The first The Evil Within was a promising start to a new survival-horror franchise. However, the game’s letterbox visual design and vexing stealth mechanics fragmented many gamers from enjoying the haunting atmosphere. The Evil Within 2 successfully addresses all the issues from the first game by providing a more streamlined story and improved gameplay mechanics. Not only does it deliver an intense adventure with deadly monsters but gives the player more options of how to tackle many of the objectives.

Once More Into the Nightmare

The Evil Within 2 takes place years after the events of the first game. Our hero Sebastian Castellanos has fallen back into depression and alcoholism after surviving the horrors of STEM and Mobius. No one believes his story causing the Police Department to dismiss him. With nothing left Julia Kidman recruits the veteran detective to journey back into STEM to save his daughter, who Sebastian thought was dead.

Mobius faked his daughter Lily’s death because she a possessed special brain that could be used as a Hivemind for their latest STEM project Union. However, things have become unstable within the world and Sebastian must head back into the nightmarish world to save his daughter.

Unlike the first game, Sebastian is much more fleshed out here. Before he seemed like a stoic avatar for the player to interact with the world. This time Sebastian is afraid, shocked, and determined to find his way through Union. This is further amplified by the addition of more characters including adversaries. While Ruvik was an incredible antagonist having him constantly appear throughout the campaign made him lose his intimidating factor. Here fresh faces provide new challenges since each adversary has their own unique backstory and mindset.

Let’s Go Exploring

The Evil Within 2 is mostly set in an open world with linear sections peppered in. Called Union this HUB world serves as the primary setting that connects everything in The Evil Within 2. Player’s are free to explore and scavenge lost supplies for weapon upgrades and crafting ammunition.

The game still has linear sections but they’re equally balanced with optional objectives. Using your radar you can locate other points of interest that lead to side missions for new equipment and resources. These are completely optional which leads to many situations where you must ask yourself, do you risk your supplies and head towards the signal or keep on track towards the main missions?

More emphasis has been placed on upgrading Sebastian with multiple tiers of weapons and personal upgrades. Sebastian can be improved in 1 of 5 paths that include health, athleticism, recovery, stealth, and combat. Using Green Gel, which can be found on fallen enemies or within the world. you can unlock standard abilities but the more advanced powers require Red Gel which is much rarer. Nothing felt mandatory, instead, everything was provided to cater to your own playstyle.

Be Better, Upgrade Yourself

Weapons are a lot more diverse in terms of weapon unlockables. While you can limit your upgrades to a specific set of weapons The Evil Within 2 provides enough guns that you’re prepared for any situation. While it lacks in anything original I never came across a situation where I didn’t have an ideal weapon for.

All your upgrading takes place in the game’s safe zone, specifically Sebastian’s office. It’s here you’ll find a place to take a break from everything, drink coffee to restore your health, and visiting your favorite touching nurse. Like the first game keys hidden throughout the world can be used to unlock lockers that hold resources.

KILL IT WITH FIRE!

This doesn’t mean that The Evil Within 2 easy, in fact, it’s a difficult game. Everything you collect must be rationed or you could find yourself outmatched. You now can craft more types ammunition, not use Agony Crossbow bolts, using either the crafting table or on the field. Crafting on the field sacrifices twice as many resources and should only be used as a last resort.

This extends to the game’s fear factor. Grotesque monsters that had me saying “What the fu*k is that thing!?” kept popping up. Jump scares, while not frequent, constantly kept on alert. What’s shocking is that the developers were able to craft not only a tale full of frightening moments but a touching story of a man attempting to save what’s left of his family. What brought the entire narrative together was the soundtrack, especially the finale, which captured the entire scene and ended the game on a massive high note.

Enemies aren’t smart but deadly. Attempting to rush in without a plan will lead to an early grave. While I was able to exploit enemies using the ambush skill this doesn’t work for everyone. A diverse selection of enemies ensures that you have to adapt to changing enemy types over the course of the campaign. Fortunately, the environment can serve to help you with explosive barrels, exposed pools of water, and many other traps available for you to use. However, it works both ways and if you’re not careful you can end up blowing up.

Stealth, which was a major issue in the first game, has been massively improved. Now you can cling to the walls and knife animations are much more fluid. Best of all is the improved crouch walking which can be increased to 50% additional speed. One issue is that returning to hiding is nearly impossible, once you’re found shooting your way out is the only way to survive.

The Evil Within 2 is a fantastic survival-horror game that excels in every category. It improves on everything problematic with the first game while providing a refreshing experience that will keep you on your toes. The horrific monsters leading up to the final encounter constantly test your endurance and resourcefulness. The Evil Within 2 is one of the best games this year because not only is it an intensely frightening adventure but provides a heartwarming tale of courage and sacrifice.

The Evil Within 2 Review
The Pros
  • Frightening Campaign
  • Fantastic Boss Battles
  • Great Story
The Cons
  • Poor Enemy AI
  • Lots of Locked Areas
  • High Enemy Respawn Rate
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About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.