The Surge Gets Silly With A Walk In The Park
It wasn't that long ago that Deck13 gave us a proper, devastatingly-hard Souls-style experience with a junkyard sci-fi twist in The Surge, but if you've been away for awhile, now there's plenty of reason to come back and take A Walk In The Park!
The amusement park theme here espouses visions of Nuka World dancing in my head (and all the promo shots of a theme park inhabited by killer robots didn't do anything to dissuade that image).
Over the course of this 3-4 hour DLC there's plenty of silly, tongue-in-cheek nonsense that's also gruesome in the extreme. My initial impression needed to be revised, as this is less Nuka World and more a nightmare Itchy And Scratchy Land. While there are robot enemies galore, many of the baddies are humans gone mad, and the blood spurts just as easy as the oil!
A Relaxing Vacation Where Everyone Dies
Before I could even get to all the theme park mayhem with The Surge's A Walk In The Park DLC, I was reminded of how ludicrously hard these types of games can become.
Just yesterday, I lost all my hard drive data after a Windows 10 update (thanks Microsoft), so I had to start Warren's story at the Creo corporation entirely over. Just getting to the second level to access the DLC was an hour long slog filled with more than a few four-letter words, but eventually, I got my footing back under me and figured out how to engage in the deadly dance of slow motion robotic combat.
Honestly, that may be the best way to experience this expansion, going in fresh from the beginning so you aren't overpowered and don't breeze through while exploring different attractions like the Lumber Jack Show and Skybound Adventures.
After finally getting to Creo world, players used to the base game will be in for a shock witnessing the juxtaposition of a bubbly, brightly lit amusement park with shattered and bloody bodies everywhere.
There's almost a Dead Rising or Borderlands feel in the eye-popping silly factor and zany shenanigans going on. One of the first things you do after leaving the train is fight a giant animatronic donut.
Remember that campy '80s slasher Chopping Mall where the totally non-lethal mall guard bot suddenly goes kill happy after a surge of lightning, even though he had no weaponry of any kind a few seconds before? Oh boy, are we ever in that territory here -- and its kind of a blast.
New Additions To The Surge
Some fun new gear is ready and waiting to be viciously hacked off your enemies, from a glowing light axe to something that looks oddly like a mashup of a parking toll meter and an electric razor.
Frankly, you will easily again be thinking of of Dead Rising when crafting the Head Of Donnie Donut helmet or picking up the candy cane power pole as a weapon.
While they are fun to look at, the new gear isn't particularly awesome at its base level without being upgraded, so as mentioned above this DLC works better on a first playthrough rather than in New Game+ mode. If you have all those powerful secret weapon drops from the bosses and have maxed everything out, your current gear will be an order of magnitude more powerful than anything found in Creo world.
While the gear may not be worth your time, the enemies are definitely more interesting and less drab than in the main campaign. Warren will battle everything from a giant partially eaten candy bar to a huge soda can (although sadly not in Saint's Row purple).
Cutting the equivalent of Freddy Fazbear in half with a pilfered hydraulic piston and then tearing apart his head for parts is a pretty good time. Besides the fun new enemies, the location itself offers something totally different from what fans of The Surge might expect.
The dual theme going on really hits home when the fake, plastic nature of the amusement park is jarringly set against a backdrop of a crashed roller coaster, with blood splattered across the concrete and a shattered body in pieces on the ground. In the latter half of the DLC, there is some truly odd, disturbing stuff going on.
The Bottom Line
A Walk In The Park features more of the same on the gameplay front, with a player carefully balancing stamina for dodging, blocking, and getting in calculated strikes.
If you face too many enemies in one area then you're dead (sort of like in real life, you should be concerned if multiple people in mascot outfits have you cornered in an alley), and if you miscalculate your stamina for that return swing, well, you're dead.
The big draw is in the totally new areas and the bonkers setting, offering something way outside the norm for this style of game. Since the DLC is set during the events of the campaign, A Walk In The Park is basically a big side quest to offer some levity (and a lot of blood).
If you liked The Surge and want more, do yourself a favor and pick up the expansion. Ready to get started? Check out our guide on getting into the new DLC park area over here!