The Evil Within 2
- Developers: Tango Gameworks
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Players: 1
- Platforms: Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows
- Release Date: 13th October 2017
- Microtransactions: No
Love, Building On Fire
In The Evil Within 2 you play as Sebastian Castellanos, the hero from the first game. Haunted by the memory of your daughter being burned to death in a house fire. You are racked with guilt over the fact you couldn’t help her. Your partner Kidman (who has a great ass by the way) contacts you and tells you you daughter is alive, she is the core of the STEM. The STEM being the shit hole mental realm that Sebastian survived in the first game, he’s not overly chuffed about going back.
So whilst being tore apart with guilt, and still stilling with all the PTSD you can shake a stick at, Seb is sent into the STEM to recover her. That’s your set-up
Burning Down The House
The Evil Within 2 starts with it’s camera up your ass, before attempting a little bit of heart string tugging. You see your home in front of you… We I assume it’s your home, Sebastian can be a bit of a mentalist, so he could be prepping for a home invasion. The house is a blaze, you run toward the building, panic! Your daughter is inside!! double panic as you move the camera…DEAR GOD it’s horrible. Smash through the window, up the stairs SWEET BABY JESUS this camera is hideous in enclosed areas, like say the house you are forcing me through straight away. You get to your daughters room and hit full blown in the face poor voice acting 101. A ghostly daughter arrives and we are dealt fake out #1 of the game.
Welcome to The Evil Within 2, the intro did nothing for me, but it’s there as the platform of motivation, it doesn’t have the weight of The Last Of Us, but very few games achieve that kind of emotional pain.
Now the first Evil Within was a complete and utter mess (in my opinion), so I wasn’t overly confident that much will have changed in this one. The camera crawling up my ass, the floaty turning and the fake out so early on. Honestly I was concerned…
Along comes chapter 2, pretty visuals are about. Some very heavy Twin Peaks influence in the look of this level. With a main villain slowly being introduced to us, an artist whom takes a snap shot at the point of death. Trapping the victim in a perpetual loop of the last few seconds of their life. I like it, but still nervous, not down to the atmosphere, just nervous the game will at any moment just screw itself out of the good will it’s earning from me.
We carry on, having some very nice visuals. Not pretty looking sweeping vistas like Horizon Zero Dawn, but more murderous and differently pretty. Stepping into chapter 3 was when the game itself truly begins.
Taking it’s cues from Resident Evil 4‘s intro, chapter 3 has you coming across some strangely possessed individual, and having to dispatch them. Then moving onto to a loving nod at the village opening in Resident Evil 4. We are then given a open piece of the world to investigate. At this point I had a smile on my face. You can taste the RE4 heritage in the game, Shinji Mikami seems to have hit his stride again. But will it hold out?
The Evil Within 2 plays in multiple ways. You have open(ish) world sections, where exploring is a must. Linear point A to point B levels, and heavy stealth sections.
Stealth played apart in the first game, but was ultimately pointless as I recall, this game really ramps it up, especially in the early game when you and your weapons are weak. Sneaking around and getting those stealth kills is really important because you want that sweet sweet green gel.
The enemy A.I is very squiffy, I played on default difficultly (Survival) and found their detection a bit hit and miss. There’s nothing more frustrating than sneaking up like a filthy ninja, only to get within kill range and the shit bag notice you. In the later game this doesn’t matter so much because your more upgraded, and have better weapons to dispatch the zombie shit-bags.
During the game you come across a few pure stealth sections or “feck up and you will die” sections. Having not played them on the hardest difficulty yet, they were manageable, I can imagine these being a utter pain in the ass at higher difficulties. You can upgrade your stealth sneak ability, which leads me on to…
Memories Can’t Wait
Upgrades return from the previous game yay! You must collect green gel from fallen foes, then spend that lovely sticky icky on making yourself a better person.
You have skill trees to upgrade, Health, Agility, Recovery, Stealth and Combat.
All pretty much self explanatory, with the occasional “special” ability you can unlock by fully upgrading a path.
Along with upgrading your body and mind, you can pimp your weapons too. Reload Speed, Rate Of Fire, Capacity and Power. I like being able to upgrade my weapons throughout a game, tis fun. Although, for fully upgrading a weapon, you don’t unlock a special perk with that weapon (like in Resident Evil 4).
But you do unlock special buffs for the Warden. What’s the Warden? It’s this game crossbow, the previous games crossbow was called Agony. Name change is all I noticed, but not having the first game seared into my brain I could be wrong.
You get various bolts throughout The Evil Within 2, to help dispatch the baddies. All with different traits such as: Explosive, Freeze, Shock, Smoke and Harpoon. When you upgrade these to the max, they get a perk eg. the Harpoon bolt at max upgrade adds fire to it attack. So these thing are pretty sweet.
My first play through, I just used the pistol, the laser sighted pistol, max upgraded. Until, I unlock the revolver, then that was it.
Houses In Motion
The Evil Within 2 is a far superior game compared to it’s prequel, it’s a pretty good game by itself. The problems I have with the game are small for the most part. So let’s just tackle them, these are my problems with the game.
The camera can be very very frustrating at times, especially down the corridors and tight rooms. I understand this is to evoke tension but it just feels frustrating.
There are a few enemies in the game, particularly the white women with knives, that get so close that you can’t aim at them, and your regular melee attack often doesn’t phase them. They are close enough, that bringing your weapon up, your arms will actually be aiming past them.
Enemies seem to have invincibility frames, I’ll shoot someone in the head, they go through their “I’ve been shot in the head” animation and immediate follow up shots seem to do no damage.
This happened to me so often, that my tatic became shoot them in the head, wait until they return to default, shoot them in the head. Repeat until dead. It’s a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.
One hit kills return, this isn’t to bad. It’s mainly bosses or mini-bosses, so you won’t feel to ripped off.
Final complaint is an odd one…
Born Under Punches
The game takes itself far to serious, deciding to play the straight man all the way throughout. The problem with the serious angle is, if you don’t execute it well things come across poorly.
The voice acting isn’t great, but it not cheesy enough to get a laugh out of it. It’s serviceable to get the story across, yet not enough to evoke emotion. Being as serious as it is, means the atmosphere dark and down. After 2-3 hours of playing though I became desensitized to the “Horrors” around me.
The game never had me scared, this isn’t a macho thing, it just never got to a point where it was scary. The story will tell you time and time again that was you are seeing or experiencing was scary. But, it just wasn’t.
At the beginning it was a little tense, the not knowing. But as I said, after 2-3 hours or so, you’ll be playing this action stealth game just to enjoy the visuals, learn about the story.
And She Was
So with all that said, where do I stand on the game.
I found myself enjoying the story, but not so much the performances of the voice actors or script. The boss fights are a little hit and miss, but overall pretty nice.
My first playthrough took me 22:40:5, I collected 39/40 files, 9/11 slides, 29/32 keys, upgraded all but 3 of my bolts, and nearly completely levelled my character up. The fact that I even bothered to collect these items, and use the term “My first playthrough” should tell you that, overall I enjoyed the game.
Play it for the journey, the story and some nice crazy visuals. Also if you are a Resident Evil 4 fan, this should tick some boxes for you.
- Some great enemy designs
- Plenty to collect and unlock
- Story is interesting
- Reminds me of Resident Evil 4 (thats a pro for me)
- Poor voice acting
- Too serious
- Lack of scares