For better or worse, Dark Souls imitators have come on thick and fierce in the wake of that franchise’s rampant success, with a level of quality that could charitably be described as “uneven.” And while The Surge wears its influence unapologetically on its sleeve, it manages what so many other Souls clones have failed to accomplish: feeling more “inspired by” than “cribbed from”.
The dystopian science fiction setting helps a lot, and the world of The Surge feels whole and intelligently crafted. But it’s not just a Souls game in sci-fi clothing. A future setting lets the developers play with some interesting mechanics, like cybernetic upgrades or hacking off robotic limbs that you can then integrate into the protagonist’s own suit of power armor. The Surge is a game that wisely cherry picks some of its inspiration’s best features but never feels beholden to some of its clumsier bits, and builds its own identity on a proven foundation.