The Evil Within 2 invites players, once again, to sample Bethesda’s brand of survival horror.
2014’s The Evil Within Introduced us to Krimson City police detective Sebastian Castellanos, and a game very much inspired by Resident Evil. Of course, with Resident Evil 7, the classic horror series was rebooted, to great acclaim, for a modern audience.
Taking on board the criticism of the first game, and likely noticing RE7’s success, developers Tango Gameworks have tweaked The Evil Within 2’s gameplay. They have built on the first game to create something a lot more accessible.
Time has not been kind to The Evil Within. The muted colours, the film grain and comparatively low-fi visuals that I raved about at the time really do not stand up against more recent releases. I think a lot of the game’s acclaim came from the new-ness of the current-gen. Whilst a punishing difficulty with insta-death may appeal to the more masochistic gamers, it is possible to create an interesting and challenging horror game without torturing your audience.
For The Evil Within 2, Tango Gameworks have created a game aimed at winning back some of the players that many well have been turned of by the first game, but enjoyed Resident Evil 7. The Evil Within 2 still retains the classic Resident Evil third-person view, but also embraces clean visuals and gameplay that’s a bit more forgiving.
Set three years after the first game, Sebastian Castellanos has put the Krimson City Police Department behind him. But, when word reaches him that his daughter is still alive, he must once again confront the creatures that still haunt his dreams.
It’s a bit difficult going into the plot of this second game in any sort of detail without completely spoiling the twist of the first game. So, forgive me if I’m a little deceptive.
Sebastian finds himself in the town of Union, a supposedly idyllic place, where…you guessed it, the occupants have been turned into inhuman monsters. As well as looking for his daughter, Sebastian is also following the trail of a mysterious killer, as well as confronting his own past. The whole thing is pretty surreal and, at times, quite disturbing.
Producer, Shinji Mikami, does not stray too far from the survival horror mechanics that he pioneered back in 1996 with the first Resident Evil game. The gameplay is virtually identical. It’s ironic that whilst RE7, likely inspired the more polished look and feel of this game, with the latest Resident Evil taking that franchise in a new direction, it is The Evil Within 2 that carries the touch for traditional survival horror gameplay.
There are three difficulty modes: Casual, Survival and Nightmare. Casual and Survival are the recommended difficulty settings with Nightmare only for players that enjoyed the difficulty of the last game.
The stealth from the first game plays a major part in this sequel, but I found it a bit more polished and fairer. This time out my demise was 100% my down to me and not as a result of an unfortunate camera angle or just being plain unlucky.
As before, players can upgrade their character by going back to Sebastian’s safe area – a reconstruction of his office at the Krimson City Police Department. It is here that he pulls together all the information garnered in Union.
Whilst the maps are bigger, the game still manages to maintain an uneasy atmosphere and feeling of foreboding. You are pretty must kept on edge for most of the game. Even the more pedestrian moments like searching an empty house can be suddenly punctuated by a vision, or even a complete change of scenery. Like the last game, this one isn’t for the feint-hearted.
The Evil Within 2 most definitely builds on the last game. Some of the plot conceits from the end of the last game, make this feel like the extension of an already completed story. The heavy influence of Resident Evil is also hard to ignore. It is, however, an enjoyable game and good example of the classic survival horror genre.