The Evil Within 2 Xbox One Review
The Evil Within 2 takes place around three years after the original and still features the original games main character Sebastian Castellanos. Ex Cop Sebastian will have to once again face the horrors that lurk inside STEM on a mission to find his thought to be dead but now lost daughter Lily.
For those not familiar with what STEM actually is, it’s a system that can allow minds to be brought together and be connected to make another world. Minds need to connect to a main mind which is like a base and this is called a core.
Three different difficulty settings: Casual, Survival and Nightmare.
Sebastian is still haunted by his past and the loss of his family and after a nightmare seeing Lily burn to death in his arms he awakes in a bar. After a brief chat and little fight with old friend Kidman, Sebastian is drugged and wakes up in a building owned by Mobius. Straight away you have to admire the fantastic voice acting and facial animations as well as the beautiful visuals.
Mobius the company behind STEM, had been doing trials on a new and improved system with Lily the test subject as the core, all was a success until Lily vanished and signals stopped being received. Agents from Mobius were sent in to find Lily but now everything has gone dark and comms have been lost with the agents as well, now Sebastian must enter STEM and save Lily or let her die.
Upon entering the nightmare STEM through a bathtub looking device, Sebastian has to relive the nightmare of what he believed was Lily’s death before finally getting a call from Kidman and ending up in what looks like a Police office which is actually a safe zone built from Sebastian’s memories.
Safe houses provide a rest from the struggle in the nightmare outside
Sebastian will visit this room multiple times throughout the game and as you progress different areas will unlock. Sebastian’s room has a few different things that can be used such as a save point, projector to view slides found throughout the game, information boards and lastly the broken mirror that emits light which I will explain about below.
Save points require Sebastian to insert his communication device into it and then select a save slot. Saving throughout the game can be difficult but there are many safe houses scattered around to use, although the game does seem to quick save as after the one crash I experienced all game, I was thinking i’d have to do a good hour of the game again but it actually loaded up a few seconds from where I was when it crashed.
Also in Sebastian’s room is a form of fast travel and it is through a mirror, these mirrors are also found in the safe houses and provide Sebastian a teleportation to his room. Whenever a mirror is found it will smash when Sebastian approaches it and then emit a light in which Sebastian can then enter to fast travel back and forth to his room.
Like I mentioned earlier these mirrors tend to pop up in the safe houses and a few other locations, once you hear them smash and emit the light they can be entered. Inside the mirror takes Sebastian back to his room and it is from here multiple options are available to you. There is a workbench that can be used for crafting or if you explore further you will find a wheelchair sitting in a hallway. Sitting in this will transport Sebastian to another room with a nurse. This nurse is called Tatiana and introduces Sebastian to the upgrade chair, from here Sebastian can enhance his own abilities with the green gel acquired from fallen enemies throughout the game. The green gel you get from enemies varies depending on the enemy, some will give more for the tougher ones while others give much less, there is also red gel as you progress through the game which can unlock the path in the upgrade tree to the higher upgrades.
Sebastian can enhance things that you choose to suit the play style you have, if you are more of a stealthy player then the stealth attributes can be enhanced, if you are more of a fighter the combat can be enhanced. It really is up to you how you make your way through Sebastian’s nightmare journey but the game does well to suit every player.
In this room with Tatiana there is also some lockers on the left and throughout Sebastian’s journey it is worth keeping an eye out for hidden statues as once he breaks them they hold a key inside which can unlock one of the lockers which has an item inside for Sebastian to take. Keep an eye out for hidden flashing items as there is some random ones out there!
The last thing Tatiana unlocks is a room will appear later in the game and inside is a shooting range. The shooting range is a mini game with blocks to be shot, link as many blocks of the same colour together and then shoot to get a larger reward. The rewards range from amounts of green upgrade gel and weapon parts to the much harder to find locker key.
Union isn’t a nice place!
Finally when Sebastian enters Union it is clear that it is not the safe quiet place it was meant to be, it is now a town filled with nightmarish looking creatures everywhere willing to rip apart anyone in their path. It’s also a place to go and enjoy a nice coffee to take the edge off and restore health to full, only use this when it is needed though as there will be a wait time till it’s ready again. (Most be the slowest coffee machine on the planet!)
Through exploring Union Sebastian will encounter other survivors, most have a safe house location and if you help them some will hand over some supplies to Sebastian.
Supplies throughout the game are scarce, while not leaving you completely stuck it will require management. Bullets and syringes are an essential but can be hard to acquire and do run out fast after a battle. Crafting supplies is something that you will need to do to survive and this is where the work bench comes in. In some safe houses and other locations there is a work bench, from the bench Sebastian will be able to craft multiple items if he has collected the needed amount of parts, this can include gun powder for bullets and herbs for medical syringes.
Work benches are are more efficient than the field crafting kit
If you do run out of an item that you really need such as a medical syringe and can’t get to a work bench, there is another option and that is to use the field crafting kit, this can be used anywhere anytime but while being more convenient it will use more resources to craft the items you want. The upgrade bench also allows Sebastian to upgrade his weapons giving them things like more fire power and faster reloading, all at a cost of weapon parts which are found scattered throughout Union.
Know when to walk away, well run it’s ok noone will judge!
Union is a dark and atmospheric place and Sebastian’s flashlight will become essential. The good thing about the flashlight is not having to worry about the creatures seeing it as they are not sensitive to light. They do however have a good sense of sound and sight, creeping around will be key to survival out there. The real key to survival is knowing when you are beat and giving up that loot you are fighting to get! There is no shame in cutting your losses and running until you are no longer being followed, then go back for another go with a different approach.
Loot boxes mainly contain ammo and medical supplies but as Sebastian progresses through the story different weapons become available and improve the gameplay massively, guns are the way to go as the melee combat feels very loose and extremely frustrating at times with the only time it does real damage is with a one use axe that will most of the time kill in one hit but also break and put Sebastian back with his knife. The real fun is definitely with the guns, grab a shotgun and everything is fine, there is a real sense of power in the way the shotgun blows your enemy back or even takes the poor buggers head right off!
There are a few different weapons on offer as Sebastian progresses.
There is a six weapons and these are a hand gun, shotgun, crossbow, machine gun, sniper rifle and flame thrower. The guns can all be upgraded and some have variants to them like the handgun that you can change to a handgun with a laser sight or even a silencer, while these are good options to have it would have been nice to fit all the attachments to one gun.
As well as these few weapons the environment can be used to give Sebastian a slight advantage such as kicking over barrels oil which will then leak and can be shot to ignite it causing enemies to burn, things like water on the ground can also be a great way to bring down a group of enemies with the use of a shock bolt from the crossbow, shooting it into the water will momentarily stun enemies some dropping to the floor and then giving Sebastian the chance to finish them with a nice gory stamp to the head!
These shock arrows are also used to give broken junction boxes a little jump start, some rooms will be locked down with a shutter that won’t open because the junction box is beyond repair so a shock arrow will get the shutter up allowing access and then the ability to acquire any loot inside.
Stealth fans will love the gameplay!
If you are a stealth player there is plenty of ways to get through this nightmare, creeping around is a great way and probably the best way rather than taking on multiple enemies who will gang up on you fast and bring you down. Sneaking can be difficult and will require you to cover every angle as if one enemy sees you things can go sour pretty fast!
Sometimes your path maybe blocked and this is where throwing bottles to distract enemies will be the best way for you, these bottles can also be used to break an enemy hold if they manage to grab you so make sure to stock up whenever you see them laying around!
Gripping story that is totally addictive and drags you in.
The story throughout was gripping with a good few twists and turns along the way as well as the bonds with other characters and their own stories. Sebastian really portrays the struggle well and you genuinely end up feeling for him and his bad luck! The communication device Sebastian uses throughout the game to track signals and see reenactments of other people fates is a great way of keeping up with the story, this really keeps anything from getting confusing.
In total it took just under 13 hours of playtime to complete and that was with some side missions and collecting but even once the game is complete there is still so much to do and the game lets you replay the story on different difficulty settings and carries over some of the progress and items to work towards getting some more of the achievements on offer.
The whole experience wasn’t problem free though and I did encounter a few small bugs and problems such as I mentioned earlier when Sebastian climbed over an object and feel through the map as well as a few enemies stuck on invisible walls and falling through them taking their highly important green gel with them beyond my reach. While none of this is going to ruin the experience it can be a little annoying but the game does save often and you won’t find yourself having to do massive sections of the game over after a crash if you ever experience one.
The thing I enjoyed about The Evil Within 2 is the fact there is no right way and I did feel free to play how I wanted to. Level design was great and the atmosphere drags you into the struggle and while being a horror game it wasn’t trying too hard to be overly scary all the time! Boss battles towards the end come thick and fast and the imagination into some of these creatures is horrifying. There was a few small sections where it does make you retread your steps and this can affect the pace of the game slightly but there is always something out there trying to kill you or something to find and collect.
Gripping addictive story with a great horror side to it while not trying to hard to be scary. Plenty of collectable items and crafting options as well as the game itself suiting many different play styles. Fantastic voice acting throughout with decent facial animations all tell the story very well, Sebastian really drags the player into his struggle and you end up really feeling for this poor blokes bad luck as well as really feeling the bonds he makes with certain other characters! Visually the game looks great with fantastic lighting and detail and performance was also never a problem with no noticeable lag. Even if horror games aren’t really for you The Evil Within 2 is a game everyone should check out!
8.7 / 10
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