A faint light in the darkness, the sound of Clair de Lune as you approach closer into the looking glass, closer to your own sanctuary against the evil within. It’s been 3 years since we stepped into the shoes of Sebastian Castellanos in legendary Shinji Mikami’s return to survival horror. Let’s find out how this sequel fares.
Right off the bat The Evil Within 2’s focus is a dramatic shift in comparison to the first game. Narrative is greatly improved here and if you are looking for a story then Evil Within 2 has got you covered. While the story has improved there is a part of me that feels a bit disconnected from it. The tone and the way the story was handled in the first game set in stone what kind of game I expected from here on out regarding the series. That isn’t to say the first game had a better story because it didn’t but what it did was create this sort of cheesy B movie type experience and all of that is gone from the sequel.
Sebastian Castellanos returns back to STEM, a system of multiple mind connected together, for one reason only and that is to rescue his daughter Lily. It’s a shock for Sebastian learning this because he believed his daughter to be dead due to a house fire. Familiar face Kidman returns as an agent of Mobius, the organization behind STEM, and aids Sebastian in locating his daughter. This is basis of the story without spoiling anything else. I appreciate the focus on the narrative this time around as it does motivate the player to continue on the journey yet at the same time I feel it takes itself a bit too seriously at times which results in me chuckling a few times at the acting and the lines being spoken by the characters.
Gameplay remains similar to the first game this time with an emphasis on action and exploration. The Evil Within 2 explores a more wide linear approach similar to Naughty Dogs latest games. I don’t want to say it is open world but it certainly feature a large map where most of your game time will be sunken into. Along with exploration and looting for resources you are also given multiple side missions that you can choose to do or not to. It really is the kind of exploration I enjoy. It’s not overwhelming and filled with endless icons all over the map. It is just enough to be fun and rewarding.
Now while an open area is fun to explore it does have its drawbacks. For starters you lose a large amount of interesting and potential setpieces that a linear game, much like the first, could have offered. Now there are still plenty of moments in this game that will make you squrim there is nothing really that is a standout moment. Because of the nature of this game’s design it becomes limited with fewer setpieces and a weaker variety of enemies to battle.
Remember the chainsaw dude or the safe head guy from the first game? There is no enemy in The Evil Within 2 that can stand toe to toe with those from the previous. There isn’t much more to say about the gameplay that isn’t different from the first. Everything is solid from gunplay to melee combat to stealth. Upgrading abilities and weapons returns with a new crafting system for ammunition. Everything flows nicely and progression is natural and rewarding.
Clocking in at about 20 hours I was able to finish The Evil Within 2 without much in the way of hindering my progress. Visuals remain similar to the first although I did experience a few instances of framerate dropping significantly. The game is not much of a looker and would have benefitted much from PS4 Pro support which oddly enough was not in the game to begin with. Beyond that, Evil Within 2 manages to capture the same creepy and unsettling atmosphere that was established in the first game.
When it’s all said and done The Evil Within 2 is a worthy successor to the survival horror genre and while it did not blow me away like the first game did, it still manages to be an experience worth having.
The Evil Within 2 is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Game was played on PS4 Pro.