The Orion

‘The Evil Within 2’ will cut through you, in a good way

Sebastian+enters+a+demonic+church.+The+best+moments+of+horror+and+fear+come+from+this+section+of+the+game.+Photo+credit%3A+Ulises+Duenas
Sebastian enters a demonic church. The best moments of horror and fear come from this section of the game. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

Sebastian enters a demonic church. The best moments of horror and fear come from this section of the game. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

Sebastian enters a demonic church. The best moments of horror and fear come from this section of the game. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

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Amid all the changes within the games industry, the horror genre has tried to find its footing over the last few years. In 2014, “The Evil Within” was heralded as the return of a more classic survival horror experience. In trying to blend the old with the new, “The Evil Within 2” takes some steps forward, but some steps back as well.

 

You play as Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who learns that his daughter who supposedly died in a fire is still alive. In order to get his daughter Lily back, he has to become part of an experiment called STEM which fuses the minds of several people together into one. There is a surprising amount of well-written, emotional moments throughout the game, but they often get drowned out by the wacky plot. The story is a lot easier to follow than in the original, and in its simplicity, it offers a much more personal and compelling story.

The biggest change in the gameplay is that the game is a lot more open now. The fictional town called Union, which exists inside STEM, has several areas where the player can explore, find side-missions and scavenge for supplies. There’s no fast travel system, so these open areas become a pain to go back to once you’ve advanced further in the story. The second half of the game becomes a lot more linear; it makes sense within the context of the plot, but it makes the open areas from the first half seem like a wasted opportunity.

Combat is largely the same as the first, third-person action with some stealth mixed in. Thanks to the expanded skill system, stealth is a more viable option and it’s great for thinning out a large group of enemies. The crafting system has been expanded and thankfully not overdone, to the point where it’s annoying.

The biggest issue I had with the in-game combat is that most of the enemies just run at you like zombies. I wish there was more variety in enemy behavior and tactics. By the end of the game combat feels stale, but the boss battles keep the player interested.

At this point, it’s hard for me to be scared by a horror game and while “The Evil Within 2” isn’t as scary as something like “P.T.” or “Dead Space,” it still has some great, disturbing imagery. This game doesn’t skimp on the blood and gore. The gratuity can be comical at times but the designs of the environments and enemies in later parts of the game are top notch. The horror element could have been enhanced by the story, but this is a tale of redemption and overcoming fear. It may not keep you awake at night but it has heart.

The combat and open areas of the game are a bit disappointing, however the visuals and story plot-points really elevate this game. I was ready to settle on three stars, but the way the story wraps up during last hour really swayed me into giving it four. While it isn’t terrifying, it’s still a good time.

[Final Score: 4/5]

Ulises Duenas can be reached at artseditor@theorion.com or @OrionUlisesD on Twitter.

Glossary:

STEM: A bunch of people are hooked up to a giant machine and it creates a new reality based on the minds inside it. Sebastian’s daughter, Lily, serves as the “core” of STEM.

Horror / Survival horror: A genre classified by having limited resources and scary gameplay / visuals.

Fast travel: A standard in modern open-world games. This allows you to travel to landmark areas on a map instantly.

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‘The Evil Within 2’ will cut through you, in a good way