Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wander around an abandoned amusement park, filled to the brim with hyper aggressive robotic mascots that are trying to kill you? In a classic case of “The Simpsons did it”, the latest DLC expansion to the solid Souls-like The Surge, players can once again enter the dystopian future of the CREO Corporation. However, rather than the oppressive, industrial complex mazes of the vanilla game, A Walk in the Park lets players gallivant their way through the destroyed remains of a corporate theme park—what Itchy and Scratchy Land likely looked like following Homer and company’s helicopter escape.
What I enjoyed about A Walk in the Park, at least as far as DLC is concerned, is that it can be accessed super early in a playthrough. Unlike The Old Hunters, players are able to hop on the train to Creo World after only completing the first section of the main game. However, as I discovered much to my irritation, you can only complete the first half of the DLC before you are forced back to the main storyline to complete a few extra missions before you are able to engage in the second half. Of course, you can blow through the entire thing in one go if you are on New Game+, however, a lot of the weapons and armour found in the DLC become kind of pointless at that point in a build, so pick the timing for your trip to CREO World carefully.
That is a minor complaint though, as one of those important aspects of a good DLC—at least in this reviewer’s opinion—is length and variety of new items. The actual length, if you play at a steady pace, is somewhere around six-to-eight hours, but as with any good Souls-like, there is plenty of farting around to do when it comes to exploring, finding secret items, opening up shortcuts, and simply soaking in the brutal but hilarious atmosphere of a theme park gone wild. As for the new items, the chance to equip Warren—your badass, post-future cyborg warrior—with a helmet resembling a fanged donut or a half-eaten chocolate bar, injected a much-needed dose of brevity and fun into a genre that often takes itself too seriously. Of course, there are other pieces of gear that are more fitting to the thematic aesthetic of the main game…but what’s the point in playing around in a brutal Wonderland-gone-wrong if you can’t dress up like one of the hilarious mascots you’ll spend most of your time dismembering?
Of course, one of the main draws in the Souls-like genre are the boss fights, and A Walk in the Park has two of them. The first, Squad Chief Helvig, is a humanoid boss that—unlike almost every other boss in the main game—was incredibly easy to defeat. I was both pleasantly surprised and immediately dismayed by this fact, once the adrenaline had died down. Simply run a block, attack, dodge for space to regain stamina pattern and this fight is a cakewalk. On top of that, fighting yet another humanoid cyborg didn’t really fit with the bizarrely hilarious theme-park-gone-mad setting. The final boss, on the other hand, was both challenging and thematically appropriate. Carbon Cat, the arch-enemy of Iron Maus, will offer players a fun and challenging boss fight that also has a secret achievement and weapon if players complete this fight while wearing the optional Iron Maus armour.
A Walk in the Park is a decent expansion to a game that flew under many players’ radar. It offers more of the complex and engaging combat as The Surge, set in a super creepy but rather funny setting. While I found a lot of the weapons to be simply more of the same, the mascot-themed armours and excellent level design elevate this DLC above many of its contemporaries. In an industry filled to the brim with lootboxes, micro-transactions, and in-game currencies, a classic, old-school expansion pack is a welcome breath of familiar air. If you liked The Surge, or if you like Souls-like games at all, it’s very much worth checking out. Solid length, excellent combat mechanics, some interesting items, and a fantastic boss fight make A Walk in the Park a great addition to an already solid game.
Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Brendan Quinn’s worksuch as his look at the relationship between comics and Hip-Hop, why the Witcher 3 was not as great as everyone thinks, and or which historical stories he thinks should be made into videogames!
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