It’s not very often we see Friday the 13th just before Halloween, but when we do fright fans usually have some horror on their hands and this years it’s up to The Evil Within to make its appearance.
The first game proved to be a fright filled smash with a few bugs and a pretty cold protagonist so how does the sequel take the reins.
From the onset of The Evil Within 2, you once again control detective Sebastian Castellanos, the prologue see’s you approaching your house as it’s ravaged by flames with the cries of your daughter Lily filling the air, after a pretty dark conclusion you awake in a bar, confronted by your former partner Juli Kidman.
There’s an intriguing level of depth to the story and after being told that Lily might still be alive, Sebastian decide’s the only option is to join forces with the secret organisation Mobius to use their new shiny STEM machine to follow Lily into a bizarre world filled with horror and torment.
Up until this point The Evil Within 2 has already set the stage for some pretty bizarre scenes, but once you’re inside STEM and you venture beyond your sub-conscious safe zone of your office and into the seemingly innocent town of Union, things start to get all sorts of freaky.
You’ll first have to get through a small linear section which introduces you to a mysterious serial killer Stefano who photographs his victims trapping them in stasis as they die, it’s pretty weird being able to walk around a dead body before it’s even had chance to drop to the floor, but here’s worst to come as you start to come across the mutated monstrosities scattered throughout Union.
Thankfully Union isn’t just bad guys, and as you approach a more open world setting you’re introduced to your first ally inside STEM and after receiving an upgrade to your transmitter, you’re able to pick and choose whether to stick to your guns and head straight for any trace of Lily you can find or search off the beaten track for lore of the Evil Within universe or others hoping to survive the nightmares of Union.
This certainly helps add much more depth both to Sebastian and the world around him and with more than enough scares both atmospheric and pre-scripted set-pieces TEW2 remains true to the original while still taking a step-forward in the sequel and at all time keeping you on edge with some classic survival horror.
Gameplay maintains the third person, over the shoulder view which mostly serves well for both shooting and using stealth when necessary to traverse across the city, but in an attempt to immerse the player more, the camera is quite close to Sebastian, it’s a great way to showcase the finer level of detail on his jacket, but not the best when you’re trying to weave your way past enemies without getting seen, and there’s only so much a few bottles and car alarms can do to distract your predators when there’s limited view to see where they’ve ventured off to.
Other negative points tend to be more in line with the survival horror genre in general, back-tracking while not as problematic as some games, is still present and this can make you feel like everything has come to a stand still as far as progression, but otherwise the story seems to move along at a steady pace keeping you intrigued without going over the top with detail unless you search out every piece of information you can find.
Graphically it’s a pretty impressive showing and while a world that bends the laws of physics at every corner, the palette of realism doesn’t require quite as much attention, but it’s all still very believable (in an incredibly far-fetched horror movie way).
It’s also worth noting that The Evil Within 2 will be getting a beefy Xbox One X update, including 4K textures and HDR, we’re unsure if it’ll be true naive 4K or Dynamic, but (reviewing on the Xbox One S) It’s already a great looking game, so any further enhancement on the One X will be greatly received.
There was only a few instances of clipping that occurred when Sebastian got a little too close for comfort, but these are few and far between and don’t disrupt the flow of the game.
Audio is often what really helps to make a world believable and TEW2 doesn’t disappoint, sure there’s a few cheesy one-liners which seem to be a staple of the genre, but high quality voice acting, ambiance and special effects please time and time again.
So The Evil Within 2 is certainly an improvement on the original, it’s bigger, deeper and darker with even more mind bending and logic defying set pieces as well as a detailed and involving open world which will call on more skills than simply running to the next check-point, sure there’s a few shortfalls, my own major gripe was down to the camera distance, but it’s not exactly perfect in other areas too, however it’s certainly progression while remaining true and respectful to the original.
This means fans of the original are pretty certain to enjoy the sequel and the slightly more action direction won’t disappoint like certain Resident Evil games did, but instead TEW2 is likely to appeal as much to fans of Resident Evil 7 as it will those returning from The Evil Within.
While some will say there’s too much emphasis on some areas and not enough in others, The Evil Within 2 proves that action and stealth can sit together in a horror filled, mind-bending frenzy that’s sure to give you more than a few frights while still playing with what you think might be possible in such a quiet country town.
The Evil Within 2 is a classic survival horror game which introduces modern physic bending elements to a frightening degree of immersion, If you’re a fan of the first game or any high quality horror game you’ll certainly want to check out The Evil Within 2.
Gameplay : 8
Graphics : 8.5
Sound : 9
Story : 8
Value : 8
Overall : 8.3 / 10