The Evil Within 2
Pros: Pushes boundaries of first game, Amazing visuals,
Cons: Weak character interaction & Lack of variety in weapons
Developer – Tango Gameworks
Release date – October 13, 2017
Platforms – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Bethesda’s 2014 survival horror The Evil Within was a new entry into the list of games the publisher haven’t really looked upon with known franchises like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, a horror title was something new. With the lack of games falling under this genre, it was refreshing for many fans to return to something similar from generations before.
With the first title getting Resident Evil 4 Director Shinji Mikami to direct the game, many were thrilled to see what’s instore when the game arrives. And once it did the new world we were thrown in instantly consumed players with its thrills and difficult gameplay. Overall being received fairly decent and leaving many anticipated for a sequel.
At Bethesda’s E3 2017 Showcase, The Evil Within 2 was revealed with an even more foreign and bizarre atmosphere to grab fans in for a second scare. Coming later that October, this sequel is going to bring players back into the demented world powered by the STEM and with more of a personal story this time around.
Three years after the events that happened at Beacon, protagonist Sebastian Castellanos blaming himself for what happened to his partner Joseph Oda and reflecting on the tragedy that took his daughter then was later abandoned by his wife. Sebastian drinking his sorrows away until double agent Juli Kidman found Castellanos. Asking for his help to fix what’s wrong in STEM, Kidman truly convinces him to assist by revealing that his daughter Lily was the new Core for the project.
Arriving in the fictional town of Union, Sebastian runs into new obstacles as he is in his pursuit to finding his thought to be dead daughter. Sebastian soon discovering that the psychopath Stefano was the one who found took Lily. Later confronting the photographer to find out that taking Lily was an order from someone else, but he would keep her for her powers in STEM. After killing Stefano, Lily was then taken from Sebastian’s wife Myra, to keep her safe from anymore dangers from the help of Father Theodore.
Theodore said plan was to help Myra get Lily to break her from STEM and destroy Mobius, but soon after the encounter Theodore went insane and took Lily for him. Sebastian with help from Yukiko Hoffman rush Theodore’s stronghold to take Lily back, but Hoffman dies in the process. Later confronting Theodore, Myra appears, kills Theodore and takes Lily. Leaving Sebastian to pursue Myra.
Sebastian eventually reaches Myra for Lily’s rescue as she now wants to keep Lily safe in STEM away from the real world. Resulting with Sebastian having to fight her to realizing what she’s done wrong. They then plan to escape from STEM, Myra sacrifices herself to destroy STEM and kill all Mobius operatives as Sebastian escapes with Lily. Kidman assisting in the real world as she betrays Mobius as she buys time for the escape from STEM. Finally returning to the reality, Sebastian and Lily say their goodbyes to Kidman as they drive away and hoping this is the last time experiencing the nightmare.
Overall for The Evil Within 2’s plot, it does what it has to help progressing the story. Managing to imitate what the first predecessor was for the first half, but coming to the second half was different then what was introduced to us. Taking a more personal direction was something new and it did its job. Story is more of a weak point for the series, but it was good enough to influence the world and keep players occupied until they reached the end.
With secondary characters being introduced throughout, the dialogue was mostly chatter and forgettable. Characters didn’t grab much emotion and never really venture outside of their safe houses. As said before, they do their job for the story, but not much else to making the game feel more alive.
Like the first, the gameplay of The Evil Within 2 is a difficult as the first. Playing on Survival difficulty keep me on the edge of my seat to watch for my health, ammunition and constantly for enemies in the world. Enemies dealt a good amount of your health if they were able to catch you, and with the variety of hostiles that inhabit the game’s world would stress the difficulty more than what you expected.
Upgrades for the game have been redone with a more in-depth concept that covers more than in the first game. Green slime is now used for Sebastian upgrades and weapon parts for upgrading weapons. Sebastian has five skills to upgrade that branch off as you continue upgrading: Health, Athleticism, Combat, Recovery and Stealth. More of an advancement than an upgrade, as previously was more general and didn’t cover more.
Stealth got an upgrade from the original game as the sequel introduced a cover mechanic. Allowing you to rest behind obstacles to hide or sneak past unaware enemies. Players could transition from cover-to-cover by looking and pressing the action button (A or X). Upgrades for this skill helped further you like moving faster with crouch and even predator traits to kill enemies more efficiently.
For standard combat it’s similar as the first one, aim for the head is usually the best option. With weapons primarily similar to the first, there are variants that change gameplay slightly like the silenced pistol or pump action shotgun for faster hits. Would have been nice to see a wider roster of weapons instead of the similar but different ones from the first. Enemies slow and fast as said before will deal a good amount of damage on regular difficulty, making every shot count as how scarce ammo can be.
With the sequel being exclusive to current gen console only, Tango Gameworks was able to take advantage of modern hardware to enhance visuals on the STEM Engine. Detailed environments, fog-filled corridors, and dimly lighted rooms went a long way to keeping me eager to stop and screenshot areas that left me in awe.
Playing on Xbox One X, the game is X Enhanced and all screenshots shown is in “4K” (3200×1800). Along with both enhanced consoles players are given the option to unlock framerate, but on the One X it doesn’t move too far from base 30 when doing my playthrough.
Character models are fairly detailed when reacting to lighting and mood, but still a bit awkward compared to the surrounding environments. Enemies especially share more visual pleasure to look at with the amount of detail varying in their distorted appearance.
Other elements that make the game more unique in its look are the added film grain. Working along with the enhanced locations and well done character visuals result with a grimmer aesthetic that what made the first memorable. Along with finishing the game gifts you with letterbox mode. A cinematic mode in the first game that is more zoomed in, and in a way hinders players as you can’t see some parts of the screen, but gives a more original visual if playing another round on new game+ or a higher difficulty.
The Evil Within 2 is a solid horror title that has been keeping fans occupied as there are very few of them in the genre. With some problems inhabiting the game from giving it a higher score, this is still a title that you won’t want to give a pass on. Visually pleasing and fair enough gameplay is what make this sequel worth the go. Coming past the halfway part of this generation, The Evil Within 2 is a staple for showing the capabilities of current and future platforms.