The Surge 2: The Kraken Review – They released the Kraken!

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The Surge 2: The Kraken DLC aims to provide players with a new zone, new enemy types, new gear, and equipment to enjoy, but our biggest question yet: Is it a big enough package at its $11.99 USD price point? Let’s find out!


Pros:
+Offers roughly 2-3 hours of content that is extremely well-balanced and offers a reasonable challenge
+The new gear and equipment delivers on the promise of standing out from the rest
+Delivers a narrative experience that shows a wider look at the effect of The Surge
+Choices actually matter

Cons:
-Difficulty scaling may be a bit much for some as the difficulty itself is all over the place
-Enemies can be excruciatingly overwhelming
-Performance issues remain and absolutely take away from the experience


When it comes to The Surge 2, I’ve got a special place for it in my heart. Well, maybe not my heart, but my gaming library and my top games of all time to play. Deck13 has somehow continued to win me over time and time again, which to some, might be a bit of a surprise with how much flak I gave the game in its earlier stages as stated in our review of The Surge 2.

Now, you might be wondering: Why two separate reviews? Well, it’s because of review score aggregation sites, but not just that, but because The Kraken is its own little slice of the bigger pie that deserves a bit of talking about what we couldn’t do in our massive review of the base game itself. There’s a good reason why too: Spoilers my dear friends.

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The Kraken opens up an entirely new area half-way through the game

When it comes to DLC’s, The Surge 2: The Kraken is no exception to how long it will be around, what kind of content to expect or if it’s going to be a moderately hard experience for newcomers and veterans alike. But there are a few things I want to discuss here: Deck13 knows how to do DLC and make some amazing set pieces, but, what they aren’t good at doing is making it last more than a couple of hours altogether or make it feel as if it actually matters.

The Kraken itself will require players to hid the midway point in the campaign itself, hitting a point of no return and then hoofing it across Jericho City once again, which will ultimately lead them to the V.B.S. Krakow, which let me tell you, is actually harder than it sounds as the difficulty in the base game takes a massive jump at this very point in time.

Once upon the V.B.S. Krakow, you’ll find that humanity had found a home on the ship they once called home, one where an A.I. named CAIN had begun taking over, having gained sentience and sent its horde out across the Krakow, killing any human on board.

Sounds familiar, right? Well, it should, this isn’t the first time The Surge has done this. We saw it come in the form of challenges in The Good, The Bad, and the Augmented.

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The Surge 2: The Kraken DLC offers a lot of challenges which can be overwhelmingly hard

When it comes to DLC, I’ve always looked at games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne in what I hope to expect; things like detail, a bit of story, challenge, and quite a bit of duration. Unfortunately, The Kraken only delivers on 2 of those very aspects, which are the prior two.

The Surge 2: The Kraken is a very shortlived experience, but for some, it might be longer due to the difficulty spikes that randomly appear throughout its duration. You’ll find moments where you have to fend off wave after wave of enemies, having little time to recover, catch your breath, and prepare for the next round to start.

There are even a few moments of respite among the chaos. Unfortunately, for you, they aren’t. The ship is swarming with CAIN’s forces and for you to even get through them, you need their weapons, the armor they will provide you, and the ability to learn every single one of their tactics before they begin to rapidly take you out.

Unfortunately, one of the bosses is only an enhanced version of a few enemies you’ve fought before, adding in a heavy-hitting heavy attack that will take you out almost instantly if an attack is landed. Top it off with the fact it can summon in drones to help it and you can quickly get overwhelmed, except, you’ve already done this in a slightly different form. It just doesn’t click until after the encounter is completed.

Other enemies are brutal and can one-to-two hit you if you aren’t careful. Even the environment is something to watch out for as, well, in the story it is being turned against those who inhabit the Krakow as explained by a single NPC you’ll be working with as you dispatch each of CAIN’s A.I. pals.

If you’re already seeing who the last boss is, just know your choices matter, which will ultimately make your final decision top off the overall experience.

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There is a story, but it’s slightly uninspired and for what it’s worth – your decisions matter

One of the things that this DLC does do right is a minor story that is cleverly-concealed through hidden audio logs, a few minor NPCs, and a few minor sidequests you can complete on your way to duke things out with CAIN. While it’s nothing near as memorable or as menacing as the promotional art, the story is well-written and CAIN comes off as a truly menacing enemy that you’ll face down against throughout your entire time on the V.B.S. Krakow.

The story is mostly a run here, kill that, hack this, and hope CAIN doesn’t find you. Anyone else getting some major Robocop vibes off this as well? The DLC itself, however, only takes place in a handful of areas, two to be exact, a giant entertainment district and the housing district of the V.B.S. Krakow.

Sadly, as much as I had some major hopes for the DLC, I wasn’t given the long-standing experience that The Kraken seemed to promise or even foes that were as terrifying as the promotional art makes them out to be. I guess the gear was worth it to some extent, but not the performance issues that should have been fixed alongside the release of The Kraken just a short few weeks ago.

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The Conclusion

While The Surge 2 still suffers from its performance issues, Deck13 gives me a reason to hope that they are only testing waters to see what kind of content fans want in the future. The Surge 2: The Kraken feels as if it is one of those very tests, which for the sake of testing, I hope they give us more in the future, experiences that are memorable, fun, and ones we would love to tell our gaming pals about in the future.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot to try and take in with a half-baked DLC, which for what it’s worth to someone who loves a challenge, enjoyed because of the challenge. The gear itself has made tremendous improvements to my experience outside the DLC itself, forcing me to reconsider trying out a second playthrough at a later date, but the V.B.S. Krakow is only worth visiting the once, even for those hoping to really tear through its hull a few times over.

The Surge 2
Platforms: 
PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Version Reviewed: 
PlayStation 4
Developer: 
Deck13
Publisher: 
Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 
Available Now
Cost:
$11.99 (DLC only) | $74.99 (Premium Edition of The Surge 2)

For what it’s worth, had this game had online interactions, the V.B.S. Krakow would have been an amazing place to invade other players in, using it as a great place for some PvP elements.


Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


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About the Writer(s):

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable.  You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!

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