I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum in this review but if you’re watching this video, you’re probably not too bothered about that anyway.
Briefly glossing over the plot, The Evil Within 2 is set three years after its predecessor. Here, Sebastian is sent back into STEM to retrieve his daughter, Lily, who was previously believed to have died in a house fire but is actually now the Core in the new STEM world, referred to as ‘Union’.
I haven’t played the first Evil Within game but, when we initially previewed The Evil Within 2, the developers were claiming that they wanted to encourage more exploration this time around by giving players more freedom to roam around the STEM world. At first, Union felt like quite a big map but after spending a short time exploring, I realised that it’s actually not that large at all. There were a few optional quests that felt like nice additions but while wandering around, I visited a few places that I ended up returning to later on while following the main story. This was slightly disappointing as I was under the impression that I had more freedom to roam and discover things that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I didn’t expect to stumble across multiple areas too early and after experiencing that a few times I was reluctant to explore as much and ended up sticking to the main story instead.
Another area where the game didn’t quite meet my expectations was that it wasn’t very scary. The Evil Within 2 claims to be a survival horror game but I didn’t feel on edge while playing. While the game has some really creepy looking enemies and bosses and most of the time, you’re wandering around in the dark, the atmosphere remained reasonably mild. There are a few puzzles to complete which suit the game very well and as you progress, you’ll encounter a wider variety of enemies, which are more challenging to deal with.
The combat seemed solid for the most part when using weapons, but I wasn’t as impressed with the melee attacks that Sebastian uses. Stealthy playthroughs are encouraged so crouching behind an enemy and sneak killing them feels satisfying but once they’ve noticed you, slowly swiping at them with your knife feels so weak, even after you’ve maxed out the melee stats. That said, upgrading weapons is straightforward and worked well, as did using the Green Gel that you collect from defeated enemies to upgrade Sebastian’s character stats. Whenever you see a mirror, you’ll be able to port back to Sebastian’s room where you can perform character upgrades, weapon upgrades, crafting, examine any slides that you’ve found and save the game. While we’re on the topic of crafting it’s also worth mentioning that you can craft on the go. This is particularly useful closer to the end of the game where you may feel as though you’re running a bit low on ammo.
From what I’ve seen online, people are having vastly different experiences with performance with the PC version. The default cap for the game is 60fps but the game didn’t always run at a solid 60, even when I had it on Medium settings on my GTX 1080, running on a 1440p monitor. The frame drops weren’t anywhere near poor enough to make me want to stop playing and there are a number of fixes posted online that have helped people to get their game running smoothly.
Overall, I enjoyed playing The Evil Within 2, but it’s not a game that I’m desperate to recommend to my friends either. The story is interesting, the game is a good length and the performance is satisfactory enough that I wouldn’t discourage anyone from playing it. From what I’ve seen, with a few tweaks, the game can run really smoothly, too so don’t let that put you off too much if you are concerned about performance. If you like The Evil Within franchise, this is worth checking out and even if you haven’t played the first game, you’ll still be able to enjoy playing this one without feeling completely in the dark.