Overall 8.20
The first Evil Within is a gem of a game that was rough around the edges but inside was the heart of RE4 style TPS that Mikami excels at designing. So I was very excited for TEW2 to remedy some of the jankiness that and unevenness that hurt the first game and make this worthy of that RE pedigree. Mikami was out as director and the new blood decided semi open world is the way to go, with mixed results. It's probably a more even level quality game than the first but it never reaches the highs due to its design choices.

TEW2 has hub worlds which allow Seb to explore a town, much like silent hill, and do some missions (very few side missions, this is not an Ubisoft like game). This playground opens up the games revamps stealth mechanics which becomes the focus. Now if you played the DLC of the first you will see familiar actions copied right from that, like the cover system. As you upgrade seb you can invest in stealth attacks which allows you to stab from around a corner, or do a silent run and backstab. It all feels pretty good at first, especially because enemies are formindable in large groups so thinning the herd is important. Oh and there are almost no bullets anywhere so the handgun is mostly worthless.

The first few hours I spend exploring were the best of the exploration gameplay. There were all kinds of cool little side moments hidden in random homes. I would find a grizzly suicide and that lead to some crazy mind warps. I wandered the woods and found a person hung from a tree and as I touched it I was transported to a cold alternate dimension with this ghost woman that chases you throughout the game. It feels like open world done right, a series of well designed unique situations all over the map. I spent like 5 hours in the first area alone just messing around, seeing every single possible secret, finding weapons, getting upgrades, I loved it.

The more I played the more I started to find cracks in design and mechanics. Enemies started to show really simplistic AI patterns and I found certain actions were so overpowered they felt broken. If I got seen by an enemy I could simply run a few feet away and the enemy will stop running and act like his mind was just wiped, resuming his old pattern. I could exploit corner stealth kills by getting seen, running to cover, hide at the corner as the enemy is running at me and simply hit the kill button when it comes in range. The there are all the odd animations and glitches that occur especially when you climb objects. I saw enemies get stuck trying to climb, I've seen them teleport to different locations, I've seen then look at me from below befuddled at how I climbed something. You contrast that to the polish that RE4 had many years ago, where every action and animation was perfect, I just don't understand why we are going backwards.

Gunplay becomes more important as the game goes on and you acquire better weapons like the trusty crossbow. I still found the best way to attack groups of enemies was to use arrows in certain situations like lightning in water and smoke anytime, seriously smoke with stealth kills is like a BFG, it destroys everything. I miss having matches and using traps in clever ways, all in all combat doesn't feel as interesting in the first but it's not a big difference.

As the game goes on there is a certain flow that emerges which is so main mission in open area, go into this boring underground lab area, back to open, back to underground with a few key locations in the middle. That insane variety of locations from the first game is gone, I guess that makes for a story that makes more sense but I loved the insanity of the first game.

Above all though the encounter design, enemy types and overall combat scenarios took a big hit. TEW1 strength lies in its incredible setpieces, RE4 in nature and always unique and interesting. In TEW2 most encounters are just a smattering of enemies in a location and you just do whatever you want to kill them. Some times they lock you in a room and waves of enemies come in but I can compare similar sequences to the first where the first game had multiple traps, rooms to hide in, all kinds of ins and outs to facilitate an incredible action sequence; here it's just a flat room with some cover. There are some really good moments, the last third of the game in particular is pretty damn epic and has that kind of level design I was talking about. Ch.14 stands out so much because it's everything the rest of the game should have been.

Bosses are a very important aspect of these games and there are some really good ones. I think compared to other TPS this game is in the top of great bosses but compared to the first game it's a slight downgrade. Nothing is as memeorable or well designed as the Lisa battle, or the safe head fight, except well... I won't spoil it. Still in terms of just being a great game with awesome bosses the game still has them, huge screen filling monstrosities. Cool mind bending battles with assholes you want to badly kill. These are for sure highlight moments throughout the game.

I find the story to be a mixed bag cause for one it's absolutely better told and this one makes sense. It's a story about a dad and his little girl, something everyone can relate to, something that plays to your emotion. Outside of that everything else is crap; the side characters you meet are boring, the new Sebastian voice actor is not interesting in anyway. One villain is ok but still a total cliche. The first game was insane, nonsensical, super Japanese and you know what, I liked that. I liked not have a damn clue wtf is going on and uncovering the mystery. There is no mystery here, it's a straight forward mission that has a few highs at the end but a whole lot of nothing in the middle.

Graphically it looks far cleaner than the first game, models are better, I got a good 60fps on PC. The music is really great during high action moments and the main story points. Voice acting is what you expect from this kind of game, same with the writing. In terms of replay value we got a big 15-20 hour game with unlockable difficulty mode which limits saves and some cool costumes and new weapons to try out.

TEW2 is still a great action horror roller coaster ride and I greatly enjoyed my time with it. I feel like if the first game feltbtoo clunky or too random this game will be more accessible. There are clear design changes that for me hurt the overall experience as I enjoy well designed set pieces more than big open spaces. All in all though it's a fun sequel, it's something all fans of the first should try and maybe some new comers will find this a better entry point than the first.
Posted by Dvader Thu, 26 Oct 2017 21:50:17
Fri, 27 Oct 2017 03:43:01
Guy says he completely disagrees with me then gives it an 8.2 rating.
Reading your review I have a hard time knowing exactly how you feel about most things. It's like this grey area in between love and hate. X is better than Y, but Y was better at this so X is kind of disappointing...but it's great. Lol
Reading this review is almost like listening to my ex girlfriend blab for 5 minutes and then trying to figure out how she REALLY feels.
Fri, 27 Oct 2017 18:00:56
I should add, I loved reading it and keep them coming.
Thu, 02 Nov 2017 16:15:43
The score is the level of enjoyment I had and it's the best way to see where it stacks with every other game. And yes it's all those things, x can be disappointing and be great. Zelda was hugely disappointing and it's still the second best game I played this year. Mario is disappointing, still a clear 9.
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