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Video Game / The Surge 2

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The 2019 follow-up to The Surge, developed by Deck13 and published by Focus Home Interactive.

On a first-class flight to Jericho City to discuss job options after being made redundant somehow (how exactly is up to the player), the plane mysteriously crashes. Two months later, you wake up in an infirmary bed... in prison, with the inmates running free and drones putting down anyone they come across. After obtaining your own exo-rig and escaping, the news isn't much better: The entire city's been locked down to prevent the spread of a nano-plague called Defrag. In the chaos, even skilled workers have been reduced to scavenging and killing others to get by, and a religion centered around the nanites named the Cult of the Spark has grown to dominate the city's inner workings. Your only clues to figuring out this mess are visions of a small girl named Athena, who may prove key to stopping the plague... or destroying all of humanity.


Much like the first game, the key mechanic is that every enemy you face can have their limbs severed to recover their equipment for yourself, while avoiding being destroyed by their own attacks. Survival means making full use of your abilities while keeping an eye on your surroundings to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Both free and paid DLC have been released for the game. Much of it includes new weapons and gear which must be obtained from newly-spawned enemies. A story DLC titled "The Kraken" was released on January 16, 2020, and has the player explore the VBS Krakow, an aircraft carrier that has been modified into a vacation spot for the rich. The security AI onboard has gone haywire, and it's up to you to find out why.

Needs Wiki Magic Love.


The Surge 2 contains examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Everyone in Jericho City not associated with the A.I.D or J.C.P.D, including the player character. Though, depending on what background you chose at character creation, your character could very well have seen their own quite fair share of action, but having arrived in JC with no exo-rig, even that wasn't preparation enough.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • High-grade crafting materials can now be broken down into lower grades at a 1:2 payout, making it much easier to bring new gear up to scratch and avoiding the first game's issue with having to hunt down rare, weak enemies in the late game.
    • Energy-based and charge-based Injectables have been combined into a single system - energy can be spent directly on healing, or pre-charges can be banked in advance.
    • Limits on what equipment can be changed outside the medbay are gone. Everything can be tweaked on the go and the player is provided with three complete loadouts they can toggle between encounters.
    • The stat-boosting implants are gone; instead you upgrade your stamina, energy or health upon improving your core level (and can respec them at a modest cost). This frees up your implant slots for more useful things that affect the gameplay.
    • The amount of shortcuts through playable zones has been boosted, alongside adding a Search & Rescue module to the player's drone, which sends them back to the medbay at the cost of all their scrap.
    • Scrap dropped on death gives the player health regeneration when they're nearby, and fully heals the player on pickup, giving them a slight advantage over whatever killed them last time.
    • If control tips are turned on, complex bosses with multiple targets will have hint banners just outside their arena clarifying exactly how to toggle specific targets, saving the player from fumbling around for precious seconds against something that could end them in two or three hits.
    • There are a couple moments where the game will warn you with a hint banner that you're about to cross a Point of No Return, giving you a chance to upgrade your gear or tie up loose ends first. Specifically, before fighting Major General Ezra Shields and right before the Final Boss, which immediately leads into New Game+.
  • The Atoner:
    • Jonah Guttenberg, the former head of CREO is trying to atone for his part in unleashing the nanite swarm into the world and guides the player character in the latter half of the game in his quest to stop the nanites and save Athena. Until he's murdered by Brother Eli.
    • One sidequest involves assisting one of the scientists that helped Barret create the nanites into finding a cure for the nanite infection.
  • Attack Drone: The drone from the first game has gotten some severe beefing-up as an attack unit, as it now directly mounts guns severed from enemies (leaving your hands free to use melee weapons). It isn't necessarily viable to use it exclusively, but it uses ammunition instead of energy (letting you dump on an enemy) and can even sever enemy limbs if enough bullets are pumped into one spot. Grenades and firebombs can also be launched from the drone.
  • Back from the Dead: Matriarch Celeste can use the Spark's power to resurrect both her sons after they were killed by the player. Audio files imply she has done this many times.
    • Audio files also also imply that each time someone is brought back, they grow more and more unhinged. The first time you meet Eli, he's an ordinary, if paranoid and violent, cultist. By the end of the game, he develops a full-on God complex.
    • By the end of the game, it's all but outright said that the Player Character went through this after dying in the crash, and was rebuilt by Athena and the nanotech.
  • Bad Boss: Little Johnny is this by default for pushing a dangerous and addictive drug on his followers, but he takes it Up to Eleven when he starts killing his own underlings just because he's upset after receiving a stern call from his mother, Matriach Celeste.
  • Beef Gate: The game likes to keep you out of places you shouldn't be via enemies much stronger than you. Should you get past them, however, there's normally an Ability Required to Proceed checkpoint just behind.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The new "Double-Duty" weapon class consists of two separate weapons that clamp together with a magnet for some polearm attacks. They hit slow and hard when used normally, but if you use particular combos (or just button-mash your attack inputs) you split them apart to do quick dual-wield attacks.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The role of main villain is split between Ezra Shields, general of a draconian mercenary corp enforcing a Police State on the city, and Matriach Celeste, leader of a crazed cult that wants to merge humanity with the nanite plague. Both are ultimately killed before the end, with a resurrected and violently-delusional Brother Eli serving as the Final Boss.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are a new weapon class; while The Surge 1 had a few spear-like staff weapons, these consist of jabbing attacks rather than the wide sweeps staffs used.
  • Body Horror: What was lampshaded in the first game has been uncomfortably detailed in this one, with exo-rig augmented humans looking like butchered industrial accidents underneath their jumpsuits. The Spark cultists illustrate this perfectly, baring their heavily scarred bodies with pride, allowing you to see the large, ugly mechanical implants jutting out of the flesh and attaching to the rig. At least this time the autodoc used anesthetic. Meat Grinder Surgery is also averted in this case, as the Medical Bay uses a more advanced form of nanotech surgery to directly bind the Rig and its components to the human body's cells.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: A staple of the genre. Playing online can cause "revenge enemies" to appear, beefing up a normal enemy that just killed a player. Defeating a revenge enemy offers much better loot; they give at least one crafting component for all their body parts.
  • Brain in a Jar: You can find Little Johnny's head in a glass at the Cathedral of the Spark, as Celeste also resurrected him but left him there as punishment for driving many of the Children of the Spark into becoming addicts. The player can turn off the life-support machine and kill him again.
  • Charged Attack: Charging up a melee attack is possible now. This generates a lot more energy than a normal attack and can smash through enemy shields (be they of the improvised "car door" variety or a magnetic force-shield).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The hunters at Gideon's Rock all seem afflicted with a need to doublecross each other and even their own clients. In particular, Cervantes spread rumors of betrayal among his camp to goad everyone into fighting each other so he could claim the reward all to himself. Also, nanite flashback shows a hunter abducting Athena not a hundred yards from the CREO Institute of Technology because A.I.D.'s reward money for her was greater than what Dr. Guttenberg offered.
  • Climax Boss: The fight against Major General Ezra Shields at A.I.D Command Center. Not only you're fighting the head of A.I.D to rescue Athena, his defeat triggers major plot events that permanently change the overworld.
  • Continuity Nod: Despite its Degraded Boss status (see below), disabling the crippled P.A.X. robot still generates the "[boss] - OFFLINE" splash, just like in the first game.
    • The Ops Center in CREO World was mentioned to be part of a deployable, mobile helicopter. We see the full version with the helicopter bits still attached in this game.
  • Crapsack World: It was already bad enough that CREO was desperately pumping resources into grand rejuvenation projects to alleviate the strain on the biosphere, but the nanite swarm that was released from the complex is now mixing itself into what remains of the biosphere, creating new fauna that are stranger and even more deadly than the natives.
    • As an example, Gideon's Rock is a CREO sponsored artifical nature reserve in the center of Jericho City. The plants are largely artificial with only a few organic plants existing, there are holopoints marking the habitats of the last known living organisms of a species (Such as the grizzly bear), and the advertisements glorify the various artificial replacements as "better than the real thing used to be." Inside there is where you can find the SERU Biomaster, a flame staff used for controlling vegetation. Its description states that it has fallen into disfavor since it's so efficient at destroying the last few natural plants left on Earth.
    • Extremist doomsday cults like the Children of the Spark also exist, preaching a utopia of cybernetic transformation and being willing to openly attack government personnel to further their ends.
    • A.I.D. are essentially a government-sponsored PMC with massive amounts of firepower and manpower who are empowered to mete out capital punishment in areas where there is large-scale rioting or civil unrest.
    • One tourism audiolog you can find mentions Jericho City leads the world in employment figures, saying that they have a whopping 15 percent employment rate. Considering that the only way Warren got employment in the first game was by having a cybernetic Exo-Rig grafted to his body, this makes sense.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Warren successfully sabotaged the Utopia nanites in the first game, meaning that the Rogue Process failed to convert the entire planet. However, the nanomachines themselves still exist and are altering the environment in Jericho City.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: See that Spider Tank in the header image? That's a mobile life support capsule filled with preservation gel. Lil Johnny rides in one due to his heavy abuse of Blue Sparkle, which has rendered him so grotesquely obese and unhealthy that he can't live outside of the tank. This has only made him more dangerous.
  • Degraded Boss: Literally: the P.A.X. boss from the first game returns as a hobbled wreck of its former self, unable to move, in Port Nixon. The drug-addled cultists there use it as a turret to thwart a direct approach to Terminal Z, but it can be avoided entirely or disabled with some clever use of the pile of EMP bombs stockpiled above it.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Just like in the first game, pairs of professional security enemies can be found while they're still way out of your league. Defeating them properly and finding a hidden energy expansion gives you a midgame equipment set long before you'd normally get it.
    • Averted with the URBN equipment DLC. It's not available until the mid-game and has to be severed off a Dual Boss In Mook Clothing. It's still one of the better Goliath-class armor sets and the first Shock weapon you have access to.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Defeating Major General Ezra Shields triggers a major change in the overworld. The game even gives you a Point of No Return warning before the fight.
  • Door to Before: Shortcuts back to the medbays are all over the place, in an even greater number than the first game.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hammers are now their own weapon class. They tend to have more impact than edged weapons, but swing slower.
  • Easy Level Trick: The first A.I.D. checkpoint gate is usually quite an obstacle. It involves facing three of the toughest normal enemies encountered to date, at least two at once, and a pair of powerful robot enemies who will probably aggro in the middle of the fight. All in a game where any 2-on-1 is a dicey prospect, let alone a five-enemy furball. A sidequest in the area offers a hint, though: it's possible to sneak through some ruins and around the checkpoint and kill one enemy, short out the gate to lure a second on his own, then take out the third, all without attracting the robots. There's even an achievement for doing it this way.
  • Evil Matriarch: Matriarch Celeste fits the bill. The head of an extremist cult built from forceful conversion, whose two sons are a violent and fanatical cultist and a drug lord, respectively. Whether she believes in her own teachings or has some ulterior motive is unknown, but whatever she has planned can't be good for Jericho City, let alone the world at large. She's even shown to resurrect her sons when they die, at the cost of them becoming increasingly mentally unstable. She resurrects Little Johnny only to stick his head in a jar as punishment for deviating from her teachings.
  • Fat Bastard: Little Johnny, a morbidly-obese drug lord submerged inside a Spider Tank full of life-preserving liquid. He's implied to have abandoned the Cathedral of the Spark's teachings in pursuit of pushing Blue Sparkle, a highly addictive drug that both enhances physical strength and has psychoactive side effects.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: For the final battle, Brother Eli uses his newfound powers to create the Dreamscape, a surreal field of grass, and transform into an armored demigod named Archangel Eli.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Shields, who personally pilots a customized Humongous Mecha to guard Athena's capsule and, when the mech is destroyed, leaps out to fight the player hand-to-hand.
  • Genre Shift: This game shifts the genre from a Cyber Punk horror to a more action-oriented post-apocalyptic Cyber Punk setting. After killing General Shields, however, the genre shifts back to horror when the nanites start swarming the city and creating more nanotech zombies reminiscent of the first game.
  • Guide Dang It!: Hardcore Kills are back, and once again the only clue they even exist is a loading screen hint. While Rig bosses are obvious (cut off the right arm, like anyone else) the methods for bigger bosses are only hinted at in the non-Hardcore version of the weapon drop.
  • Guns Are Worthless: While the first game hinted at it, this game shows exactly why combat is so melee-focused. Rigs aren't just surgically-implanted exoskeletons, they're fully-cybernetic systems bonded so closely with the wearer's body that they take over a number of bodily functions, and this means that firearms that would kill normal humans are far less effective. This is to the point that even without any armor, the player can take a full magazine from an assault rifle without dying, and A.I.D. soldiers have to resort to huge-bore bolt-action anti-vehicle rifles as their standard ranged armament. All that said, ranged drone-mounted weapons are a little more useful in this game than the last, as you can even sever limbs with enough bullets...but it takes a lot of bullets.
  • Improvised Weapon: A lot like the first game, most weapons are either hacked-together armaments, or just objects heavy enough to do damage when a Rig operator swings them.
  • Internal Homage: One can find a Wild West themed shop in Downtown Jericho which features weapons, equipment, and music from the first game's The Good, The Bad, & the Augmented expansion. One hostile looter there derisively asks you if you think you're John Wayne. (Also Dr. Richbotter's podcast returns, only this time, critiquing the awful Iron Maus movies).
  • King Mook: Some of the bosses, such as Cervantes and the Goddess Helena statue, function as tougher versions of common enemies, with more health and a new twist to their fight.
  • Mirror Boss: Several bosses this time around are simply compos mentis Rig operators with full equipment suites. Short one or two arena features or gimmicks, they have much the same moves, strengths, and weaknesses as the player. Albeit with much more health and Health/Damage Asymmetry on their side. In fact the Hardcore Kill for the first boss is simply severing his right arm, the same way you get a weapon from any other Rig enemy.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Selecting your character's background is part of the character customization process, though it doesn't seem to affect much other than the clothes you wear under your rig and, very occasionally, some comments a few merchants may make on what they make of your background.
  • Living MacGuffin: Athena Guttenberg, the little girl who survived the plane crash along with the player, is sought after by most factions in the game due to her special relationship with the nanite swarm.
  • Nanomachines: The Utopia nanotech from the first game has been scattered across Jericho City, infecting many people and gathering into purple clumps in corners. Many living creatures have been changed by the Utopia machinery and new forms of nanotech life have begun to spring up. Nanotech is used extensively by many weapons and technologies, and even your own Rig surgery is done via nanotech, averting the Meat Grinder Surgery from the first game.
  • Nonindicative Name: A.I.D. is not a crisis relief force. It stands for "Attack, Insurrection, Disease" and is a for-profit contract organization that operates pre-authorized to use lethal force. They are much more interested in murdering anyone who might have the plague than offering medical services (though some token effort to assist some evacuees exists at the camp by the wall).
  • Obliviously Evil: The Rogue Process nanites are no longer self-aware and thus can't understand that their actions are killing the people of Jericho City and threatening the planet. When Athena merges with the swarm and gives it self-awareness again, she simply wants to escape, not realizing the consequences of unleashing the nanites on the larger world.
  • Optional Boss:
  • Permanently Missable Content: Plenty of unique weapons belong to bosses or sidequest-exclusive enemies. Failing to sever their right arm means missing the weapon for that playthrough, though humanoid bosses also often have unique implants in their heads, meaning you have to pick one to go for on a playthrough.
  • Player Data Sharing: Players can leave messages across Jericho City in the form of pictographic graffiti using a drone attachment, as well as banners (holograms of the player showing their equipment, which give scrap when found). On a more morbid note, you can also find the corpses of deceased players, which are usually not too far from "revenge" enemies: the mob which killed that player and is subsequently much tougher.
  • Police State: Now that you are outside of CREO HQ and away from its corporate security forces, the personnel of the government agency A.I.D. will be your main military foe. A turbocharged incarnation of FEMA, the A.I.D take over in times of social unrest to brutally stamp down on those who disturb the social order, as well as those who don't. From their propaganda to their authorization to carry out capital punishment at will, these guys make Judge Dredd look like a mall cop. One throwaway line by an AID soldier mentions that people are listed not only by money but also "social ranking."
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: It is revealed that A.I.D. has been rounding up all the kids they can find to use as test subjects because their adaptable brains could theoretically interface with the nanite cloud and tame it. None of them survived. When they find Athena, who can already control nanites, they are pretty much salivating at the chance to load her into a rocket and fire it off into the cloud.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Warren shows up in a handful of audio logs, and his Signature Weapon was a Pre-Order Bonus. He is also the mysterious masked man who encounters your player character a few times.
  • Psycho Electro: The Elite Mooks of the Children of The Spark all wield electric weapons and they're all pretty psychotic.
  • Psycho Serum: The Spark Aspirant and Spark Defender cultists have modules on their heads/arms, respectively, that are full of Blue Sparkle. Unless you damage that part they will give themselves a hit of Blue Sparkle and severely amp up their aggression in combat, making them faster and harder to stun. The various logs you find indicate that Blue Sparkle was meant for enlightenment as well as a weapon, but Little Johnny's followers have abused it big-time. Notably, the Children of the Spark you fight that work for Eli or the Matriarch do not have a Blue Sparkle module; they don't approve.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Brother Eli is fought three times in the game. The player kills him every time, but he keeps getting resurrected by his mother.
    • Variations of the Delver reappear in later sections of the game, albeit with only one phase to their fight and no new attacks to speak of.
  • Scavenger World: Jericho City has become this; in contrast to the first Surge, where your enemies were cyber-zombies, this place is overrun by fully cognizant but ruthless scavengers killing each other for scraps.
  • Silent Protagonist: Since your character can be customized this time around, they never speak beyond grunts of effort during combat. (You do get unvoiced dialogue choices for some NPCs, as per RPG tradition).
  • Tomato Surprise: You and Athena were the only two people on Flight 221 to survive the crash, yet everyone knows there was only one survivor, and it's clearly Athena based off the many flashbacks you see through the nanocloud checkpoints. One of these flashbacks reveals that Athena was the one who created the Delver, which she sent to free you from prison. The Delver was a fully independent Nanite life form which received directive impulses from Athena that gave it direction, at least until she was separated from it and it reverted to its baser instincts. You spend the entire game following Athena's tracks to rescue her, as she explicitly gives you instructions through the flashbacks. Dr. Guttenberg tells you your nanite readings are off the charts, and you cannot be infected with Defrag. To make the looming conclusion more explicit, if you spare Eli after the final boss fight, Athena tells you were just as human as everyone else all along. Put it all together, and it's strongly implied that your character actually died in the crash and was resurrected by Athena's nanotech.
  • Transhuman Treachery: The Spark cultists serve this role in the plot. The cult promotes and worships the growing nanite threat, and seeks to "transcend" their "prison of flesh" through augmentation to become one with the nanites. To further reinforce this trope, the Cult spreads their message through charismatic preaching and social outreach. They also spread it through shattering the bones of people resistant to the Cult, dragging their broken bodies back to their Cathedral, and remaking them into loyal cultists through augmentation and conditioning. Lil Johnny, one of the sons of the Matriarch, goes even further by pushing a highly addictive drug called Blue Sparkle, albeit to the Matriarch's chagrin.
  • Universal Ammunition: The gun modules for the drone run off of universal bullets; in practice this means that using its sniper mode has fewer shots.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Great Wall, the massive structure built to contain everything and everyone inside Jericho City, and also where Brother Eli plans to absorb the nanite swarm's powers to become godlike. It's populated with the last of A.I.D.'s forces and fully-corrupted nano-zombies, with lots of treacherous walkways and a One-Woman Wail soundtrack playing throughout.
  • Walking Tank: The Metal Armor boss, piloted by Major General Ezra Shields. A bipedal mech armed with a mini-gun and a flamethrower. It is way more advanced than a P.A.X., intended to straight-up kill you rather than subdue revolting workers.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The JCPD prison has two examples. The first is Nitro, an inmate who somehow obtained an exo-rig, is noticeably beefier than other enemies encountered thus far, and is fought right before getting your own rig. A short while later brings us Warden Garcia who, in addition to sporting a new moveset to learn, also brings along a drone to lay down support fire. Getting down the omnidirectional parry system is recommended for his fight.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: AID's endgoal is to control the nanite swarm by any means possible, in order to save the world. They end up killing numerous children to find one able to control the swarm, and unleash her on the infection, but to disastrous results. They didn't consider that inserting a pissed-off child who could control nanites would result in a pissed-off storm of nanites.
  • Wham Line: Returning to the C.I.T. after defeating Ezra Shields will lead you to discover this exchange. The twist isn't so much what is being said, but by who:
    Brother Eli: "Thought you'd seen the last of old Eli, eh? Guess again! Dying means nothing to me... and killing even less!"
  • Wham Shot: On your third trip to the CREO Institute of Technology, you'll go through an underground hanger and open a door to reveal Dr. Guttenberg's impaled corpse on the floor with H.A.R.O.L.D. looking over him in despair.


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