If you’ve played the smash-hit title from 2014, there’s no shortage of such horror based atmospheres, spine-chilling scares, and even moments of urgency where one mistake can lead to an untimely death. Unlike the previous title, The Evil Within 2 seems to be a departure from what made the original game as unique as it was, and now improves upon the flak the game received for failing to let players make more choices due to its linear approach to gameplay.
This time around, it seems that has been changed during my time with The Evil Within 2’s second chapter, which I was able to preview during QuakeCon 2017 over the past few days. Former Resident Evil creator, Shinji Mikami, has expanded upon the elements we once knew. It appeared rather quickly that the game would offer much more than just a few scares, shortages of supplies, and limited approaches to combat. As the demo started up, wasting no time to show me the world I was in, I found myself wondering down a dimly lit corridor, there I would soon find myself clicking on the flashlight to get a glimpse around the room.
Noting the terrifying choice of décor that resembled something from the Xbox 360 game Condemned, I made my way towards the nearest wall where an item was placed for me to look. Soon after the game took its familiar twist with the world quickly changing around Sebastion once more and once more, I would be reunited with an amalgamation that could only exist within STEM. This amalgamation before me, wasn’t just terrifying, it wasn’t afraid to taunt me with its horrific laughs while slashing one of its spider-like arms at me, and chasing me as quickly as it could.
Once having escaped by navigating a few corridors during a dead sprint, climbing ladders, and entering a air duct, I would soon be greeted by something a bit less comforting. A dark, spooky countryside, which easily sent familiar shivers down my spine. It quickly began to resemble that of a Silent Hill-esque town. One where I would let a few breaths of fresh air escape both literally and figuratively speaking. Not because the game wasn’t horrifying, because it is, but because there were moments where I found myself leaning forward holding my breath while Sebastian began searching for his missing daughter.
In one of the moments within a cabin, I would find a mother forcing a male figure to eat, shoving food in his mouth while telling him he was made of flesh and bone. The hint as his possible skinniness was almost as disturbing as ever as the cut-scene flashed forward and she was smashing his head into the table, breaking his nose while doing so, before turning her attention quickly to Sebastian when she caught a glimpse of him. Combat seemed rather familiar, left trigger to aim, right trigger to shoot, and even ‘X’ to reload once my rounds were spent.
Once combat was done, I was able to poke around the house, finding myself grabbing a few weapons parts, some gunpowder, and even some medicinal needles, and the all-to-familiar green herbs from Resident Evil. While this was a challenge, nothing had prepared me for what was next as I began approaching a city street, which would be filled with shambling like monstrosities, which once had some resemblance of humanity. Instead, they were now feasting and tearing upon human flesh, killing anything that came in sight. While searching for Sebastian’s daughter was definitely a task on its own, it didn’t prepare me at all for what was coming up. I would come to find myself navigating the crowd by throwing bottles to distract them, stealth killing a few of them, before quickly bolting for the nearest building door.
If you are familiar with the past works of Shinji Mikami and Resident Evil, you may already know that combat is a last resort, and that its best to conserve your ammo, items, and crafting materials. While The Evil Within 2 certainly gives us a bit more freedom of choice than before, there’s a few things this demo displayed better than any demo I’ve played to date while on a showroom floor. It gave an appealing look at risk and reward. I was given the choices to help out a fellow STEM survivor while also being given the option to continue on with my primary mission of finding Seb’s daughter.
If I continued on, I would find myself lower in resources. If I decided to help my fellow STEM survivor, I would gain additional resources, and thus better the odds in my favor. If I didn’t, however, I would move on through my demo a bit quicker, and experience the games outright story, but at a greater cost. It’s these small choices that will be a cornerstone within the games final design as a total survival-horror experience. Deciding to help this guy, I would move through the city streets carefully so as not to rouse the crowd before me, picking them off one by one. I would be able to gain a better weapon, much-needed healing items, and even find myself conserving my ammo before taking on a much tougher enemy.
That little choice served as a key position on what I would do and how I will approach the game when it launches this fall. It’s moments like sneaking up on a lone enemy, piercing the back of his neck with a knife, scooping up slime he left behind as my experience, that led to a gratifying experience as I would keep his friends from becoming alert and knowing of my presence. It’s those small choices as well that made the game feel bigger, more unique, but still the same as its predecessor. This gives me hope that The Evil Within 2 will shape up to become the Resident Evil and Silent Hill experiences I’ve been desiring over the past few years.
Those crucial choices I made became a small whisper in the back of my mind: I would need to become adept at picking off enemies as I see fit. I would need to stockpile my upgrade materials, carefully use those weapon parts, bits of gunpowder, and experience I found. This little slice-of-the-pie became my focal point, one that has left me metaphorically in withdrawals due to my desire to play the game once more.
If the theory proves to be true, Tango Gameworks will make good on giving the players a wider array of choices to make when The Evil Within 2 launches on Oct. 13th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Google+.