When the original Evil Within dropped, the horror games genre was quite literally dead (with the failures of Resident Evil 6 and all of it’s hopeless spin-offs). The Evil Within wasn’t perfect, but it was nearly there and it was definitely a horrifying experience with it’s visual fidelity and creative horrors.
The Evil Within 2 carries on where the first one let off and we’re put again in the boots of Sebastian Castellanos, who we go through hell with together (again!). The game blends a lot of unique flavors like classic horror tropes mixed with cheap 90’s horror movie vibes. Sebastian, done with his life as a cop, finds out that the lost daughter he was mourning is actually alive and trapped inside a supernatural entity. The whole father/daughter cliche is definitely involved here but it does bring a few unique things to the table.
The Evil Within 2 is unforgiving, just like it’s predecessor. The game does not carry you through any more than the original starting from the very first level. The psychological warfare on the player is turned way down in this one when you compare it with the first but the game still manages to offer a pretty decent survival horror experience.
The gameplay is exactly what was in the first with a bit of tweaks here and there, the same shebang: conserve bullets, stay in the shadows and occasionally run-and-gun. One of the things that we expected to be better this time around would be the AI, which seems that the coding behind them was as terrifying as they look. The enemies are the same, they pack a punch but can be easily outsmarted which doesn’t force the player to use any creative tactics for getting through levels.
The game still has some pretty daunting moments with suspenseful and nerve-racking cut scenes but it just seems to fall short when it comes to crafting. The resource gathering experience throughout the journey is similar to what you would get in Resident Evil 4 and the progression system gets boring late-game.
For all that it brings, The Evil Within 2 will always be in the shadows of the first game but that shouldn’t put you off of experiencing it. It still manages to give you a good 20+ hours of horror which definitely leaves you the feeling of accomplishment, if nothing else.