The latest DLC announcement for The Surge certainly took me and many others by surprise, especially with a sequel so deep in development.
Yet here we are with The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented, the second major expansion following A Walk in the Park which popped up last Christmas. And if you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Westworld crossed over with Dark Souls, this DLC is your answer.
The Western theme certainly suits the visceral, gritty, augmented world from Deck 13, even though it’s a piece of content filled with frustration.
So, before you go rootin’ and tootin’ with cowboys and CREO tech murder bots, you will need to have beaten the first section of The Surge by defeating P.A.X and arriving in Central Production B.
After finding the first Medbay, you can follow the sounds of The Supervisor talking smack about an old TV show called Frontier Riders, one that apparently got cancelled before its time. This leads you to a series of Test Chambers where you’ll go head to head with some of the most fearsome enemies in the West in exchange for some of the coolest loot you ever did see.
In total, The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented has nine episodes to get through, each one offering you a cool implant, weapon, gear, or special item if you make it through alive.
Each episode is broken down into three seperate sections, which you’ll eventually be able to speed through once you know what you’re doing, but will take quite a bit of time, patience, and skill to get on the first few tries. When you beat an episode though, shortcuts will open up, which means you can quickly skip ahead to a boss with minimal fuss.
While you could play through The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented right after beating the opening portion of the game, you’re better served understanding the mechanics in full. How to use block effectively, when to time your dodges and strikes, and most importantly, build up your rig to max effectiveness.
It’s a DLC made for experienced players, but one where anyone can jump in. This is thanks, in part, to the Modifiers. Up to four mods can be activated per episode – one per row – some making your job harder, though offering nice compensation in return – others taking it a bit easier on you, like increasing the damage you deal or building up your combinations.
Then there’s those simply use for aesthetical purposes, like turning the whole episode into a black and white movie with no sound and silly captions.
The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented is also chock-loaded with tough boss battles across the unique Western scenarios. One boss battle sees you fight multiples of the same enemy, while others require you to dodge bullets being shot out of smashed windows. Each battle really gives off the vibe of a showdown at sunset.
But Deck 13 have also thought about the less experienced players again and introduced a smart and welcome Lucky Coin system. These coins can be located and collected through each level and stored up. When you reach the door before the boss, you have multiple chances to try and beat him before the episode restarts over. If he kills you, you lose one coin, but the more coins you have after beating him, the bigger the bonus.
Alternatively, you can bail out at the same point with the loot you’ve already collected and keep farming it to improve your equipment.
While The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented has some really clever ideas to keep the action fresh, constantly incentivizing the player to have ‘one more go’, it’s also full of frustrating potholes and is riddled with bugs.
Quite often, I got stuck on the scenery, fell through a piece of the floor I couldn’t see, plummeting to my death and losing precious loot and progress, dealt with odd AI pathing, random glitching, and gleefully overpowered enemies, relishing in being able to slash over half your health away in one hit.
There’s also the continued issue of The Surge’s armor not necessarily feeling like an upgrade at times and new weapons still not having a desired impact on an enemy’s health bar.
What worked for The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented, though, is its wit, style, creativity, and more importantly, serves as a reminder that The Surge is actually a damn good video game.
This DLC reminds us of the good things as well as the bad things, while giving us a hefty dose of augmented to satiate our appetite until next years’ sequel.
+ Shortcuts and Lucky Coins are cool, smart features
+ A really good challenge that isn’t just catered to pros
+ Witty DLC with a decent premise
+ ‘Just one more go’ factor
– Quite bad glitching which leads to regular frustration
– Loot and weaponry doesn’t always feel like an effective upgrade
– Levels will need to be repeated a lot which won’t be for everyone
The Good, The Bad, and The Augmented
7 out of 10
Tested on PS4