Evil Within 2 Review
- Developer:Tango Gameworks
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Genre: 3rd person action/survival horror
- Release Date: 13/10/17
- Platforms:Xb1,PS4, PC
- Reviewed on: XB1 on 4k Samsung TV
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
3 years after the events of the first game, we find Sebastian Castellanos, drowning his sorrows in a bar, trying to drink his way out of the guilt he feels for the death of his wife and daughter. However Sebastian is then approached by his former colleague and Mobius agent, Juli Kidman, who tells him his daughters death was faked and she is in fact alive! The only way to save her though is to help Mobius enter the stem word of horrors once again to find their agents and his daughter. Desperate to atone for his mistakes of the past, Sebastian agrees to go down the rabbit hole of madness one more time.
It’s an interesting premise of a story line for this game, and fans of the series will like the link to the old game here in the new one. Having played a lot but not quite finishing the first game, I did feel compelled to go and finish it before wading through this one. However new players to the series can still enjoy this game without having played the first.
So off Joel, errr I mean Sebastian goes. I said Joel because this game has an awful lot of similarities to the playstation exclusive, The last of Us. Sebastian looks like Joel, deals with the same sort of enemies and Joel, and even some of the gameplay features like the workbenches to craft items are the same as what Joel has too.
The similarities to other games didn’t end there. The setting is very Alan Wake, and the gameplay is a little clunky in much the same style the Resident Evil games are too. Despite these similarities The Evil Within 2 does manage to find its own identity in this crowded room.
First of all the presentation is excellent and has much better graphics this time around. I wasn’t a fan of the narrowed screen from Evil Within 1, and it’s opened up to full effect of the screen here. What is standout is the artwork and design in the games surroundings. It’s mesmoronic, horror madness where-ever you look. Pictures on the walls, blood stains, and central to the core of the story, quite gruesome deaths caught in the instant of a camera shot, with bits of body and blood flickering everywhere. There is such a sense of foreboding.
Add to this the sound design is excellent too. From the softly hypnotic piano playing, to the all out terror of screeching noise when a horde of zombie like creature see you, the game knows how to create an uneasy, uncomfortable atmosphere.
The game will take around 15 to 20 hours to complete, and is almost a game of 2 halves. The first half is a few semi open world levels, that take a few hours each to explore, and then the second half a more linear focused affair. Therefore the pacing is a bit of an issue. Even more so is the juxtaposition of the story next to the way the game wants you to explore. For example you start off desperately looking for a clue to the whereabouts of Sebastian’s daughter, Sebastian then mumbles to himself and his contact how he needs to find here quick, and then proceeds to need 3 hours just to get through the first level. It’s kinda crashes against its own game design here.
The gameplay is a tough one to figure out. On the one hand the systems of upgrading, adding weapons, and using weapons, of which there is a great variety, is slick. Actually swapping between them in a heat of the moment battle, not. I can’t figure out though if this was intentional or not. It certainly adds to the tension like it does in the Resident evil games, that the controls are a little bit clunky, but then i found it hindered too many times and lead to too many deaths. Simple things like when you need to sprint, there is a pause and Sebastian seems to need to gather himself before he plods a bit faster than a walking pace run!
What is great though is the balancing and the reason why The Evil Within 2 is such a great game in it’s genre. For a good horror game to feel right, you always have to feel under armed, under prepared for every encounter, but somehow manage to win by the skin of your teeth each time. This game balances that feeling perfectly. You will die often quite early, but exploration rewards with much better weapons and a sense of at least a little firepower. Then though the enemies start to get slightly tougher. It’s balanced on a knife edge but is perfect.
The only real let down of the game is the pretty useless story, which separates the great games in this genre from the rest. It’s frankly, just flat out boring, and such a shame as the gameplay, ( for once ) really encouraged me to keep playing more to find more powerful weapons and collectables than the story did.
I wasn’t expecting The Evil Within 2 to be as polished as it really is. It’s been a long time since a game in this genre has got to these heights. Everything points to a great game except the sub par story which could have, at a push, propelled this game into the conversation of game of the year, ( yes really ) as it nails it in every other aspect.
However because it doesn’t it falls back down to just a good game, even more so if you like this sort of genre. Close but no cigar ……