The Surge – The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented DLC Review (PS4)

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The Surge: The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented

 

Hours of exciting playable content … thrilling showdowns with brand new enemies … an interesting story that enriches the narrative of the base game – this latest DLC for The Surge has none of that. And what The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented does offer is pointless, repetitive, and even broken in some places.

Essentially, The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented is a challenge mode for The Surge. But not a very good one. You can access the new area (named the ‘Peril Chamber’) from multiple locations throughout the base game, so in this way the Peril Chamber acts as a kind of fast travel hub – which is useful. Here you’ll find all of the usual utilities – medbay, gear assembly station, but there’s also a terminal for you to access nine different Wild West-themed ‘episodes’. The premise here is that a man named ‘The Supervisor’ – who talks to you over the intercom – is looking for a new Marshal to help rid the land of bad guys (teaser trailer here). So he’s putting you through these challenges to see if you’re up to the task. (Yawn-fest, am I right?)

Reach for the sky!

The Good (ish) …

The episodes consist of trudging your way over a railway tracks, frontier towns, graveyards and the like. Just like The Surge, these environments can be a bit convoluted to navigate through, but there are some highlights. For example, keeping a pressure pad weighed down to open a gate while fighting off enemies requires some thought and skill (barely). In another area, you have to keep out of direct contact with sunlight by hiding behind rocks, otherwise you’ll take burn damage. After going through all of that, there’s a boss you have to dispatch at the end of each episode. These bosses are all humanoid, so nothing new or special, but the final arena where you fight them changes. Sometimes you’ll have rockets firing at you, sometimes lasers will criss-cross your path. But eventually you’ll prevail, and there’s some loot waiting for you when you finish.

All aboard! Destination: a boring DLC

You can also apply modifiers to these episodes for added difficulty – make enemies invisible (apart from their weapons), start with no armor, have fire traps throughout the level, and so on. These can be somewhat fun, and do add some replayability to the episodes. Play with these modifiers activated and you’ll earn more scrap, more loot and more deaths. Initially I found the episodes challenging, especially the final bosses. But around episode three I realized that I’d messed around with my implant set-up the last time I played The Surge. So when I’d rebuilt my set-up (which included regaining 60% of my health every time I performed a finishing move), the DLC became a little easy. Boring, even. Maybe others’ experience with difficulty will be different – as I was also equipped with fully upgraded end-game armor and weapons – but I feel The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented could have some something more intuitive to make it feel challenging.

If I sounded bored in this review up until this point, it’s because I was. This DLC could send an insomniac to sleep. I dislike ‘challenge mode’ DLCs at the best of times, but it’s like The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented actively went out of its way to make sure it was as unoriginal as possible. Now, this next bit is what I really wanted to talk about …

The Bad …

I feel like I’ve been overly diplomatic with my words before now. Aside from the pre-existing flaws The Surge has (i.e. every attack takes one thousand years to execute, enemies hit like a rocket-powered freight train, and targeting between different enemies and their limbs is like trying to control a hyperactive ferret in a hurricane), my first real red flag with The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented came in episode four: the areas in each episode were starting to repeat themselves. Sure, the order of areas would change, but they were essentially identical. Say for example episode two had a graveyard section and a railway track section. You then might find each of those exact sections used again in later episodes. I felt cheated. Plus, the enemies you encounter are all just ripped from the main game. That’s right. Not a single new enemy. And The Surge only had about 7 different enemy types to begin with, so to make us pay for “new” content and then simply dress up old enemies with either new weapons or new armors, it’s an absolute con. And yes, there are new weapons and armors, but they’re even more abhorent.

Like I already mentioned, I was fully decked out in my preferred gear after playing through The Surge (including some of the game’s rarest items), all upgraded as high as they could go. So I didn’t really find there was much point to using the new equipment. One, because they didn’t offer better damage or protection than what I was currently using (even after upgrading), and two, they were bloody ugly. Like properly offensive to the eyes, and didn’t really fit in with my idea of the aesthetic of The Surge. I know that last point is totally subjective, but I just can’t get over how little I wanted to use the new gear.

Especially the weapons. Don’t expect them to have any unique traits; what ever you find is basically just another staff, another two-handed weapon, another heavy weapon … and so on. This isn’t dissimilar to how weapons are handled in the main game. The five weapon classes have their own moveset, but each weapon within that class has near enough the exact same moveset. So introducing “new” weapons in this DLC was totally pointless. I just kept thinking of The Frozen Wilds, the DLC for Horizon Zero Dawn. The new weapons in that DLC were actually unique and introduced a different strategy for taking down enemies.

One of three final bosses – good ol’ Lion-face

(To be fair, the new range of implants you can earn from these episodes are fairly useful. However, most of them are just turbo-charged versions of what already exists in the base game. A huge health boost, injectables that heal you massively, to name a few. Of the completely new implants, the most useful was an all-round stats boost to health, stamina and energy.)

At this point The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented struck me as a quick cash-grab for a little effort as possible. And where so little work was (probably) involved in making this DLC, I would have expected The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented to be a finished product and run without a hitch. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case …

The Downright Ugly …

When a game crashes once, I give it the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps something went wrong with the console/PC itself. But The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented didn’t just crash once. I kept count – it crashed EIGHT times. Maybe if this DLC offered 100 hours of new content, eight wouldn’t seem like a big number. But I’d finished all the episodes (and re-run most of them with modifiers for the extra loot) in a total of six hours. UNACCEPTABLE! And it would have definitely taken even less time without the crashes. The worst part about this is if you die in an episode, you lose all your loot and have to start again. And in episodes eight and nine (where things did start to get tricky again as they began to feature enemies from the final stages of the base game), having the game crash is about as unforgivable as things can get.

This was the worst offence of The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented. But there were a fair few rough edges too that all point towards sloppy development and non-existent QA testing. The buttons it tells you to press to navigate through the screen where you select the episode and modifiers are wrong. Apparently pressing X (on a PS4 controller) is supposed to reset all modifiers, which is doesn’t. And one of the modifier descriptions is wrong – start the episode without armor, and when you chop the limb off an enemy you will automatically equip the armor they were wearing. Which you don’t. This left me pretty much defenseless until I realized the piece of armor goes in to your inventory, so you have to equip it manually.

The episode select screen – get ready to play the same levels 143 times!

It sounds like I’m being nit-picky here, but if you can’t even get a User Interface right, what hope is there for the rest of the DLC? And I haven’t even listed everything. Now I don’t know if this DLC is going to have a Day 1 patch to fix these issues when it’s properly released, but I can only assume if Deck13 were willing for The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented to be reviewed in its current state, then in their eyes the DLC is a finished product. Which is shocking to me, in all honestly. Please, reader, don’t waste your money on this bland, boring, bug-riddled DLC. Only the most hardcore (and perhaps the most forgiving) of The Surge fans will find any enjoyment here.

You’ll find our full review of The Surge here.