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The Surge guide: Leveling up

Understanding The Surge’s unique upgrade system

Like any good role-playing game, leveling up is a huge part of The Surge. The more powerful you become, the easier the game is. With a game as challenging as The Surge, you are going to need all the levels you can get your hands on.

Core Power

The Surge uses a unique leveling system tied completely around the idea of Core Power. Unlike other games of this ilk, leveling up does not offer you an opportunity to place a skill point in a specific stat. Instead, it gives you a little bit of health and +1 to your overall Core Power. Your Core Power is your level, and your level is your Core Power. It governs everything that you can do.

All armor pieces and implants use Core Power. If you are level 25 and are wearing two arm pieces that cost two Core Power each, two leg pieces that cost three Core Power each, a chest piece that costs four Core Power and a head piece that costs two Core Power, you will have used up a total of 16 Core Power. This would leave you with only nine Core Power left to spend on implants. (More on implants in the next section.)

If you don’t have room for all the armor and implants that you want, you may need to shuffle things around or grind a few levels. Core Power essentially gates you from creating a super character. You can either have light armor and powerful implants or heavy armor and weak implants. You cannot have both.


Implants are your unique skills and your stat bonuses in The Surge.

Do you like to play with a lot of healing items in games like this? Good news! You can spend all of your available implant slots on healing items, giving you a dozen or more items to carry with you. Do you like to go light on healing items and make yourself into a walking tank? You can use one of those sockets for an implant that just gives you extra Core Power so you can equip heavier armor.

Other RPGs lock you into your path. If you buy lots of stamina and end up light on damage, you could be out of luck. The Surge is very much the opposite. The implant system allows for customization and experimentation throughout the entire game. This level of on-the-fly customization is refreshing for the genre and part of what helps set The Surge apart.

Tech Scrap

Tech Scrap is The Surge’s currency. When you defeat enemies, you will gain Tech Scrap. Most notably, you use Tech Scrap to level up your Core Power and purchase upgrades for your gear.

The Surge has a multiplier that is attached to Tech Scrap as well. The more enemies you defeat before returning to a MedBay, the more Tech Scrap you will earn per enemy defeated. This offers a unique system of risk versus reward. The longer you stay out, the more health items you use. The fewer health items you have, the more likely you are to run into a situation that you can’t handle. On the other hand, the faster you get Tech Scrap, the faster you can level up. It is an exhilarating combination.

If you get a little too greedy and perish out in the wilds, you will drop all of the Tech Scrap that you currently have. Your Tech Scrap from your previous life will remain on the ground when you wake up back in the nearest MedBay, waiting for you to come collect it. The Surge makes this even more stressful by giving you only about three minutes to reach your Tech Scrap before it disappears. You can increase this timer by killing enemies along the way.

Thankfully, The Surge also allows you to bank any excess Tech Scrap that you have in the MedBay. This is very helpful in the later parts of the game when each individual level up requires a ton of Tech Scrap at once.

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