserably. I gave a solid hour to trying to parry (both the common enemies and the boss), and then I gave up. I was going to have to do it my way–the hard way.
Side Note 3: I have an idea tossing around in the back of my head for streaming Souls-like games. “Can I beat this Souls-like game without parrying?” Or more specifically, “Can I beat this boss without parrying?” Of course, I’d have to come up with a catchier name, but it might strike a chord with people! Alternate title: “Watch this scrub beat this Souls-like game the hard way!” I have beaten all the FromSoft games* without consistently parrying, and I’ve beaten more than one Souls-like in the same way. It’s become a point of pride by now, really.
Back to the boss. I stopped trying to get rid of the pincers and just attacked the body batteries. I got that part down, but the foot batteries…for whatever reason, the lock-on did not want to lock on to the feet, so I wasted more than one attempt dying as I tried to lock on to the feet. I had to do something radical–I left the lock-on off until I was actually attacking the foot, and then I quick flicked it on. Whether it would stay on or not was another question as it flipped on its back and thrashed its legs around.
I still was taking too much damage in the first phase of the fight, and I decided to switch up my weapons a bit. I used the staff I had (nano damage) for the first bit, but then switched to my twin-rigged (also nano damage) for the foot bit. I love the staff and the spear, but it doesn’t charge the battery as fast as the rapid hits from the twin-rigged. It’s not like me to switch weapons mid-fight, but I felt the two phases called for two different weapons.
Did I beat this boss? I’ll let you know in the next post since this is going long again. See you next week!
*Usually disclaimer: Not Demon’s Souls because I haven’t played it, but the five that have followed.