The Evil Within is a game with a lot of content, so while we take our time to test this game on all aspects, we talk about a interesting new part of the game: The open world.
Open world games are the current trend. Lots of games switch to wide areas where characters can move freely and even existing open world games talk for hours about their new features in their bigger and better open world. And ok, I like it as well. Open world gives more possibilities and strategies and mostly creates new hours of gameplay just by cool situations, places or objects in that world.
Some games or game genres shouldn’t jump on that mainstream-train though. Games were the storytelling is the core aspect and players have to live through that story piece by piece. Mostly the open world games have great gameplay mechanics for simply having fun on a giant playground, while linear games with an unchangeable sequence of events usually give a (great) one-time experience. Of course you can play them more than once, but it’s like rewatching a movie. Open world games have their story and after that you can just stay in their world and create your own unique gaming moments.
And the one gaming genre that – in my eyes – simply cannot really work with open world is horror. But here we have “The Evil Within 2” (and maybe dozens of other open world horror games, congratulations to yourself for finding all of them and proving me wrong).
Mostly horror is about close quarters, that constant claustrophobic feeling that makes your body shiver. A wide area would give the feeling to simply run away or hide because you can see the enemy from far away. In all those horror movies (and games) they walk into hospitals and old buildings not only because they are old and nobody likes hospitals, but because of those long hallways, close corridors and small chambers. The first Evil Within did exactly this, the second one offers the wide area of an old town. Where you can rest way to often and after a few skills the easy monsters that walk through that open world are easier to manage and then it’s just walking from one mission spot to another. Of course I have to mention that the story missions have these close quarters that the first game had, but between that your are in that open town and as I said in the beginning, I could see the enemies from a long distance away so I just walked (not crouched or anything) around them. One time during a mission in the open world I was attacked by two monsters that were rather difficult to kill. In a small house or anything like it that would have been an intense hide and seek game. But here I just ran away across a huge field until the creatures lost me.
The main problem is that I’m not forced to face these enemies. Again, of course I have to do so during story missions, but this is about the open world. And here the horror aspect is hardly existent. The city is even bright enough to see everything very easy. I kinda felt like I was in “The Walking Dead” or something: A bit creepy every now and then, sometimes even moments of panic, but mostly action. Tension as well, but sadly not “Holy shit, it’s about to get me”-tension but rather “Sneaking between two guards to kill them, pls work”-tension. So the horror aspect clearly comes last.
So, do I like this open world? Actually yes. It’s a good designed and challenging open world, even if you can avoid fights like I said (you can’t avoid ALL fights). Scavenging for loot to get upgrades is fun, the town looks good with a small “Silent Hill”-touch, which is a plus of course. Fighting a group of four or five normal monsters is really cool, because you can only defeat them with strategy so you have to think instead of just blowing everything away. Therefore the stealth gameplay works very well. After all the aspects I didn’t like, I have to say I like playing in this open world, but because of different reasons.
Do I like Open World? Yes! Do I like this open world? Yes! Do I like “The Evil Within 2”? Yes! But “The Evil Within 2” would have been a better game without an open world.