When Tango Gameworks released The Evil Within several years ago, many got excited as it’s the first project from the famed Shinji Mikami, director of the first Resident Evil game, for the company. The expectations for the game were quite high as many thought the game could rival the popular Resident Evil series. Unfortunately, the game didn’t do much justice. The game was not perfect by any means as it had flaws but many really liked the idea of the survival-horror genre being back mixed with a psychological-thriller embedded to it. To give the series one more chance to shine, a sequel was born but this time, it has a far different approach than its predecessor. It’s far better than its predecessor, but it still has flaws that needs to be noted.
One of the notable changes that you get to see the moment you play the game are the visuals. Compared to its predecessor, The Evil Within 2 visuals look stunning and a lot better than the first game. The character models and environments were enhanced and look very detailed, especially the textures. For those who are playing the game on the PS4 Pro, it’s sad to say that the game doesn’t have any PS4 Pro-exclusive features, except for its boost mode that allows you to experience a more stable frame rate of 30 frames per second. Sadly, the frame rate is locked at 30 frames per second, and HDR is not supported in this title.
The atmosphere in The Evil Within 2 is bizarre and somewhat gory. It has this eerie feel to it that wherever you go in the game, there’s this creepiness vibe to it that you will get to experience. The enemies and all sorts of weird-looking creatures and are incredibly well-designed to give that scary atmosphere as you meet them in the game. Throughout the 14 chapters in the game, there are frequent jump-scares that you’ll encounter that is guaranteed to freak you out. In terms of its audio, the game has a creepy ambiance and a soundtrack ready to let you experience the horror the game has to offer. If you have a pair of headphones lying around, it’s best that you use them whenever you play this game.
As far as how the story goes, it has this cinematic feel to it. The plot is very decent and will intrigue a lot of fans who have played the first game. Several years after the events of the first game, former detective Sebastian Castellanos is back but this time, he is distraught over the loss of his wife and daughter in a fire. Giving him a chance to amend his past and possibly change it to save his daughter, he joins this organization where will have to save his daughter from the unstable world of Union. He’ll enter this alternate reality once again where he was once but this time, in a far more deadlier place.
In his journey to save her daughter in Union, you will be surprised that the game has now changed to a semi-open world gameplay. Instead of having a linear adventure, Sebastian now has the freedom to explore a big town and possibly participate in quests that further expands the story. Aside from Sebastian trying to find his daughter, there are also other characters that he will encounter that most likely needs saving to get out from the nightmare they are in.
Exploration is now a big thing in The Evil Within 2. There are several quests aside from the main ones that you can tackle in Union. As you trek along the perilous town, it’s encouraged that you search every nook and cranny as it might have an item that you can use later on. With exploration being emphasized this time around, there are good and bad things about it. With the good thing being able to really find out more of the story and giving a new take to the horrors Tango Gameworks has envisioned. There are also bad things about itand that’s the pacing. A copious amount of quests in The Evil Within 2 require back tracking and it really drags the game down at some point. Between the linear and open-world gameplay, I rather pick the latter as it gives more value and the freedom of being able to explore is always a good thing.
Combat feels uninspired and very similar to its predecessor. If you find the first game to have clunky combat, it’s almost the same in The Evil Within 2. The shooting and weapon handling is subpar. It can actually cause anxiety to some as the aiming can be sluggish at times. Though there’s an opportunity to upgrade Sebastian’s skills to make up for the sluggish combat. Not to mention that weapons are now upgradable but they will require you to search for Weapon Parts that are scattered throughout the world. If you think the game is too hard for you, even the Survival (Normal) difficulty, there’s this much easier and forgiving difficulty that has a lot of ammunition where Sebastian can go crazy killing off the enemies.
For horror fans out there, The Evil Within 2 still has the emphasis of a survival-horror game. When playing on the normal difficulty, the ammunition and items that you get are scarce and will let you think at times whether it’s time to use your weapons or not, or rather do a stealth kill to save the ammo. Throughout the 14 chapters in the game, you will be thinking twice about using your weapons and it’s a good thing for fans of the survival-horror genre as it gives them the challenge that many horror games lack nowadays.
In addition to simply shooting your way out of the monsters and getting through the story, there other things to do in the game like collecting files or uncovering the keys for the locker room that contains secret items. For completionists out there who want to 100% the game, there are about over 40 files hidden throughout Union that contains secrets and more background information of the town. There are also 30 keys scattered throughout the game where you can use them in locked lockers that contains items that can be used later on.
As far as performance goes, the game performs well most of the time. As mentioned earlier, the PS4 Pro Boost mode helps to stabalize the frame rate but it doesn’t improve the texture pop-ins that occur most of the time in the game. It’s not really game breaking as the game is still smooth nevertheless.
Tango Gameworks did a remarkable job with The Evil Within 2. While it remains a survivor horror game, the semi-open world design reinvigorates the gameplay experience. Fans of the genre looking for thrills and chills this Halloween will be impressed with The Evil Within 2. With an interesting plot, eerie atmosphere and environments that will leave you in shock and awe. However, keep in mind there are some technical problems, including texture pop-ins, along with sluggish combat. Even though this might prevent some from giving it a go, fans of the original should definitely consider The Evil Within 2.
[Editor’s Note: The Evil Within 2 was reviewed on the PS4 Pro platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]