UNITED STATES—It’s stepping into a world filled with darkness, where everything is hostile and nothing is safe. That’s the basis for “The Evil Within 2,” a game that takes the original and upgrades it in almost every way. The game still follows Sebastian Castellanos, a now-retired cop who has turned to drinking to forget his losses. The Mobius agency returns, offering him a chance to save what he misses the most: his daughter. They place him in another STEM machine. Unlike the last, though, this is not just a mental institution but an entire, fractured town. It is another creation gone horribly wrong.
“The Evil Within 2” is a survival horror game at its best, filled with hidden objects, many side quests and different areas to explore. Upon starting the first level one can immediately get a sense of how the game is going to play out; the hallways are dark, narrow and claustrophobic and the monsters are disgusting and terrifying. Entering the main setting, the town of Union, gives the player a little more open space to free roam, but the area is still dark and nightmarish. It is clear to see how much the graphics have improved from the first game as well, as the whole game is visually stunning. The sound design is arguably one of the best parts of the game, as there will be periods of complete silence that slowly fill a player with dread. These will be shattered by a monster’s howl or gasps, which send shivers down the player’s back and alert them to a danger that is most likely charging headlong at them.
The game rotates between these tight spaces and the open world. The world itself is filled with monsters, similar to zombies, that wander around. The player can either attack them head-on with a variety of weapons or sneak around them and pray they do not jerk their head in the wrong direction.
It would not be enough, however, to have a fantastic setting. The characters are arguably just as important and, in this case, match the setting well. Sebastian is still a desperate man. He is not just looking to survive this time, however, as the whole game is about his dogged search for his daughter. She is trapped in the strange new world. But Sebastian is not the only one searching for her; a new cast of interesting and horrifying villains are introduced. The psychopaths attack Sebastian at seemingly every turn, using horrifying mind games and traps to leave players filling shaken and haunted.
The pace of the game is nicely done. There are moments of silence and stealth in which one wrong turn can lead to chaos followed by action-packed boss fights and quick escapes. The controls are classic and not too complicated.
Although it is great in most ways, the game is not perfect. There are some pop issues in which objects can spawn into and out of existence or clip into walls or other objects. Although terrifying, there are only a few monster types and, after a while, the appearances tend to become just a little repetitive. Many boss fights suffer from this as well.
“The Evil Within 2” is not a perfect game, but is an amazing survival horror to fight through. Anyone who liked the original or just wants to fight through their own personal horror movie would love this. It is rated M and available on the Xbox One and PS4 game systems as well as on PC.