The Surge, Deck13's sci-fi Souls-like, is free to take for a stompy mechanical test drive until Thursday, August 29th. If you decide you want to stick around in its cyber-hellscape, it's 75% off until August 30th. A good opportunity to see if its limb-lopping combat works for you before The Surge 2 lands on September 24th.
Essentially a futuristic, industrial take on the Dark Souls formula, The Surge tells the story of possibly the worst first day at a new job since Leon Kennedy joined the Raccoon City Police Department. Bolted surgically into a modular, upgradeable suit of armour called an Exo-Rig, you pass out only to wake up in the middle of a robot uprising, with most of your prospective co-workers reduced to little more than cyber-zombies.
As well as being a purely single-player experience, what sets The Surge apart from other Souls-adjacent hack n' slashers is its locational damage system. In melee combat, you can target individual limbs on most enemies and finishing them off with a targeted slash gives you a chance of salvaging whatever rig component you just sliced off. It's a compelling system, if a bit grisly.
It's by no means a bad game (and a significant step up over Deck13's earlier Lords Of The Fallen), The Surge always felt more like a proof-of-concept to me, and Jody Macgregor wasn't much more impressed in his review. Limited environment and enemy variety topped off with a scant handful of boss fights means this isn't going toe-to-toe with any of the Dark Souls series, but it should give you a taste for how its mechanised combat works before the more impressive-looking sequel arrives soon.
The Surge is free to try on Steam until August 29th, and 75% off (reducing it to £6.24/$7.49) until August 30th.