Are you squidding me?
The Surge 2 was one of my biggest surprises of 2019 – a sequel to a fun but decidedly flawed ARPG that improved on pretty much everything in the original while expanding the world lore. As with most games released in the decade of the 2010’s, of course it came with a “season pass” available out of the gate, a £17.99 promise of more content and loot further down the line, as well as a new story pack. This DLC has dropped slowly over the last few months culminating in this months release of the story pack, The Kraken, giving players a chance to jump back into Jericho City and take on some nanite infested goons.
As with all of these mad ARPG type games (hello, Dark Souls!) actually getting to the DLC content is going to prove a challenge in itself. Players will need to be roughly half way through the games expansive story and have beaten the boss Major General Ezra Shields. After that, fight your way back through to the Port Nixon area and you’ll find a dinghy waiting for you in a corner of the map. Using this will take you to the DLC at which point you’ll be met with a huge aircraft carrier called the VBS Krakow, run aground and sending out a distress signal. It’s up to you to figure out just what the hell is wrong on this crazy ship.
And crazy it is – grappling up to the deck you’ll land in the back garden of a typical Americana-esque house, all picket fences and barbecues. Huh. To compound matters there’s tentacles waving over the horizon and a mad looking robotic red “eye of Sauron” casting its gaze about. So, it would seem that following the nanite outbreak (long story, just play the games) the Krakow was taken over by a small group of humans who built their own community on board. They even brought their own AI, CAIN along for the ride and, as we all know, NOTHING can go wrong when you have a sentient computer thrown into the mix, right? So CAIN decided that he was fed up of human servitude and, when a band of robot skeleton pirates (you read that right) board the Krakow, he sees this as his opportunity to rise up and take control – it’s his eye that’s following your every move and he’s now commanding the boney bot’s that roam the decks and underbelly of the ship. Quite the predicament.
What follows is a fun romp over and under the Krakow’s floating community, communicating with the few surviving humans, picking up some new gear along the way and uncovering a deeper mystery lurking in the bowels of the Krakow; And then, just like that, it’s over – and that’s the biggest problem with The Kraken. It is way too short.
Look, I hate the “more game is more value” argument more than anyone. A good game worth playing should be worth buying, but The Kraken doesn’t help but feel like it’s absolutely not good value for money. For all that it’s fun, you have to remember that this is DLC sold as part of an £18 set or individually for £10 – and it’ll last you between 1 and 2.5 hours depending on how good a player you are or how far through the main game. If you’ve already finished the core story you’ll likely be over leveled, while those players who partake in this adventure as a side quest will be just at the right stage of their game. The closest comparison is probably the expansions FromSoftware have released for their SoulsBorne games – meaty, multi-hour quests that will challenge veterans and give them a reason to dip back into the game world. The Kraken is not that. Players who invested in the season pass with the promise of more story down the line have every right to feel let down by this release.