When Shinji Mikami brushed off his coat and returned to survival horror with the release of “Evil Within” back in 2014, I was elated. Why? Because I really enjoyed the game a whole lot (thus the reason why I played through it multiple times). Sure, “Evil Within” had its issues. Nevertheless, it was a nice return to survival horror, and I enjoyed it in spite of its flaws. Anyways, let’s get back to “Evil Within 2” Shall we? As I was saying, just three years later Mikami-San has taken the back seat for younger talent to lead the way. So John Johanas took on the role as the leading force for the “Evil Within” sequel (aka “Director”). Great! However, how much of an improvement is “Evil Within 2” over its predecessor exactly? Well, I’ll try my very best to answer that question for you.
For starter, Sebastian Castellanos is back again, and once again he returns to the STEM world in search of his daughter, but things go from “bad” to “fricken hellish” and soon Sebastian finds himself among utter madness from a psychopath that fancies himself as a “Gore artist” to horrid creatures that lurk in the darkest corners of a rotten mind. Right off the bat, I want to say that “Evil Within 2” improves on the previous game in almost every way such as the visuals, story, combat, sound and world design.
One of the key changes is the addition of open areas that you can explore and side-quests that can be completed. This takes place in a town called “Union” while walking around the monster infested streets, I got major vibes of “Silent Hill” (Because Konami can’t be arsed) and things just get even more chaotic as you progress through the 15-hour campaign. Union’s open space also makes a great opportunity for additional story telling whether it’s through friendly NPCs or bazaar delusions where Sebastian is stalked by Onryo a female ghost of pure malice.
This makes for a great change of pace from the linear sections of the game where you can go off and explore Union for crafting parts and weapons. The formula works really well. It doesn’t feel quite like a constant roller-coaster ride like the previous game did. You can gear up and tackle situations when you’re ready to do so.
This time the visuals and sound design are at a super-high quality. “Evil Within 2” is only on new gen systems so the team could focus their efforts on optimizing their graphics engine. The game runs at a solid 30FPS and doesn’t suffer the same dips the previous game had. The visuals look absolutely brilliant. Furthermore, the lightning and shadows are some of the best I’ve seen in a game! And that makes for a great murky atmosphere. I would also like to point out that the cinematic black bars that existed in the previous game has been completely removed in “Evil Within 2”.
The monsters in this nightmare are brilliantly designed. I honestly can’t imagine what mind they come from. Sound design also compliments this, the monsters that lurk sound absolutely terrifying and that makes them very identifiable. So much so that I felt my hairs rise on the back of my neck when hearing what sounded like something from “The Grudge”. Voice acting is also pretty good, but it’s also little cheesy at times, which is more down to the writing rather than the delivery.
When it comes to issues for “Evil Within 2”, there really aren’t that many. However, I’ve heard complaints about the controls, but I really didn’t have trouble with them. Even so, a quick 180 turn button is lacking especially due to the fact how difficult close quarters combat can be. Other than that, I never grumbled while playing “Evil Within 2”, I was invested throughout and shooting enemies in the head and hearing that satisfying squelch which is followed by a gory explosion (awesome stuff indeed!). Nevertheless, one thing should be mentioned. You see, if you were hoping for PS4 Pro support, there is none, no 4K or 60FPS, which is pretty disappointing.
“Evil Within 2”, isn’t as frustrating in the way the previous game was, there’s plenty of respite and there are no cheap jump scares; the majority of the fear is atmospheric. If you choose to you can play with aim assist, or pick from one of three difficulties, casual is like a walk in the park, great if you want an “Ash vs Evil Dead” vibe.
However, it’s not all about shooting everything that moves though, because the game provides you with plenty of stealthy options. In other words, you can just sneak past enemies (which is a viable option from time to time) or simply lure enemies out one by one. Furthermore, there are extras to be found once you have finished the game as well, and that adds plenty of replay value to the game. Extras such as extra weapons, difficulties and something from the previous game also returns, but I’ll let you find out for yourself.
I had finished “Evil Within 2” just under 15 hours, and I enjoyed every damn second of it. The atmosphere and the open world and the horrors that inhabit it made for a very enjoyable game. The story is absolutely mental and the creatures really are stuff of nightmares. So if you’re a fan or classic survival horror, then this game should be a no brainer for you. Especially in the month of October, as it’s time for Halloween and all that!
+ Horrifying monsters
+ Union is fun to explore
+ Quite a few jump scare moments
– No quick turn button
– No PS Pro Support
– Dialogue is a bit cheesy
Replay value: 4/5
“The Evil Within 2” is a very good survival horror game. So if you loved the last one or wished that it was a bit better, then you shouldn’t think twice about buying the sequel.
Title: The Evil Within 2
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Format: PS4, Xbox and PC (version tested, PS4)
Genre: Survival horror
Release date: 2017-10-13
Difficulty: Easy to hard
Spent time: +14 hours
Average grade internationally: 76.2% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: 18
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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