The Surge 2: First Look At Character Customization And New Multiplayer Features

Some really creative backstories as well, which may relate to the game's overarching narrative.
Here's a first look at the character creator for The Surge 2, as well as its multiplayer components.
Here's a first look at the character creator for The Surge 2, as well as its multiplayer components. Focus Home Interactive

The Surge 2 is out in two months’ time, and I was lucky enough to get a chance to play an early beta build of the game which showcased its new setting, revamped combat and gameplay mechanics, as well as its plethora of new features. If you’re looking for some thoughts on how the game plays and compares to the original, as well as a rundown of what to expect, check out my in-depth here.

This time around, though, let’s take a closer look at some of the new things in The Surge 2, like its character creation section and multiplayer elements. Unlike the first game, The Surge 2 plays more like an actual RPG with a character creator – The Surge has one fixed character, Warren, who you play as for the entire game. It’s an interesting departure, and certainly a welcome one for those looking for a more typical Souls-like experience. It also, in my opinion, makes for a more immersive experience, as it puts you in the shoes a character with several possible backstories, all having some sort of bearing as to how the game will play out.

Character Creation

After starting a new game, you’re placed in a character creation screen, which is pretty in-depth and expansive, to say the least. The first window lets you choose between two preset genders, male or female, as well as six different backstories, each coming with a preset look and outfit.

  • Mining Wars Veteran – Suppressing a workers’ revolt on the lunar colony has left its mark on you. Having been exposed to toxic substances and suffering from PTSD, a taxpayer-funded first-class flight to Jericho City’s re-deployment center was the least they could do for you. Earth has your back.
  • Search and Rescue Officer – Despite a world in turmoil, first-aid companies like yours can still fail, especially after the public-private A.I.D. Response was created to take over. Luckily, they are looking for capable staff and sponsored your first-class flight to a job interview in Jericho City.
  • CREO-certified Heavy Operator – Being a human forklift has its limits in terms of career opportunities, and after losing all your savings in three lawsuits against the company, you’ve finally been granted a CREO-paid first-class flight to begin your new life. A new job will be waiting for you, and you fought hard to get it.
  • CREO-certified Field Technician – Repairing robots day in, day out ensured a safe job as a hardware and software expert... that is, until an advanced AI protocol made your position redundant. Luckily for you, CREO sponsored a first-class flight to Jericho to help a loyal ex-worker find a new assignment.
  • Former Arms Smuggler – There was only one way to break the vicious cycle that had become your life: spending all the money you set aside over the years for this one ticket, to bring you to the other end of the world where you hope that the grass is greener.. or at least, that there will be grass at all.
  • Corporate Middle Manager – Society might change but somebody always needs to run the numbers and keep the board happy. Jobs are rare, so once again you didn’t dare to complain even after you were relocated to Jericho City from the other end of the world without much more than a day’s notice. At least it’s a first-class flight.

Piercing together these character studies, I assume that the starting backstories’ mention of first-class flights has something to do with the time skip of two months at the beginning of the playable beta build, after which you find yourself in an infirmary in a police station.

You also get a neat randomizer in this section, which gives you a set of randomized features for the backstory you chose.

You also get some hair style choices that are shared within the male and female gender options. I wished there was more than 12 though, as they all look short and I was looking for long-haired options. You also get 16 colors to choose from.

Next up are options for skin color, as well as an age slider. You get to choose between eight different skin tones.

This is followed by a face shape selector, which is divided into three sections: eight options each for cheek structure and chin shape, plus a slider for face fullness.

Next you get options for eyes, including eight eyelid shapes to choose from and 12 iris colors.

You also get eight eyebrow shapes to choose from, as well as 16 eyebrow colors.

Thera are also eight nose shapes to choose from.

You also get eight choices for mouth shape.

There are eight ear shape choices as well.

Finally, you also get to pick your character’s outfit, which are all from the different backstories. This means that you can opt for a background, but wear another background’s outfit, which is great for player choice.

Multiplayer Elements

The Surge 2 features some multiplayer elements inside the single-player campaign, which is a good breakaway from combat if you’re a bit tired of it. The first one is similar to the message mechanics in the Souls series, where players can leave messages in the world that can be rated by other players. These messages in The Surge 2 work a bit differently though, as they are characterized by up to three symbols with no room for letters or numbers. You will find a drone module in your playthrough that allows you to write these symbols on surfaces like walls or floors. You can also buy additional symbols from various vendors, as I’ve found while I was at the Seaside Court.

As they’re symbols, understanding the intent behind the messages may prove to be more vague than usual. You can, however, still leave and receive helpful advice with them, such as showing which areas are safe, or when there’s weapons or loot to be found, or even point to routes towards possible shortcuts.

It’s a pretty good system, and one that actually works from time to time to help new players out in their own journeys. It’s also a good way of just messing around, as I made the habit of leaving messages in areas where no player should ever find themselves in.

The second one is much more exciting, however, and is modeled after Luigi’s Balloon World in Super Mario Odyssey. The W-102 Banner module, when used, leaves a holographic copy of yourself in any area you place it in. There are no specifics yet, but in general, it’s a hide-and-seek deal – try to hide your banner in the most inconspicuous place possible, while you try to find others’ banners. Finding a banner will reward you with tech scrap, while successfully hiding a banner without anyone finding it rewards you with tech scrap as well. It made for a pretty funny distraction overall, as there are a couple of areas in the beta build which are kept secret from most people’s eyes.

Try to find mine, by the way.

Check out my entire coverage of this initial build of The Surge 2 here, as well as my in-depth of its revamped combat mechanics here.

The Surge 2 will be released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on September 24.

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