The Evil Within 2 Review – Spoiler Free
The Evil Within 2 is the sequel to The Evil Within which launched right at the beginning of the current console cycle as one of the main horror games out in the first year. The Evil Within 2 comes developed by Tango Gameworks and is published by Bethesda Softworks. It’s a survival horror game where you will play as Sebastian Castellanos who is still struggling with what happened to him during the horrible circumstances in the first game and is still working on investigating the dodgy organisation known as Mobius.
With The Evil Within 2, I wasn’t sure whether the game would be good or not. I spent some time with the first in the series as I do like survival horror games, but just couldn’t get into it at all. Something about that one just wasn’t right to me and as much as I tried to play through it all and finish, I just couldn’t and ended up hating that one. But with the second game, I started to see a few trailers for it and for some reason it got my interest. Having spent some time now with The Evil Within 2, I’m happy to say that actually I do think this one is a substantial improvement on the first game in the series.
I don’t want to go into too much of the plot or spoil it. But for the most part it’s fairly simple. Mobius, which is the dodgy company that Sebastian is investigating for some reason decides to fake the death of his daughter and put her in the town of Union, which is filled with lost souls, zombie creatures and all sorts of horrible things. Mobius of course wants Sebastian to investigate this place as they’ve lost control of it. From there, once you go in, it’s a bit of a survival journey where you are constantly investigating what’s going on in the town, while trying to stay alive.
Much of the game’s tone is dark and gloomy. Everything in it seems to happen at night and the sounds of the wailing undead all about the place does create a spooky atmosphere all throughout the duration of the game. While walking around and exploring Union, which is an open world environment, there’s always a feeling that there’s probably something lurking about to the left, right, or behind you. As a player, I always felt quite vulnerable when I did wander about out in the open and this was especially the case when I didn’t know where I was. This feeling of vulnerability I felt was exacerbated by the gameplay.
The Evil Within 2’s gameplay is quite restrictive in that you cannot run very fast or even run away for very long, your ammunition is always quite low and your ability to fight with knives and axes is limited to only a couple of swings which won’t save you against two or more enemies. All of these put together creates a sense of vulnerability, you need to aim well with your gun if you want to take down dangerous enemies quickly and also so you don’t run out of bullets and die. Or if you’re bad at aiming in a particular section and happen to pass it, but you wasted a lot of ammunition doing so, you’ll not have much to work with in the next stage of the game, which might have more dangerous opponents, or none at all, it’s like that, you don’t know what could come next.
Luckily for the player there is an upgrade tier system. Throughout the game as you kill more and more of the undead creatures you will pick up a sort of green goo, collect a lot of it and you can buy upgrades at the safe houses, which act as sort of save points. In here some things are quite valuable such as more health, increased stamina, increased strength and the best of all when it comes to ammunition, a reduced swing rate when trying to aim your gun. Speaking of weapons, there’s various work benches scattered throughout the map which you can use to craft ammunition or upgrade your weapons so that they’re more powerful, you can do this through collecting weapon parts as you explore Union.
The vulnerability aspect of the game was well done and plays well into the horror aspects the game is going for. But as a player, even though I had gone through and survived for some time. I had collected all the goo, got all the weapon parts and bought all the upgrades. I never really felt unstoppable. For me this is a little bit of an issue because I didn’t feel like I was progressing through the game easier in the later sections with all my upgrades, no matter what I did to Sebastian or what I bought him, he was always weak and the enemies were always way too strong. Having scarce ammunition at times when I needed it and then couldn’t find it anywhere in the world did make me frustrated as I couldn’t go through certain levels easily. At times like these you need stealth and the game does lean at times on its stealth mechanics, which are good and will get you through a lot of areas, but some enemies can’t be killed like that, which is even more annoying.
I played the game on the medium difficulty settings and while all sections were certainly not impossible to do, they did take me some time and left me frustrated more than scared or horrified most of the time. I was more in it for the story and should have went for the casual easy setting, but the long time gamer in me won’t let me do it. I imagine the harder difficultly would truly be difficult for me to complete, but survival horror veterans might love the challenge.
The Evil Within 2 does have a few quirks to it. I found that even though the tone is dark, gloomy and spooky, there’s little jokes littered throughout the game. Some of the text descriptions of items like the photographic slides have an almost care free light comedy tone to them and this helps to lighten up the game every now and then. Surprisingly there’s also a mini game which you can reach somewhere in the middle of a play through where Sebastian can participate in a shooting gallery of sorts and if he does well, he can win prizes. It’s funny to see such a serious character act in a fun way all of sudden and this was a welcome change of pace that I had a good time with.
As far as the graphics go, I thought they were decent. I played the game mostly on the PS4 and was impressed with the look of everything. Sebastian is well animated and the cut scenes are all enjoyable. The art style in this game leans towards being gruesome and while I wouldn’t say it was beautiful in any way, it was effective when it came to creating an uncomfortable environment for the player to explore and survive in. Monsters were all interesting and their designs were all creative and disgusting at the same time.
Overall The Evil Within 2 is an interesting survival horror game. It is an improvement on the first game in the series and will give survival horror players quite the challenge. The game nails it when it comes to the uncomfortable feeling you get when you are in a wide open world environement, but at the same time are completley vulnerable at any moment. While the difficulty can be frustrating at times and the upgrades I felt weren’t as effective towards the end as I would have liked, I thought the challenge was more than enough. If you like survival horror games, this one might be worth taking a look at some time soon.