The Evil within 2 is not for the faint of heart. I love watching horror movies but rarely plays them. I could never dare enter a room that is as dark as dungeon, stay damn calm when everything is so eerily silent and pretend that my heart isn’t pounding at my throat thinking anyone or anything can jump anywhere! Anyways, I’ve survived through it – screams, paranoia and all!
Developed by Tango Gameworks who gave us the predecessor and published by Bethesda Softworks, I regrettably never did play the previous The Evil Within but I have loads of respect for this game but it doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Release Date: October 13, 2017
This review is based on a review copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
You play the role of Sebastian Castellanos, an ex-cop, and at the beginning of the game you see their house burning down. He struggled but tenaciously tried to save his daughter, Lily, who was trapped in her room. As he rushed inside, he saw his little girl safe and unscathed. Hugged her and promised her that he will be there always to protect her. A very tender and warm scene where all of a sudden she turns into this venous monster who screamed at the bottom of her lungs. Screech so loud and unexpected, my heart almost skipped a beat. Then, I knew this is going to be a hellish gameplay. Obviously that was only his imagination as he really wasn’t able to save his daughter and in fact died on that fire. He spent years depressed, isolated with all the tragic events that has befall on this relentless hero.
Out of the blue his former colleague, Juris Kidman, approached him and dropped the bomb by saying that her only daughter, his little girl, is alive and well hidden somewhere. So he had no choice but to go with her – by a form of kidnapping, and was brought to Mobius. An Umbrella type of Corporation where they created a STEM universe and created an idyllic town called Union and Lily was their core. Lily’s death was faked because Mobius needed her innocent mind and now, she needs to saving as she went dark. Soldiers and Specialist were deployed to locate Lily (the Core) and to stabilize the STEM since it’s growing uncontrollable every time. But they too went dark and undetectable. Sebastian was their only choice but hesitant as he was furious at Mobius in staging everything – but this was his only shot to be with her daughter once again and entered STEM.
As I was expecting to be transported to a quaint little town with lush vegetation and greetings from warm citizens. I was carried to this unearthly building with distorted portraits which I specifically hated the framed eyeballs as they blink every now and then in the corner of your eyes! Here, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the Soldiers who were set out to find the Core, unfortunately he was trapped in this Boomerang type of replay where his head was blown off by a gunshot. It was so freaky that I had to pause for a second to digest everything that I see in front of me. Then the realization sinks in that someone who is more powerful than you is roaming around this building that could potentially kill you in a second. Gruesome scene doesn’t end there; hallways switching, phones ringing, bodies hanging and mutilated bodies formed as ‘artwork’ lie about this place. This was the work of a Psychotic, former war photographer artist named Stefano Valentini who also kidnapped Lily. Sebastian then sets off to find this culprit only to find out that there is something more to this that he isn’t ready for.
Finally, I stepped into Union – collapsing and overrun by zombies. I love a good zombie gameplay but dang! These things do not only run fast but they are quite smart too. Hiding behind closed doors is useless as they can push through these doors that will leave you cornered. Once they spot you and scream, you better run as soon as you can as reinforcements will surely come . I tried running from them by climbing a ladder but I was amazed when they knew how to climb! A bug though it happened once, this lady zombie with a knife (kinda like The Witch in Left for Dead) was running around in circles and was invulnerable to melee and gun attacks. Combat gameplay is not perfect as firing guns is clunky but Survival mode made it really challenging as you are frequently ganged up on and always low on ammo; very challenging and whenever you meet enemies, it’s a retreat and shoot type of exercise.
As you play along weapons could be really strong especially when gain enough machine parts and upgrade them with the basics such as firing rate, firing power, ammo capacity and reload speed. One of these weapons that you will gain is a Sniper which is really sweet when you want that safety distance while you blow off some powerful Zombie heads, if only Tango Gameworks added a feature where the crosshair doesn’t sway too much because ammo are scarce and producing this takes a lot of materials. Stealth is also an option which i also prefer as much as I can because I don’t use too much ammo. You can hide in between bushes which camouflages you and lets you sneak kill these zombies. You can also upgrade your abilities by collecting green gel from these vile monsters and you can enhance your sneak kill by killing them while waiting at a corner.
Storyline will always keep you on the edge as you get vague hints from your communicator where to go and side quests are very useful and quite fun on its own as you search for ammo or pouch upgrades or will lead you to safe houses to, well, keep you safe and alive. This game also uses atmosphere to add to that horror effect. LIghting couldn’t get any better for this game. At times, houses are illuminated but not really to tell you that there is a collectible or an important story there but to add a ghostly atmosphere to a dying community. It promotes a feeling of doom and sinister where you can’t help but always be wary and cautious in your surroundings. This was also dubbed as an open world but it’s not. It’s just a place with big areas. But it didn’t really affect the game experience, I love it that every nook and cranny is an opportunity to find a collectible: health bush, ammo, machine parts or that delightful key locker statues (play the game so you will know what it unlocks!).
In general, the macabre that The Evil Within 2 brings is spectacular that times you can’t help it but admire the ‘artwork’ it supposedly brings. The adverse perception of this game: portraits coming to life, a door that wasn’t there in the first place, walking on stairs that you didn’t realize was there – messing up your sense of directions gives a foreboding horror while you explore. Best moments with this game were the boss fights, these monsters are thematically beautiful and well thought of. The approach in defeating them is different from the first, so you cannot use the same strategy twice.
It’s joyous to see something subtle but a sickening twist to it. The part where you are completely surrounded by darkness and in a second you were surrounded with a roomful of hanging-cloth-covered bodies with blood dripping from their legs. You can’t help but imagine and say to yourself, “what if they are all alive and start shaking at the same time.” or “they drop to the ground and start chasing you about”.
There are some jump scares, sure. But the developers made sure that they don’t scare players with those familiar horror tropes that we all see in the cinemas. Every little detail gets under your skin and eventually plays on your mind, making it one of those unforgettable survival horror video game released.