It seemed this game was a match made in hell for me, a bold statement to start a review with I know. But let me cut to the chase.
I am terrified of scary games, especially survival horror.
I used to love them as a teen, but something has clicked inside my head and now they set my teeth on edge.
The Evil Within 2 is no exception.
Rarely was I not on the edge of my seat, white knuckles gripping my controller.
Set 3 years after the events of The Evil Within, Sebastian Castellanos finds himself mixed up with an evil Umbrellaesque evil corporation named Mobius.
Reunited with the mysterious STEM device, Castellanos finds himself in another truly messed up psychological horror story.
The tone of the game is one of redemption, as Castellanos grimly presses forward to uncover the truth of the disappearance of his daughter.
STEMming the Tide
Admittedly for all of my reservations about playing a horror title, I found myself enjoying The Evil Within 2. Full of the usual “collect ‘em all to get the full story” fare these provide the player with more information on the various side quests scattered around the town of Union, which was a welcome surprise.
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Be it files, slides and residual memories, the collectibles help round out the world of The Evil Within 2. The residual memories even have a bit of mini-game to them. They take the form of static ghosts that the player must tune their communicator to get into focus. It’s not much, but it’s more than simply picking something up off the ground.
The player is generally free to roam around the town of Union at their own pace. The open world sandbox style is new for a survival horror title. The player is able to perform side quests for extra supplies and weapons. This ties back into the crafting experience laid out in the game and harking back to the Resident Evil series.
Healing with Herbs
Castellanos is able to obtain healing herbs which can be crafted into more powerful items. He’ll need them to help mend this many, many wounds. There are also the standard weapon and stat upgrade items. These allow the player to customise their playstyle to aid in cleaning up the nightmare realm.
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The jump scares were a little overdone as time passed, but they’re a horror game’s bread and butter. I did start to anticipate a few of them, so that softened the blow a few times. Not quite often enough though.
The subtlest was when the noise of the communicator came from my DualShock 4 the first time. It probably wasn’t meant to have that effect, but in a game about unexpected noises, that was about as unexpected as they come.
The Evil Within 2 became significantly less scary when I was able to see enemies from afar. I was able to plan my strategy accordingly — be it firepower or stealth — and there was less suspense and surprise.
Better Hide Under the Bed
Stealth is often a good choice, though going in guns blazing works well too. Just not every time. Enemies may become alerted to your presence and overwhelm you, especially on the harder difficulties. There is no shortage of big bad nasties and supernatural horrors in The Evil Within 2.
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Many of the locations were artfully laid out to really put a chill under your skin. I found myself snapping PS4 screen captures to go back into and view later. That’s how impressive and unnerving some of the scenes were.
The story is very meaty in The Evil Within 2 (no pun intended) which will keep players engaged for a good many hours. It’s not a game with a simple blow through narrative though. It takes time to see it to completion. Even more so if the player chooses to scavenge for the top tier upgrades and do all the additional quests.
Ultimately I found myself picking this title back up after the initial scares. I was hungry for more each time.
Maybe I’m getting over my fear after all.
The Evil Within 2 was reviewed on PS4 using a promotion copy provided to PowerUp! by Bethesda.
Game Title: The Evil Within 2
Game Description: From mastermind Shinji Mikami and the talented team at Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within 2 takes the acclaimed franchise to a new level.
White-knuckled terror - 9/10
Jump scares are still lame - 6.5/10
Scarily addictive - 8.5/10