Effective horror usually requires a highly directed experience — careful directorial control over each plot beat to keep the tension building, a hvà guiding the camera to lớn make sure you see whatever horrific creature lurches behind the protagonist. The Evil Within 2 turns this genre necessity on its head, allowing you lớn explore at your own pace but, as if by magic, without lessening the pressure necessary for horror lớn be scary.

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2014’s The Evil Within wasn’t nearly this ambitious. Despite work from major names such as Resident Evil mastermind Shinji Mikamày, that debut effort from developer Tango Gameworks was somewhat disappointing. Though it had a great setting, it had no sense of pacing, an abundance of frustrating boss fights & boring writing that made it hard to care about the characters.

I’m currently eight hours into The Evil Within 2, and what’s most impressive sầu so far is how this sequel addresses each individual complaint about the first game one by one, like it’s working through a checkmenu. And it does all of this on top of greatly expanding in scope và freedom.

The Evil Within 2 greatly expands the scope và freedom of the first game

October 12, 2017 - The First Eight Hours

If you skipped out on The Evil Within, don’t worry. The sequel continues the story of hard-luchồng now-ex-cop Sebastian Castellanos, but it doesn’t require a knowledge of the original so much as a willingness khổng lồ give in to the game’s off-the-rails narrative sầu. Three years after the first game’s murder investigation gone wrong, Castellanos is forcibly recruited by a mysterious organization called Mobius and thrust back inkhổng lồ the “STEM” world, an alternate reality where (once again) people have sầu begun turning inkhổng lồ monsters that exist on the body toàn thân horror continuum between the works of Raingươi & Cronenberg.

While the gruff Castellanos is no more of an engaging character than last time around, he at least has a more personal motivation. His daughter Lily, who he believed died in a tragic fire years ago, is alive và trapped in the STEM world as well. It’s a small and cliché addition, but those added stakes vày wonders for The Evil Within 2, providing some real momentum & a reason for Castellanos and the player lớn keep pushing forward.

Union feels like a real, recognizable, lived-in place

By leaping directly into the STEM world, The Evil Within 2 is also able to immediately embrace one of the best aspects of the first game: how completely batshit weird it got in its later segments. The sequel finds Castellanos jumping between odd locales right from the start. One second he’s in a strange, slow-motion killer’s ornate art gallery, và the next he’s walking through a warped flashbachồng of Beanhỏ Mental Hospital, the setting of the last game. The Evil Within 2 waits for the precise moment I have my bearings in a location, then rips the rug of reality out from underneath me.

Most of my first eight hours with The Evil Within 2 has been phối in a sleepy thành phố called Union. It was built by Mobius khổng lồ be the igiảm giá alternate reality utopia, và Castellanos calls it “any town, USA.” That sort of broad evocativeness works in the game’s favor, creating much more of a sense of place than the first game ever accomplished. Tacky art hangs on walls, neon signs flicker above small-town shops, and mundane junk litters closets và office desks. Union may be a kém chất lượng alternate reality where you can travel through computers lớn get from location khổng lồ location, but Tango Gameworks puts in the effort lớn make it feel like a real, recognizable, lived-in place — albeit one that has sunk inlớn devastation & terror.

Tango Gameworks/Bethesdomain authority Softworks
Beyond just being a more interesting setting, Union introduces one of the biggest departures The Evil Within 2 takes from its predecessor: large, open locations. You can spend hours exploring every inch of Union, and the game rewards that thoroughness with more of the limited resources Castellanos needs lớn survive. I scoured the tự động shops, visitor’s centers and abandoned train yards at length, digging up ammunition và crafting material. The đô thị is intricately designed & peppered with gifts all over in a way that really encourages taking your time.

Naturally, with a bigger area to lớn explore come side objectives as well. The Evil Within 2 lets you find optional quests by pinpointing stray frequencies with a “communicator,” a sort of walkie-talkie that Castellanos carries with hlặng. These extra tasks range from mundane resource drops — you’ll find many Mobius soldier corpses with a lot of ammo và pouches that increase your carrying capathành phố — khổng lồ completely new areas và fully fleshed-out subplots. You never know what you’ll find by following a stray signal, which makes me want to hunt all of them down.

I’m astounded by the way that The Evil Within 2 takes light “open-world” gameplay & makes it work within a horror context. I’m used lớn horror games being strictly linear; sure, the first Evil Within had a few large rooms khổng lồ mess around and try different combat strategies in, but there was always a single path forward, keeping the the pace in step. Here in Union, you can go in any direction you want, và yet the pacing doesn’t suffer.

Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
I’m still not sure how Tango Gameworks accomplishes this, but even as I’ve sầu run up and down the same street for the sixth time, it keeps throwing surprises at me. On my initial pass, I’ll clear a garden full of enemies. The next time through, a new one has spawned in a just-hidden-enough location khổng lồ make me jump with surprise. Or I’ll run past a house I’ve already rummaged through, but I’ll hear a woman screaming, pulling me baông xã khổng lồ find something new and shocking.

I don’t know if The Evil Within 2 will be able to work this magic right up until the credits — which seem a lot further off than they did in the first game — but for now, I’m extremely impressed. The game just keeps tossing everything it has at me, and every time I think I’ve seen it all, it gives me some quality revelation, some dreadful apparition I’ve sầu yet lớn encounter. That push and pull, between wanting khổng lồ see what the game has in store next and being terrified khổng lồ find out — that delightful feeling is why I play horror games, and so far this one is nailing it.

Update: October 18, 2017 — The finished game & score

As I worked through the baông chồng half of The Evil Within 2 last weekkết thúc, one question kept repeating over và over again in my head: How? How did they pull this off? How does it work so well?

The answer, as best I can discern it, is pacing. The previous The Evil Within struggled with this, jumping from scene to scene with no regard for letting the player breathe and spacing out reveals và building tension slowly. It was non-stop; it was exhausting.

The Evil Within 2 is a night-and-day difference from that muddled mess. It is, hands-down, one of the best-paced horror/action games I’ve sầu played in years.

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Tango Gameworks/Bethesdomain authority Softworks The deeper I got inlớn The Evil Within 2, the more it became clear precisely what the game benefits from with its handful of larger open areas. It’s not about creating a huge open world that you can get lost in for ages. Rather, these bigger zones — three in total throughout the game — serve as a tool of pacing.

It’s not that these wider open spaces are safe, exactly. They have plenty of enemies & increasingly dangerous threats as the game progresses. But those enemies are also more spread out, và the game generally is pulling less tricks related to lớn the very state of your mental being while you’re in those levels. Where the linear sections of The Evil Within 2 are more intense, these bigger areas focus more on exploration, on taking your time lớn explore và carefully chart your path around or through gatherings of enemies.

These bits wouldn’t be as effective sầu as they are if the resources in The Evil Within 2 weren’t so finely tuned. I made use of nearly every sản phẩm I picked up throughout the whole of my 20-some hours in the game — every bullet, every medkit & especially every thành tựu that allowed me khổng lồ improve sầu my guns & abilities.

Beyond ammo và healing items, Sebastian also collects “weapon parts” & some weird green gel that drops from fallen enemies. The former is used lớn nâng cấp your guns, giving them more damage, more ammo capacity, faster reloads và so on; the latter upgrades Sebastian himself, with abilities ranging from the obvious (more health & stamina) khổng lồ the game-changing (the ability lớn slow down time when aiming your weapons). These dual nâng cấp systems feel both well-developed & weighty. Choosing whether khổng lồ spread my weapon parts around to lớn different guns or focus them all into making my pistol a non-stop death machine, for example, had a major lasting impact on how I played the game, as did whether I centered Sebastian on combat or stealth upgrades.

The only part of The Evil Within 2 that doesn’t feel perfectly, tightly bound together is the crafting system. Crafting is essential in the game as a means of pulling together just a little more survival potential. Inevitably, though, I spent most of my gunpowder on the cheapest and most plentiful possible item: pistol bullets. Sometimes I would splurge on some shotgun shells or flamethrower ammo — especially right before a big boss encounter — but more often than not, I wanted the most bang for my buck, so lớn speak.

Tango Gameworks/Bethesdomain authority Softworks
In particular, The Evil Within 2 seems lớn want you to lớn craft lots of ammo for the crossbow, but I very rarely found that weapon worth using. As such, I ended the game with dozens of metal pipes and nails in my inventory. Your inventory is unlimited as far as carrying crafting components goes, so it’s not the worst fate in the world, but it stood out in a game where everything else seems so perfectly designed.

When you’re not searching for materials in the more open areas, The Evil Within 2 pushes you inkhổng lồ more linear, directed sequences that move the story forward. These are where you’ll find the scariest và most pulse-pounding moments of the game, and also where you’ll fight its bosses.

I want lớn gọi out the trùm fights specifically, because these were another major failing of the first game. In The Evil Within, trùm battles were a frustrating affair where you were provided with little sense of if you were doing real damage to an enemy or what the best method was to lớn kill it. In the sequel, trùm fights are a blast.

Both in terms of showing players that the boss is being properly injured & just visualizing elements of the environment better, The Evil Within 2 makes it really clear how to fight a trùm without the need lớn die & restart over & over. One fight against a chainsaw-wielding quái dị has traps and explosive barrels mix up around the environment. In another clever battle, your goal is simply lớn keep the unstoppable bad guy busy while a cloông xã runs down.

There’s even a surprising trùm rush that is, somehow, not awful khổng lồ play.

Tango Gameworks/Bethesdomain authority Softworks
That trùm rush serves as a lead-in to lớn the final act of The Evil Within 2, và what a final act it is. If the game as a whole is an example of how khổng lồ get pacing right in video clip games, the last few hours demonstrate the absolute ikhuyến mãi approach lớn a conclusion — the rising action, climax and denouement each applied with skill và care.

The Evil Within 2 pulls off an ending that had me buzzing with excitement, despite it not even being a particularly good story. I won’t spoil anything here, of course, but Sebastian’s search for redemption remains pretty goofy & corny throughout. Tango Gameworks embraces that cheese, however, leaning inkhổng lồ it và continuously raising the stakes in the finale until I couldn’t help but be drawn in. It’s just silly, dumb fun, and I loved every second of it.


The same could be said for the game itself, honestly. The Evil Within 2 represents one of the starkest and most astounding turnarounds from a debut title to its sequel that I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a brilliant horror game, one that understands when to ratchet up tension & when khổng lồ pull bachồng and let you collect yourself. If the first game was a failed attempt to lớn capture the spirit of Shinji Mikami’s classic Resident Evil 4, the sequel is a successful attempt at something much better: finding a chilling, exhilarating voice of its own.

The Evil Within was reviewed using an early final “retail” Steam tải về code provided by Bethesdomain authority. You can find additional information about’s ethics policy here.

Platform Win, PS4, Xbox One quảng cáo trên internet Bethesdomain authority Softworks Release Date Oct 13, 2017 Win Score 9 Developer Tango Gameworks