The Surge 2 is a third-person action game along the lines of Dark Souls. While many difficult titles are compared to Dark Souls nowadays, The Surge 2 features "fog walls" before bosses, picking up "scrap" to level up, and other mechanics that are pulled straight out of the cult classic franchise.
We absolutely loved the base game for its open-world design and fluid gameplay on Xbox One X, and couldn't wait to experience the latest downloadable content (DLC) called "The Kraken." The Kraken can't be considered an expansion due to its short length, but adds an extremely powerful weapon and an easy way to level up that makes the whole experience worth it in my opinion.
Bottom line: The Surge 2: Kraken is a good addition to the base game because it adds an easy way to level up.
- Terrifying creature design
- More role-playing mechanics
- Adds easy way to level up
- Unexpected new area
- Convoluted plot
- Slight performance issues
- Underwhelming final boss
- Plot points left unresolved
The Surge 2: Kraken environments and plot
The Kraken takes place on a derelict ship, but it's not what you would think. Instead of going down dank corridors, the ship is home to a suburban community with a lot of secrets. It looks like an average American town. You'll have to save the surviving residents from a new threat, but they aren't who they seem.
Unfortunately, a lot of plot points are left unresolved by the time you fight the final boss. It's also unclear what impact the final choice has on the game. One thing's for certain, you won't be playing The Kraken DLC for its story. Luckily, the machine drops an incredibly fast and incredibly powerful weapon that can help you in other parts of the game.
The Kraken features a couple of side quests that prolong the experience, but they aren't meaningful by any stretch of the imagination. I think one even involves getting hot dogs. However, another grants you access to an endless arena where you're rewarded with a lot of scrap and other materials. Just by completing a few rounds, I was able to gather almost 400,000 scrap and level up to 117.
The Surge 2: Kraken performance and visuals
Even though The Kraken takes place in a visually-lush neighborhood for the most part, the game still doesn't look as good as its predecessor. The issue seems to be related to its lighting. On "Performance" mode, the frame rate appears usually stays at 60 frames per second (FPS), but I did encounter some dips which made it go to around 30 FPS. Luckily, these are few and far between.
Gameplay is where The Surge 2 really shines. While it's not as groundbreaking as titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it's incredibly responsive. If you're playing on a console, you'll want to engage the Performance option. "Quality" mode is quite clunky-feeling at 30 FPS. Dodging attacks is a breeze, and attacking enemies makes you feel powerful.
The Surge 2: Kraken final thoughts
Overall, The Kraken is a good DLC and a much-needed addition to The Surge 2. When I played it all those months ago, I found leveling up to be quite cumbersome when you reached around 60. This fixes that problem, but costs money. I think the "Proto" side quest that adds the endless waves of enemies should've been free to all players.
If you're looking for a reason to get back into The Surge 2, The Kraken is a good one. The base game has a lot of replayability because of "New Game +" mode that adds even more powerful weapons and challenges. The two put together offer a compelling experience because you can become truly unstoppable with the help of The Kraken's side quest.
Dive back in
There's a lot to love about the DLC
The Surge 2 is a Dark Souls-like experience where you battle ferocious mechanical beasts in a post-apocalyptic city where everything wants you dead.
Play the original
It'll last you a couple of months
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This review was conducted on an Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.
Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.