The first Evil Within stood for creepiness and creativity for both monsters and surroundings. But while the boss fights and certain situations in dark and close areas were intense as hell, sometimes the game was a bit too much filled with simple action, especially during the end when you had all your weapons and just blow everything to pieces. These moments were intense but in a different way and I preferred the first mentioned kind of tension. A horror game shouldn’t have the option to be played like an action adventure. Or should it? Anyway, here we have the second part and I’m curious what’s new and what’s familiar.
The plot starts pretty fast and at first it kinda feels a bit forced. Sebastian Castellanos, the hero from the first game, finds out that his daughter – Lily – is still alive and “inside” the STEM machine, you know, that Matrix Simulator with an R rating where all the crazy surreal stuff happens. I’m not a fan of finding strange possibilities to bring dead characters to life, but her daughter wan’t really in the first game so it’s ok. Nevertheless I think there could have been a cooler way or situation that forced him back into this world. Plus you don’t get to really know Lily so I don’t really feel the need of saving here, saving my ass seems to be the way better option to be. All that sounds a bit too harsh, you get to know here during the progress of the game and of course it’s a father protecting his child where you don’t need tons of background information, but I felt like it was a bit too fast in the beginning and could have taken more time to introduce certain characters and the whole situation itself.
While the whole main plot is rather generic, it’s the side missions and effects that makes this story interesting. Just saving Lily isn’t the good part, but all the unfortunate events that happen during this time. The introduction of all these horrible but amazing designed creatures and the fighting against them is where the tension rises. That sounds obvious, but it’s so well done that it deserves an extra mentioning. There are moments where you forget why Sebastian is in this world and instead focus everything on that abomination that stands in your way at this moment. “The journey is the destination” fits definitely for The Evil Within 2.
Overall, even though most of the above sounds like criticism, these are just some parts that could have been a bit better, still story works well with the atmospheric gameplay and therefore helps delivering a great experience.
If you have played the first Evil Within you will get into the gameplay mechanics immediately. To survive you must collect and upgrade weapons and decide between stealthy or rather explosive problem solving. Both tactics require some thought and good use of your ressources though. And by sneaking past enemies and not killing them you save some ammo but you won’t get any experience from it to buy upgrades for yourself. And these updgrades are desperately needed when facing the boss monsters. Like in the first game I like this approach of kinda forcing the player out of the comfort zone into the confronting zone to get valuable loot and experience. Unlike other (stealth) games you won’t get a reward for successfull sneaking, the only way to improve yourself is fighting. Because when you HAVE to fight it’s good to have that little extra loot from previous fights.
The fights are again intense and require some skills and especially aiming. I (as a PC player) played with a controller and oh boy have I failed. I basically had to wait for the monsters to run up to me until I could see the enemies nostrils so that I won’t miss a shot with the shotgun. Or the crossbow.
The crossbow is back at it again with some new arrows but basically it’s your good old life saver from the previous game. I don’ have to explain how a crossbow works and most of the people know it from the first game so just be sure: It’s back and as good as always. But not just that. It seems like almost your entire inventory from the first part was transferred to the new game. That’s cool on the one side, I liked the equipment back then, but a few (bigger) improvements here and there would have been great. The gameplay as well, you sneak and stealth kill with your knife, you can have axes to insta kill zombies, there are trapwires to deal with, … again, it’s nice that it feels familiar, but it feels a bit too familiar. Like additional levels from the first game or a big DLC. And when you find “new” weapons it doesn’t fell like getting a brand new weapon, it’s more like “Finally I have it back, it was so useful in part one”. The overall gameplay was very good, so The Evil Within 2 is lots of fun to play as well buuuuut there could have been more new stuff to experiment with.
That was a lot of criticism, nevertheless The Evil Within 2 is a good game. The story is interesting and the gameplay is fun. However, I think it sticks too much with the concept of the first game and doesn’t try much new, it could have been more risky in bringing on new things. But monsters, environments and the whole story is new, so if you liked the great Evil Within 1, you will get along with it’s successor right away and besides it’s smaller flaws the plot is actually even better than the first one.