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The armor system is deeper this time around, since each armor set now offers both full and partial bonuses. These bonuses can shape your playstyle in a major way and you can freely mix and match them.
And let's not forget about implants. Most of them are passive and act as the bulk of your character customization. Thanks to them you can create a character who's good at blocking, one good at tanking hits, or one with a nearly infinite Energy supply. The choice is yours. Then, there are the active implants. You use them to activate various combat bonuses and heal your character.
When it comes to weapons, The Surge 2 features a few new weapon types (think spears and punching gloves), and each weapon now has a deeper attack pool. Unfortunately, it feels like all weapons within a group now have the exact same move set. At least this time around there's no weapon proficiency, so during my playthrough I liked to constantly switch weapons. This kept things fresh and enjoyable, but I would've much preferred it if the game had weapons with unique move sets that altered the flow of combat.
Overall, though, the combat system is solid and is a noticeable improvement over the first game.
When it comes to visuals, The Surge 2 somehow manages to look worse than its predecessor. Sure, everything is more detailed and the areas are larger and more open, but at the same time, it all looks too slick now. The game seems to have lost a bit of its bulky industrial charm.
The game also has some performance issues. I had to tinker with the options menu to find an acceptable combination of settings, but even then, one of the areas, the grassy park one, still regularly dropped my frames below what I consider comfortable. At least the game didn't take too long to load.
Despite its spotty performance, the game was mostly stable and didn't crash on me once. At the same time, I did encounter some minor bugs, mostly related to side quests. I failed one quest and then was reminded of this fact every time I entered a new area, and another one I completed and got my reward, but the quest then duplicated itself and kept sitting in my quest log. The game also froze every time I tried to quit it.
Finally, it's important to note that the game features some limited multiplayer capabilities. You won't get to team up with or fight other players, but you can leave pictogram-based messages on the ground, warning others about upcoming ambushes and secrets. You can also use a certain drone module to leave a holographic image of yourself in a hard to reach spot. The less people find it within an hour, the more Tech Scrap you get. It may sound simple, but I had a lot of fun with this game of hide and seek during my playthrough.
Another multiplayer feature are the so-called Revenge Enemies. When another player gets killed by a particular enemy, that enemy becomes stronger in your game and if you kill it, you get bonus loot.
All in all, The Surge 2 is the perfect sequel. It's bigger and better than its predecessor in pretty much every respect. Some technical issues bring it down a bit, but I'm confident Deck13 will deal with these issues in a timely fashion.
With no real multiplayer and a lacking move set variety, the game doesn't have the longevity of something like Dark Souls, but if you're not looking for a game to sink a thousand hours into, then as far as I'm concerned The Surge 2 is the best Dark Souls-style game currently on the market and the only Dark Souls-style game that tries to push the genre forward.
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