The drone is powerful and useful in this one. It's entirely possible to sever body parts with strategically placed single shots and there is a variety of useful attachments. It is no longer just for pulling enemies.
Do not attempt to use the directional parry until you also get the implant that shows you the correct direction to use it on. Enemies have very fancy animations full of flourishes and the direction an attack seems to come from often isn't what the parry thinks it should be.
There are as many loopbacks in this game as in Surge 1, possibly more. Seriously, the game loves them. There is always another.
Most of the stuff for upgrades applies to this game as it did to Surge 1. You can skip levels of upgrades by producing the higher-level stuff right away, that sort of thing.
Armor sets now have two stages for the set bonus at half the pieces and all the pieces. Many are very useful. There are also certain cosmetic pieces of gear that count towards anything else you are current wearing. They will be marked accordingly.
In character creation, your choice of background isn't just cosmetic. Depending on your background, some merchants will sell different gear or implants. In most cases, you can just find them elsewhere, but the Dynamic Redirector implant (grants energy if you get hit) is apparently only available to players who choose to be a mining wars veteran or search & rescue operator.
Like in surge 1, you can get unique or v2.0 versions of weapons by beating bosses in a certain way. Generally this involves breaking their armor pieces before killing them, or killing them by performing a finisher on a certain part of their body. The v2 weapons are typically better than the boss's basic drop. Unlike the surge 1, you can still get the basic version of the weapon if you earn the v2 - it'll be for sale in the nearest shop. Here's a list of them in the order you'll encounter them. I removed the names so you don't get spoiled, but listed the areas they are found in.
Detention Center 2nd boss - Do a finisher on the right arm. Reward - singlerigged.
Port Nixon 1st boss - Break all the robotic arms before killing it. Reward - v2 poison twinrigged.
Port Nixon 2nd boss - Do a finisher on the right arm. Reward - hammer.
Gideon's Rock 1st boss - Either do a finisher on the right arm to get a one-handed, or do a finisher on the left leg to get a drone module.
Gideon's Rock 2nd boss - Break all its armor at least once before killing it. (You don't have to break it again if it regenerates) There's two arms to break in phase 2, and a head, body, and two legs in phase 3. Reward - v2 nano staff.
AID Command 1st boss - Break the mech's legs in phase 1 as well as its minigun in phase 2 for a drone module. Also, do a finisher on the pilot's right arm in phase 2 for v2 punching gloves with a powerful special ability.
CIT 1st boss - Do a finisher on any body part. Reward - one piece of his armor set (you have to wait til NG+ to get the rest)
Cathedral boss - In phase 2, break both robotic tentacles before killing it. Reward - v2 electric double duty with a special ability.
CIT 2nd boss - Break the tail before killing it. Reward - singlerigged.
AID Command 2nd boss - Do a finisher on the right arm. Reward - spear.
Great Wall boss - Break all of its armor before killing it. Reward - v2 heavy duty.
You can also get a v2 singlerigged weapon by helping the Stranger with all his sidequests. Some of these will fail if you progress the story too far, so prioritize them if you want it.
Like in the souls games, there are softcaps for the different stats you can level. In general all stats drop off to different degrees at 20, 50 and 100. The full details are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jdp2sln6t...Breakpoints.ods Some of the more significant breakpoints include additional batteries at 25 and 75 energy, and prevention of one battery decays at 50 and 100 energy. In my experience, I found it was sufficient to just level all my stats evenly, but stamina drops off pretty hard after 20. As energy determines how powerful your healing injection is, leveling at least health and energy evenly is a good idea, as doing this will ensure an injection always heals a similar percentage of your max hp.
Very early in the game, you'll meet a merchant named Rex in Seaside Court who offers you a sidequest. After telling him you've finished his sidequest, he will completely disappear from the game and only reappear again near the very end, many hours later. He sells a very useful drone module for 10k scrap that you can't get anywhere else (it doesn't use up ammo and pulls an enemy towards you, similar to the electromagnet from surge 1). Make sure to buy this drone module before telling him you've completed his sidequest. Grinding out 10k would be tedious this early in the game, but handily you'll get this much as a reward from the audiolog collection sidequest in the same location.
Later in the game, you'll get a sidequest from a doctor in Gateway Bravo. If you want access to her shop, do her sidequest before killing the boss of the area, and don't ask for a reward. She has some implants and gear for sale.
Midway through the game you'll get a notice in front of a door that basically says it is a point of no return. The game isn't kidding about this. Finish your sidequesting and exploring before going through.
In the late game, you'll do a sidequest for a scientist to power up an implant for him. You have the choice of either keeping the powered up implant or returning it to him. If you return it to him, he'll give you a unique weapon, and you can find the implant for free a bit later in the game anyway. If you keep it, you just get the implant earlier and no unique weapon.
Also in the late game, you'll run into a NPC who claims you owe him some tech scrap. It might seem like you can't pay him, but you can. Unlike every single other interaction with spending tech scrap, you need to have the scrap on your person, rather than banked at the medbay, in order to be able to pay him. He'll give you a drone module if you do. If you want it, don't tell him to piss off, just leave the conversation and use some scrap consumables then talk to him again.
Note down the locations of nanite walls you find throughout the game. You'll get the ability to open them late in the game, and while some are just shortcuts or have minor loot, others have unique implants or weapons behind them. In particular, there's one in the cathedral with an implant, and one in the underground with a weapon.