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The Surge 2 release date, multiplayer, story and gameplay

Developed by Deck13, The Surge was a clever blend of dystopian science fiction, survival horror, and Souls-like gameplay. It was also a surprise hit when it was released in 2017. Reviews were mostly positive, with praise leveled at its atmosphere and character progression mechanics, but with some criticisms in terms of its thin storyline and lack of plot resolution. 

Still, the game connected with players and, as confirmed by the game's creators in an interview with VGChartz, sold well enough that a DLC was greenlit shortly after the base game's release. Not only that, but a sequel is on its way that promises to expand the mythology and grueling combat mechanics that made the first game so intriguing.

With The Surge 2 looming on the horizon like a rogue security robot, let's take a look at what we can expect from the new installment in the series, including the latest trailers and gameplay information. Here's everything you need to know about The Surge 2.

The Surge 2's release date and pre-order bonuses

The Surge 2 will be available in digital and physical formats on Sept. 24, 2019. Pre-orders are available now, with some really fun goodies for fans who jump on the Surge 2 train early. Pre-orders will come with a DLC called The Urbn Gear Pack, which includes some exclusive weapons and some awesome neon-colored armor. The DLC also includes a drone that matches your armor's sweet style and a Lootscan.exe Radar Module, which presumably helps players scan the surrounding area for hidden scraps and upgrades. 

There is also a Limited Edition available for pre-orders, which contains The Urbn Gear Pack and more physical goodies, including an exclusive lenticular cover, three lithographs that depict settings from The Surge 2, an eight-page comic book called Out of the Ashes that will presumably set up the events of the game, and a double poster that includes a map of the game. It should be noted that The Urbn Gear Pack will be available for separate purchase at some point in the future, but for folks who can't wait, pre-orders will give them a leg up against the dangers of Jericho City.

The trailer for The Surge 2

E3 2019 brought gamers a tantalizing cinematic trailer for The Surge 2, which gives us an idea of how things have progressed since the explosive ending of the first game. We see our protagonist wandering the streets of Jericho City, a metropolis that seems devoid of all hope. The city's denizens are slumped against the walls of dirty back alleys, and everyone seems ready to fight or die at any moment.

Following a young girl into a town square, the protagonist sees a group of cyborgs praying at an altar. A wild melee battle breaks out, with our hero nearly getting beat down before a drone arrives to fire upon his enemies. We get to see some of the advanced weaponry these bad guys are packing, including some kind of energy cannon. After bisecting his last enemy, our protagonist sees the young girl again, who tells him, "It's not over." At that moment, a massive robot leaps down and the battle continues. Right off the bat, this gives us a feel for the tone of the game, which seems more action-oriented than its predecessor, but also just as unsettling and cerebral.

The Surge story so far

The Surge dropped players into the role of a man named Warren, a paraplegic far in the future. Earth is overpopulated and dying a slow death. Warren is fitted with a mechanical bodysuit — an exorig — that will allow him to join the workforce and regain the use of his legs. After being painfully grafted into his new exorig, Warren wakes to find that his fellow workers have gone insane and the automated systems in the compound have gone berserk, killing everyone they come in contact with. As Warren fights for survival, upgrading his rig with parts from his fallen enemies, he uncovers a conspiracy that would wipe out 95% of all life on Earth.

There are two different endings for The Surge, with the differences explored through dialogue. One ending sees the evil plan go through. The more hopeful but still rather dark ending sees Warren saving the planet and the military resolving to investigate the events of the game. Warren, however, is left stranded without a working exorig, painfully dragging himself toward his wheelchair before the screen cuts to black.

The Surge 2 lets you build a better survivor

One of the strongest aspects of The Surge was the character progression. By grinding through enemies and severing their various body parts (yes, it's as cool as it sounds), Warren could salvage scrap and attachments from fallen enemies and upgrade his exorig with stronger weapons and advanced durability. Not only that, but the different upgrades also allowed Warren to get into new areas and backtrack through previously inaccessible caches in his quest for scrap. In Polygon's review of the first game, they commended these mechanics: "The Surge's gear and crafting system smartly wraps into and builds directly on exploration and combat."

The Surge 2 will continue this limb-hacking action with new kinds of abilities. As noted by Variety, "Chest armor could carry cloaking devices you can scavenge. Legs can have side arms you can attach to a little drone buddy that can shoot firearms for you." These new abilities and weapons should definitely give players an edge while sneaking around the monster-infested walls of Jericho City. It also shows that The Surge 2 aims to deliver a game (and protagonist) that is bigger and badder than its predecessor.

Deeper character customization than in the first Surge

Despite the subtle worldbuilding sprinkled throughout The Surge, we didn't get to know all that much about our lead character in the first game; he seemed as clueless about the specifics of the dangers facing him as we were. The character creator options in The Surge 2 look to curb some of that, giving us different character classes: Mining Wars Veteran, Search and Rescue Officer, CREO-certified Heavy Operator, CREO-certified Field Technician, Former Arms Smuggler, and Corporate Middle Manager. 

Each one of these classes has its own backstory to work with, giving different stakes to your character's situation. You will also be allowed to manage and alter some of the other classic bits of character creation, including different hairstyles, ages, and skin tones. While Warren wasn't exactly a slouch as a lead character (after all, the whole point of the game is for him to be something of a blank slate for you to upgrade), it's exciting to see that The Surge 2 is giving players more options, embracing more of the RPG aspects of the first game.

The Surge 2 welcomes you to Jericho City

In contrast to the cramped factories and scrapyards of the first game, The Surge 2 will be dropping players into the dangerous streets of Jericho City. This new locale will feature desolate city streets overrun with insane cyborgs, as well as "artificially designed forests" where monsters can be lurking around every tree. These variations will be a welcome change for folks who enjoyed The Surge but longed for a more expansive visual experience.

Not only that, but the map of The Surge 2 looks to diverge from the more linear layouts of the first game. The roads and back alleys of Jericho City will feature multiple branching pathways and secret areas that will rewards curious explorers with more tech scrap, as well as hidden audio logs that will expand the lore of the game. In The Surge, the audio logs scattered throughout the game were invaluable for understanding the horrific events that transpired before the game's story. 

Slice and dice with revamped combat

With The Surge's combat system, dismemberment was the name of the game. Targeting and hacking off the cybernetic limbs (or noggins) of your enemies is the only way to steal their armaments and get a leg up in the world (sometimes literally). While slicing and upgrading is still the focus of the combat in The Surge 2, as seen in the new gameplay trailer, this sequel has polished some aspects of the gameplay.

"It still follows pretty closely to the spirit of the original, but with everything streamlined to provide a smoother and somewhat easier experience," said Player.One in their hands-on demo of an early build of the game. Of particular note is a new directional blocking mechanic, which allows players to block enemy blows by holding the block button and moving the joystick in the direction of your enemy's attack. If you time it just right, you can stagger your opponent, leaving them open to a deadly strike. It's encouraging to see that the combat hasn't been so much redone as it has been improved and elaborated on, keeping what worked in the first game and making it even better for the sequel.

You're not alone in The Surge 2

Rather than allowing players to team up against the various monsters in Jericho City, The Surge 2 will have an interesting approach to multiplayer. One of these mechanics involves leaving graffiti behind for other players, which Player.One notes is similar to the message mechanics in the Souls series. Players can leave markings on the walls and back alleys of Jericho City that can serve as hints or even jokes for other players, guiding them to hidden loot or warning them of upcoming dangers. 

Another neat way of uniting players comes in the form of an upgrade called the W-102 Banner module. This one allows you to hide a holographic version of your character somewhere in the overworked map. Anyone who finds it will be rewarded with tech scrap, which is invaluable when trying to upgrade your weapons and armor. On the other hand, if you successfully hide your hologram from prying eyes, you'll be rewarded with extra scrap for being so sneaky. This sounds like a fun hide-and-seek mechanic that should distract from the oppressive horror of the rest of the game, but is also thrilling in the potential for rewards.

The Surge 2 has smarter enemies and better weapons

In an interview with Wccftech, The Surge 2 director Jan Klose described some of the changes that will make this sequel bigger and badder than the first entry. Unlike the enemies of the first game, who were mostly mindless brutes and pre-programmed security bots, the baddies of The Surge 2 are more advanced and forward-thinking. Klose explained, "The enemies are much more clever and agile ... They can overcome obstacles, and use stuff like ladders and elevators ... they can also communicate with one another, so everything will feel more alive." This is certainly a step up from the wandering feral cyborgs of The Surge.

The villains aren't the only ones getting an upgrade, though. Players will have access to twice as many weapon classes in the new game, as well as a drone companion that can be upgraded with ranged weapons and various other modules. Maybe most exciting is that all of this can be found or purchased with in-game currency — no microtransactions are planned. In other words, The Surge 2 doesn't expect you to pay real life money to upgrade your character's gear. You'll have to scavenge through Jericho City like everyone else. 

The 'Dark' inspiration for The Surge 2

Developers Deck13 have always been very upfront about their influences, particularly taking inspiration from the Dark Souls and Demon's Souls games. Before The Surge, their highest profile release was the fantasy game Lords of the Fallen. While that game received decent reviews, many critics couldn't help but note its obvious similarities to the Souls franchise, with GamesRadar's review stating, "Taken on its own this is a sophisticated fantasy RPG executed with consideration and thought, but Lords of the Fallen never really escapes the spectre of Souls, and it can only blame itself."

Deck13 seemingly took these criticisms to heart, infusing The Surge with its own gloomy sci-fi aesthetics to set it apart from the games it was inspired by. In an interview with VGChartz, Deck13 PR and Marketing Manager Michael Hoss said, "Even with Lords we already tried to separate a bit from the Souls series with our own ideas but, well, you know, maybe we did not risk enough. With The Surge we did." With The Surge 2 looking to take even more risks, Deck13 must be commended for openly embracing their influences and adding onto them in interesting ways.

The Surge 2 is looking really good

While the previews are certainly exciting, we've all seen impressive trailers that led to underwhelming final products. Luckily, the responses from news outlets that have been able to test the game for themselves have been positive, with the general consensus being that The Surge 2 is a step up from its predecessor. 

After playing a one-hour demo of The Surge 2Newsweek's Mo Mizuch said, "Unlike other Souls-like games ... this latest effort from Deck13 includes a much more tangible sense of progression." Mizuch further commended the game for making the necessary grinding not feel like a chore: "I didn't feel good at the game, but I felt like I was getting better. And that's enough to keep me playing for a long, long time."

Meanwhile, Trusted Reviews praised the game's combat gameplay, which they described as "fast, almost dizzyingly so" and "a daring yet thrilling exercise in finesse." They also pointed out that gorehounds will find a lot to love in the new game's over the top violence and finishing moves. Basically, The Surge 2 looks to be a bigger, better, and scarier version of everything that worked in the original.