I’m not sure anyone needed The Surge, but I’m certainly glad we got it. Games that are heavily influenced by another may be dubbed as clones upon announcement, but as Minecraft created a genre, so did Dark Souls; leading to the inspiration of games like The Surge, Dead Cells, and Nioh. All of which are characterized by leashed monsters that pace an area until they charge in your direction, and combat techniques that need to be memorized and dealt with in a particular way to be defeated. Initially thought to fall into a particular niche, Dark Souls’ reach has expanded exponentially, and rather than being viewed as the source material for a batch of clones, should be looked upon as a grandfather for the next generation of the genre’s offspring. The Surge is the next step in that genealogy.
The Surge implements a new take on these combat techniques without making it too complicated: with its horizontal and virtual attacks, a dodge and block mechanic, everything else is left up to skill. I’d be lying if I said that simplicity made the game easy – it doesn’t – but that observation doesn’t mean much coming from me. I was unable to get past the tutorial in the first Dark Souls, and I haven’t been able to play more than half an hour (combined time) in the genre since. But that doesn’t leave me unable to appreciate the beauty that Deck 13 has created.
How do you feel about creators, across all industries, shamelessly and unabashedly showing where their inspiration has come from? What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you see a game that has clearly borrowed game mechanics from a better-known franchise? And does that initial opinion change based on the ultimate quality of the title? Comment below and let me know, I genuinely want to know what you guys think.
This is an introduction to a multiple part series.*