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Effective horror usually takes a highly directed experience – careful directorial control over each plot beat to keep carefully the tension building, a hand guiding the camera to be sure to see whatever horrific creature lurches behind the protagonist. The Evil Within 2 turns this genre necessity on its head, letting you explore at your own pace but, as though by magic, without lessening the pressure essential for horror to be scary.
2014’s The Evil Within wasn’t practically this ambitious. Despite work from major names such as for example Resident Evil mastermind Shinji Mikami, that debut effort from developer Tango Gameworks was somewhat disappointing. Though it had an excellent setting, it had no sense of pacing, a good amount of frustrating boss fights and boring writing that managed to get hard to value the characters.
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I’m currently eight hours in to the Evil Within 2, and what’s most impressive up to now is how this sequel addresses every individual complaint about the first game one at a time, like it’s working through a checklist. And it can all of this along with greatly expanding in scope and freedom.
October 12, 2017 – The First Eight Hours
If you skipped from The Evil Within, don’t worry. The sequel continues the story of hard-luck now-ex-cop Sebastian Castellanos, nonetheless it doesn’t require a understanding of the initial so much as a willingness to provide into the game’s off-the-rails narrative. 3 years following the first game’s murder investigation gone wrong, Castellanos is forcibly recruited by a mysterious organization called Mobius and thrust back to the “STEM” world, another reality where (once more) persons have begun turning out to be monsters which exist on your body horror continuum between your works of Raimi and Cronenberg.
As the gruff Castellanos is forget about of an engaging character than last time around, he at least includes a more personal motivation. His daughter Lily, who he believed died in a tragic fire years back, is alive and trapped in the STEM world aswell. It’s a tiny and cliché addition, but those added stakes do wonders for The Evil Within 2, providing some real momentum and grounds for Castellanos and the player to keep pushing forward.
By leaping straight into the STEM world, The Evil Within 2 can be in a position to immediately embrace one of the better areas of the first game: how completely batshit weird it got in its later segments. The sequel finds Castellanos jumping between odd locales immediately. One second he’s in a strange, slow-motion killer’s ornate memorial, and another he’s walking through a warped flashback of Beacon Mental Hospital, the setting of the last game. The Evil Within 2 waits for the complete moment I’ve my bearings in a spot, then rips the rug of reality out from underneath me.
The majority of my first eight hours with The Evil Within 2 has been occur a sleepy city called Union. It had been built by Mobius to be the perfect alternate reality utopia, and Castellanos calls it “any town, USA.” That type of broad evocativeness works in the game’s favor, creating a lot more of a feeling of place compared to the first game ever accomplished. Tacky art hangs on walls, neon signs flicker above small-town shops, and mundane junk litters closets and office desks. Union could be a fake alternate reality where one can travel through computers to get from location to location, but Tango Gameworks puts in your time and effort to make it feel just like a genuine, recognizable, lived-in place – albeit the one that has sunk into devastation and terror.
Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
Beyond just being truly a more interesting setting, Union introduces one of the primary departures The Evil Within 2 takes from its predecessor: large, open locations. You can spend hours exploring every inch of Union, and the overall game rewards that thoroughness with an increase of of the limited resources Castellanos must survive. I scoured the auto shops, visitor’s centers and abandoned train yards at length, digging up ammunition and crafting material. The town is intricately designed and peppered with gifts around in a manner that really encourages taking your time and effort.
Naturally, with a bigger area to explore come side objectives aswell. The Evil Within 2 enables you to find optional quests by pinpointing stray frequencies with a “communicator,” sort of walkie-talkie that Castellanos carries with him. These extra tasks range between mundane resource drops – you’ll find many Mobius soldier corpses with a whole lot of ammo and pouches that boost your carrying capacity – to totally new areas and fully fleshed-out subplots. You never really know what you’ll find by carrying out a stray signal, making me want to hunt every one of them down.
I’m astounded incidentally that The Evil Within 2 takes light “open-world” gameplay and helps it be work within a horror context. I’m used to horror games being strictly linear; sure, the first Evil Within had a few large rooms to fool around and try different combat strategies in, but there is always an individual path forward, keeping the the pace in step. Within Union, you can go in virtually any direction you want, yet the pacing doesn’t suffer.
Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
I’m still uncertain how Tango Gameworks accomplishes this, but even while I’ve run along the same street for the sixth time, it keeps throwing surprises at me. On my initial pass, I’ll clear a garden packed with enemies. Next time through, a new you have spawned in a just-hidden-enough location to create me jump with surprise. Or I’ll run past a residence I’ve already rummaged through, but I’ll hear a female scr