Having gone with a more futuristic approach, The Surge was a step in the right direction for Deck13. It was by no means perfect, but its contributions to its genre are still unique and intriguing. Yet I was surprised to hear that there were more places to explore and stories to tell and that DLC would be released. Enter ‘A Walk in the Park’, centred around CREO’s dilapidated theme park, of all things. It’s certainly a well-constructed area, but there are issues that raise interesting questions.
Accessing the CREO Theme Park involves a diversion to R&D in the main game, which triggers a distress signal that tells Warren to enter a particular door at one end of the area, signposted with an advertisement to show where it is. Once the door is entered and the broken lift descended, a whole amusement park opens up before you. It’s seen better days, with rogue mascots skulking in the park, waiting to murder unsuspecting wanderers.
Honestly though, it’s one of the better designed locales that The Surge has. Centred around one Operations point, much like the rest of the areas, this theme park is less of a funfair and more of a rabbit warren filled with corrupted animatronics and mad staff. Each attraction has its own hazards, enemies, and even shortcuts to take back after achieving the objective there.
Most basic enemies feel like glass cannons, however. They certainly hit like a truck, but they also drop with relative ease. What’s weird is that while the R&D department is about as difficult to navigate as this new DLC, the enemies here are more susceptible to trauma than the enemies found in R&D. Bosses do provide more of a significant challenge of course, but that’s mostly due to unfamiliar patterns rather than solid defences.
With new enemies, you’ll also be able to salvage new equipment. Some certainly add some cosmetic flair, but in terms of balance it is, again, on par with the R&D segment and not as good as gear found in the end-game. Those who have completed The Surge will find that the only real thing this DLC offers is a new area to explore with lore. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does raise an interesting dilemma.
The thing about A Walk in the Park is that it feels less like brand new content and more like cut content. From the way the player accesses the DLC, to the balance being closely related to the R&D Facility area it is accessed by, even down to the audio logs depicting a day in Warren’s life before arriving at CREO in a wheelchair. It took me a while to make this connection, but it was one of the more interesting points of the DLC.
It would be unbelievably cynical to suggest that this was actually the case without evidence, after all there were Tweets around the release of the base game to say there was no DLC planned, however the contents within and how they seamlessly integrate with the rest of the game are very striking to say the least.
So in a way, A Walk in the Park is indispensable for those who have played the base game. It feels in no way out of place, is an interesting locale to explore, and has plenty of new enemies to overcome. It’s just a shame there’s barely anything there for players who have completed the game in terms of challenge. This was something that, for better or worse, the other Souls styled game Nioh had done far better. Perhaps ‘A Cakewalk in the Park’ would have been a slightly better fitting title.