The Surge 2

One of my favorite games from last year was the The Surge, a strong sci-fi RPG with souls-like combat. The developer Deck 13’s pedigree included amazing Playstation exclusive Lords of the Fallen, which was lorded as Dark Soul’s light, so I had to get my hands on it. You can read my review of the stellar game right here. Now Deck 13 is back for round two, with an all new city, and some improvements to already great combat system.I got to see about 30 minutes of game play footage straight from the developer themselves this year at E3. These are my early impressions.

The new female character model, and dual weapons in action. These two guys are the new stealth enemy, that glowing chest piece lets them turn invisible.

The dev’s start off with a quick overview of where we are and whats going on. In The Surge 2 we are playing in a New city called Jericho. A city under quarantine, besieged on all sides and walled in. The developers spend a few minutes talking about how this new environment let them build big open spaces, and have lots of fun with an urban tile set. We see tall buildings, and an open park that the developer tells us is all artificial, and hides some interesting secrets. In the middle of this walled city there is a central storm, thats causing causing creatures to rise up and we of course are going have to well put them down.

We get a short overview of some of the new features a sort of crash course in what we can expect in the sequel. There will be over 10 weapon types, one of which is called a double duty weapon. This weapon has a surprise, it can do heavy weapon swings and also fast attacks. This opens up more play and combat styles than there were in the last game. Personally I never had much style in The Surge, I spent most of my time hacking at things with a giant chain sword, so I was pretty surprised when during the demo The giant axe we were using literally split apart and became two weapons.

Next up in the demo we get to see our first bit of combat next, its similar to the Surge 1, the primary mechanic involves targeting individual parts of an enemy, hitting them, and then cutting them off. The developers are quick to tell us that though this demo seems linear, there will be more searching and exploring in the Surge 2, more areas crafted especially for that reason, and that exploration will be rewarded with loot.

This big boy is a miniboss, he has a big laser in his face

Next up we get to see a new type of enemy, the hunter enemy has a stealth ability as well as some kind of ranged weapon. Hes formidable, and it takes strategy to take him down. We get a quick view of a new consumable system, its got a few items in it, one of which we use to see enemies through walls. The developers explain to us that consumables will play a big role in the full game  new consumable system, things that will et you see enemies through walls, etc. There will be consumables to use in combat, that you can throw at enemies, and of course there will be some for health, and temporary boosts to stats. We don’t get to see much of the system but im sure further trailers will show much more.

The combat drone is back, now it has more parts, more weapons and more uses. The combat against the stealth enemies does not go well with a frontal attack, so we use the drone to distract them, then hit them in the back. After a few light attacks we land a heavy attack on the enemies arm, removing it. Just like the first game, one of teh coolest new things the developers tells us is the new blocking system.  Blocking is now directional so you can parry in 4 directions. If you read an attack and and parry correctly, an opening will be created for you to get a few quick whacks in. This is a system that we have seen in plenty of other games, and I suspect it will make the difficult combat from the last game a little easier.

The Surge 2 will take place in an Urban environment, something that the developers were eager to talk about.

Our demo ends when we see a large boss, one of the last games trademarks. We don’t get to fight the boss, but we do get to see it and its huge. Next we talk about the games new character creation system, you can build your character however you want, male female, tall, fat, thing, etc. Our previous protagonist Warren is out, but the developers hint that he may have a role to play yet in the game.

As the demo ends, our developers promise us this game will have more advanced AI, and that fighting groups of enemies will result in each enemy trying a different behavior. One will for example use ranged and another will do close combat, trying to tie you up while his comrade plinks away at your health. Its a massive improvement over the last games systems, and hopefully it will result in more fun combat.  Overall I am looking forward to playing the second installment of this game, and I hope its as good as the first.

GreedFall – first look

Greed fall is a strange game, its a game made by a company called Spider a small studio of just 14 people who have been working on GreedFall for 4 years. Greedfall is an original IP takes places in 17th century fantasy universe, includes character customization, faces and gender included.

We seem to be in a medieval style of world, and we are playing s a character who is we hope going to be getting in to at least something in the next 10 minutes. The developer tells us that we are in a new land fighting off a strange mystical disease, and we need to find a cute for it. Everyone wants to find a cute for the disease. There are three factions in the game, and you can play them off of each other, while also finding out what is happening with the disease. It seems to be an RPG with some elements of medieval armed combat in it.

Next they show us fast travel, and an open world, its a beautiful game the textures and filters for the light are amazing. Finally we get to see some combat, first there is bear combat is  RPG like, we have the ability set traps, use some magic, and use the axe that we have. mobs have no scaling, so you’ll know if your in the wrong place at the wrong time. The game featured two different magic systems, the one from the old world based on dark and light, and the new one based on nature.Im eager to see how these two interact, and if using one or the other will corrupt you, or if using one will prevent the use of another. The developers didn’t talk much about that side at all, so we will have to wait and see.

The game features an open world. and during our demo we got to see the character running from one area to another, we also saw some wildlife and collecting. Collecting the developers tell us, in the world will be necessary for crafting. We dont actually get to see any crafting but the dev’s tell us that its going to be there. Next we move on to talking about skills. There are more than 100 skills in the games skill tree, its quite huge, you can do crafting, firearms, magic, and hand to hand. Combat includes many types of melee weapons, as well as magic, guns, and thrown items. The game also has a day night cycle. more than 40 weapons, as well as a ton of magic spells. Nearly endless combinations. If you have ever seen the skill tree from Path of Exile, you will know exactly what were talking about.

The developer also tells us that there will be 5 total companions in game. Each of which will be from different factions, and you can have up to two at at time. Companions will be able to fight independently, or you can control their actions and decide what they do and when. Having a different faction’s follower will allow for dialog that you may not have had before, as well as more or less faction rep for doing mission. Its an interesting system, and I am eager to find out more.

Call of Cthulhu –

Call of Cthulu is HP lovecrafts most famous novel, and of course a pen and paper RPG that many people love.  Developer Cyanide Studio’s who were also responsible for the recent stealth action series Styx, have been granted a license to adapt the pen an paper RPG to the PC experience. I came in with high hopes, but I can tell you if you wanted an adaption of a pen and paper RPG you are not going to be happy. If you dont care about the adaption being faithful, then you should stick around because what Cyanide has done is create a great job of creating an investigation game, similar to what you would see in an Alan wake. Horror and sanity play a major part, but you wont be doing anything RPG at all, despite the Cyanide rep telling us that this is a narrative investigation RPG. Love it or hate it, Call of Cthulhu will be out for all platforms 2018.

During the game you play as a detective, who is investigating a disappearance. The game takes its queues from the pen and paper RPG of the same name. you play as a PI, the game takes place on a remote island, and your looking for someone. We join the game during its middle, after we have found the first major clue in game and its led us to an old abandoned spooky house. we are going to see the third mission of the game today, where we start to get around and speak with locals.

The first thing I notice about where we are is that everything has a green tinge to it. As were loading in the developer tells is that Major theme is, is your destiny already written or do we have free will. This is a major theme of all of Lovecrafts work, and I’m glad to hear it will make it in to the game, because its a very important theme in his works. We pick up the story after level 2 where we have found a painting that has lead us to a manor house. We at this time have one companion with us. The developer tells us that there will be a number of different side characters in the game. This one’s name is Bradley and he is a cop.

Everything has a green tinge to it.

As we are walking around, the first thing I notice is that the game is beautiful. What ever engine they are using, the world is awash in shadows and light. Moving on we use an ability called reconstruction. This seems to be the main mechanic in the game which will give us a picture of what something looked like in the past. We are trying to determine what happened, so of course we need to see the past. We use reconstruction to see the world in a sort of detective mode. It shows us clues, and we highlight them and then get a clue about something. As we get closer to going crazy, the painting that we are chasing down will warp and change. The developers spend over 10 minutes telling us that the painting is going to be a major part of the game, and that we need to pay attention to it.

After we search for clues, we are presented with three dialog choices, and each of them will change how our relationships with those characters we are talking to work. Now is when we get to the game part of this game. There are dialog options that are only unlocked by finding clues, and as a result we sometimes need to go around more and find clues. If we don’t find the clue, we won’t know, because dialog is unlocked will not show up. There is an indicator in our detective mode that we have missed a clue, so that will be helpful, but I can see a lot of people not knowing when they miss dialog options and that being problematic later on.

This lantern, and also a lighter were our constant companion

The developer tells us that by connecting clues, and using dialog options as well as our skills as a detective we will find ourselves in the next room, and the next clue will present it self. In this case he literally means the next room, and like that last room, its tinged green, and its quite empty except for a crowbar that we pick up, which the developers tell me will be used to look behind under and around things later on. The use of a tool for puzzle later on gives me a heavy Amnesia vibe.  after another session fo searching for clues and doing another reconstruction we reach a locked door. Because we are not a cop we pick the lock on the door, and open it to find a creepy room that seems to have been the site for some kind ritual. we then find a man who was hiding and attempt to chase him down. When we run downstairs we see our cop friend from before, and find out that he never saw anyone else, so maybe really are going crazy?

One of the games companions, a cop who helps along the way

After searching for more clues we reach a room with a massive globe, a book case, and of course a secret door. This door it turns out is a puzzle, we can use that crowbar from before, and open it, or if we hadn’t had the crowbar there would also have been a creative solution involving the globe and the bookcase for us to try as well. The door swings open and ther is a staircase down, of course. The developer tells us thats all we get to see, and that next we would have descended in to the labyrinth below the mansion. I will probalby be taking a pass on this game, as im not much of a detective fiction kind of girl, but if you liked Amnesia or Alan wake, this is a good game to keep your eye on. Its out in 2018 on all platforms.

A Plague Tale Innocence:

Our final game of the day was A Plague Tale: Innocence. This is a story about two kids who are siblings that flee from their home, out in a medevial world filled with plague and plague carrying rats.  The developer tells us that the more the player moves forward in their journey the more the player character realizes that they have more skills than they expected. I imagine that hes describing leveling here, so despite getting only a tiny preview of this game I am going to call it an RPG.

we start in what looks like a chase scene where we are following our baby brother and the path of an aqueduct to try and find our way to a city. When we arrive at the base of the aqueduct, what we find is a battlefield. Full of dead bodies and a bunch of other military crap. The developer tells us that we are going to have to manage the smaller of our companions (hugo our little brother) by holding his hand while he goes through various scenarios.For example Hugo can be asked to stay somewhere while we go and do a mission, but if he gets scared he will call out for us, or run to us, placing himself in danger. To prevent this we need to literally lead him around by the hand to stop him from running away.Its an interesting mechanic and one that anyone with a little sibling in real life can relate to.

Rats, so many Rats

We find a field of dead bodies, and arrive a a bloated horse corpse, and this is where we find our first game mechanic, the rats. Rats do not like light in this game, they can’t be in it, so our primary mechanic is making light sources so that the rats can’t get to us, and then moving while we are in the lights. Stay in the light stay alive. We have many wants to make light, there are torches, sticks we can light on fire, and braziers and candles around the world to light up. We use a sort of slingshot to light some torches and a brazier to give us some more light options, and then we collect sulfur, saltpeter, and rocks which we can craft in to thrown items to disperse the rats. There are hay bales around and next the developers show us how they are a good source, of light, but end up being consumed in a short time. Its an interesting mechanic, and I think most of this game is likely to be sneaking around, ala The Last of Us, rather than combat, or puzzles.

We reach a puzzle that requires all of the kids to solve, first we throw a lit rock at something at the top of a catapult, then we pull the catapult down, and then we send one of the other kids to go and collect a resources in the form of sticks, these sticks we light on fire,  generate light and keep the rats away and keep ourselves alive. The stick of course burns and is not a forever source of light, just like those hay bales. The next puzzle requires crafting to solve, we see our player cahracter gather some materials from the dead bodies and nearby foliage, then we go to a crafting bench. To obtain these materials, we need to take some things off of guards in the area, we use our sling to either destroy their light sources and let the rats kill them, or hit them with a stone to the head knock them out. . we also take out a couple of guards with our sling. Seems we mostly use a sling, and our wits to solve things in this world.

Slings are a girls best friend

We then combine several items to make a moving brazier, which we use all three of our characters to push over to a safe area. After reaching safety we are given a chance to leave our companions in safety and then head out after the enemies that we need to kill. If the player takes too much time to go back to the the companions, they can call out alerting the guards. Its a very interesting game mechanic, and means that we want just be playing with light here, but also a lot of positioning of our followers and possible solutions. This game looks promising if a little confusing and I think fans of survival and adventure will want to at least take a look at it.