Developer Deck13 delivered a satisfying sci-fi Souls-like action RPG with The Surge when it released last May. Now the studio is ready to once again throw players back into the game’s ruined world with The Surge: A Walk in the Park. This time around you’ll be forced to explore CREO World, a ruined theme park populated by murderous mascots and crazed CREO employees who’re hell-bent on making this your last day on the job. Featuring new quests to complete, challenging bosses to topple, and more gear to upgrade your arsenal, this DLC serves as a perfect excuse to strap on your rig and get back to work.
CREO World itself is the star of the show in A Walk in the Park. This shattered wonderland is a huge departure from the gritty industrial areas featured in The Surge’s main campaign. It’s a vibrant world filled with towering roller coasters and shiny attractions. Honestly, it looks like it’d be a pretty swell place to take the family. That is if it weren’t for all of the bodies littering the place and the killer animatronics roaming about, shooting lasers from their cartoonish mugs. This is no leisurely trip, though. A Walk in the Park packs the same gut-punching challenge found in the core game, meaning you’re going to need quick reflexes and a bit of luck to handle the hordes of enemies it throws at you.
From the moment you step off of the maglev train, it’s plain to see that things have taken a turn for the weird. While The Surge was a largely gritty and foreboding trek into a deadly world, A Walk in the Park doesn’t take itself too seriously. After all, we’re talking about a chapter that has you donning a giant donut for a helmet as you mow down waves of marauding mascots with a giant flaming popcorn popping fixture. This may sound a bit jarring at first, but it works really well. A Walk in the Park feels like a fusion of The Surge and Dead Rising, and the end result is a fun side story that stands out from the rest of the package.
These changes are pretty much strictly cosmetic, though. Despite the whimsical aesthetics, this is the same game we first experienced back in May. The quests follow the same formula that has you rescuing NPCs and activating computer systems. And while the weapons look pretty zany, they function just like their rugged, utilitarian counterparts we’re used to. I only wish there were a bit greater variety in terms of enemy types because apart from the mascot-type enemies you’ll face, the rig-wearing baddies you’ll face fail to impress and don’t really take advantage of the episode’s wacky theme. It would have been nice to see Deck13 fully embrace the DLC’s comical aesthetic. Instead, we’re left with a few fun enemy types juxtaposed against the familiar armored goons we’ve already killed thousands of times before.
Fun for the Whole Family
The Surge was no slouch when it came to stage design. Its huge, interconnected world was expertly-crafted and filled with clever shortcuts to take advantage of. A Walk in the Park is no exception, either. CREO World is a much more wide open environment than the rest of the CREO facility. However, it’s just as cleverly constructed, and you’ll constantly discover new paths, shortcuts, and other secrets at seemingly every turn. During the six hours it took me to complete the DLC I found myself discovering new weapons, implants, and schematics constantly. This constant promise of loot and other goodies made me want to explore every square inch of the park so I could fully deck out my rig.
For everything A Walk in the Park gets right, it still suffers from some of the same issues the core game faced. The story here is about as barebones and forgettable as you’d expect. Additionally, while combat feels nice and weighty, it can be a pain to quickly target specific parts of an enemy, which can sometimes result in a messy death or a missed opportunity to do some damage against the game’s nastier foes. However, if these nagging issues weren’t enough to stop you from enjoying The Surge’s main campaign, they probably won’t bother you too much this time around, either.
A Fine Slay-cation Destination
The Surge: A Walk in the Park is a fresh injection of weird into Deck13’s cybernetic Souls-like. While the quest designs and enemy types feel a bit stale at times, the weighty combat is as satisfying as ever, and the world is a content-rich wonderland that begs to be explored. From the challenging boss fights to the numerous schematics and implants, you’ll easily spend half a dozen hours seeing everything this DLC has to offer. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to dive back into The Surge’s bloody, post-apocalyptic world, a ticket to CREO World is well worth the price of admission.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC ; Publisher: Focus Home Interactive ; Developer: Deck13 Interactive ; Players: 1 ; Released: December 4, 2017 ; ESRB: M for Mature ; MSRP: $14.99
Full Disclosure: This review is based on a copy of The Surge: A Walk in the Park given to Hey Poor Player by the Publisher.