The Surge offers a variety of combat scenarios. From slow-paced weapons that are bigger than you are to the lightning fast twin-rigged blades, the game has something for every player. The Surge is tough and the enemies are not shy about trying to kill you. Beating the system at its own game is the only way to win.
Strike direction and combos
The Surge offers two specific types of attacks: the vertical strike and the horizontal strike. These directions each have a button assigned to them. If you are a veteran of the FromSoftware titles, this may throw you for a loop. There are no light or heavy attacks.
Instead, both vertical and horizontal strikes move at about the same speed, depending on the weapon type you are using. Horizontal strikes are great for taking on multiple enemies at once or striking a fast moving enemy. Vertical strikes are good for hitting that enemies farther away or floating in the air.
Using these two attacks in different orders will afford you some incredible combos. Each weapon type has a variety of combos unique to them. Try out your moves and memorize them early on. A devastating combo may just save you in the late game.
The Surge employs a strange mechanic called energy, which appears as a blue bar under your stamina meter. It fills each time you hit an enemy. Energy is used for a variety of other things but its most common use it to sever the limbs of your enemies. This becomes important when you are crafting but it will also make fights finish a little faster.
Once an enemy hits a certain threshold, usually at about 1/5 of its health, it will become executable. If you have at least half a bar of energy, you will be able to hold the execution button for a brief second to violently and permanently separate the enemy from whatever body part you are currently locked onto.
There are two things to note about executions.
The first is that you can be interrupted while prepping it. If the enemy strikes you while you are attempting to severe a limb, you will have to start the process over again. It doesn’t happen very frequently but it is possible.
Second, you cannot kill an enemy that you are attempting to execute. If you keep attacking an enemy while charging the execution button, it will not die until the execution is completed. This comes in handy if you are looking for a particular piece of gear and are worried that you will kill the enemy too quickly. As long as you have the energy and you start executing before you strike the killing blow, the enemy will live.
Blocking is almost entirely useless in this game. It prevents a small amount of damage but is certainly not meant to be your go-to means of defense. Try dodging instead. There is a period while dodging that you are completely invincible to damage, which becomes invaluable when fighting some of the late game enemies. Learn how to sidestep boss swipes instead of blocking them or you will struggle through The Surge’s final hours.