Effective horror usually requires a highly directed experience — careful directorial control over each plot beat lớn keep the tension building, a hand guiding the camera 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 to 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 Mikami, 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 và boring writing that made it hard khổng lồ care about the characters.

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

The Evil Within 2 greatly expands the scope and 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-luck now-ex-cop Sebastian Castellanos, but it doesn’t require a knowledge of the original so much as a willingness to lớn give in to lớn the game’s off-the-rails narrative. Three years after the first game’s murder investigation gone wrong, Castellanos is forcibly recruited by a mysterious organization called Mobius và thrust back into the “STEM” world, an alternate reality where (once again) people have begun turning into monsters that exist on the body horror continuum between the works of Raimi và 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 & trapped in the STEM world as well. It’s a small và cliché addition, but those added stakes vị wonders for The Evil Within 2, providing some real momentum & a reason for Castellanos & the player khổng lồ keep pushing forward.

Union feels lượt thích 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 flashback of Beacon 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 city called Union. It was built by Mobius to lớn be the ideal alternate reality utopia, & 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 trò chơi ever accomplished. Tacky art hangs on walls, neon signs flicker above small-town shops, & mundane junk litters closets and office desks. Union may be a fake alternate reality where you can travel through computers lớn get from location khổng lồ location, but Tango Gameworks puts in the effort to lớn make it feel like a real, recognizable, lived-in place — albeit one that has sunk into devastation và terror.

Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
Beyond just being a more interesting setting, Union introduces one of the biggest departures The Evil Within 2 takes from its predecessor: large, xuất hiện locations. You can spend hours exploring every inch of Union, and the game rewards that thoroughness with more of the limited resources Castellanos needs to survive. I scoured the tự động shops, visitor’s centers và abandoned train yards at length, digging up ammunition & crafting material. The đô thị is intricately designed and 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 him. These extra tasks range from mundane resource drops — you’ll find many Mobius soldier corpses with a lot of ammo & pouches that increase your carrying capacity — lớn completely new areas and fully fleshed-out subplots. You never know what you’ll find by following a stray signal, which makes me want lớn hunt all of them down.

I’m astounded by the way that The Evil Within 2 takes light “open-world” gameplay and 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 lớn 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 run up và 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 to lớn 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 back khổng lồ find something new & shocking.

I don’t know if The Evil Within 2 will be able to lớn 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, và every time I think I’ve seen it all, it gives me some chất lượng revelation, some dreadful apparition I’ve yet khổng lồ encounter. That push & pull, between wanting khổng lồ see what the trò chơi has in store next and being terrified khổng lồ find out — that delightful feeling is why I play horror games, & so far this one is nailing it.

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

As I worked through the back half of The Evil Within 2 last weekend, 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 và spacing out reveals and 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 played in years.

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Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks The deeper I got into The Evil Within 2, the more it became clear precisely what the trò chơi benefits from with its handful of larger open areas. It’s not about creating a huge xuất hiện 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 xuất hiện spaces are safe, exactly. They have plenty of enemies và increasingly dangerous threats as the game progresses. But those enemies are also more spread out, and the game generally is pulling less tricks related 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 khổng lồ explore and carefully chart your path around or through gatherings of enemies.

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

Beyond ammo và healing items, Sebastian also collects “weapon parts” và some weird green gel that drops from fallen enemies. The former is used to lớn upgrade your guns, giving them more damage, more ammo capacity, faster reloads and so on; the latter upgrades Sebastian himself, with abilities ranging from the obvious (more health & stamina) to the game-changing (the ability to slow down time when aiming your weapons). These dual nâng cấp systems feel both well-developed and weighty. Choosing whether lớn spread my weapon parts around khổng lồ 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 trò chơi 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 trùm cuối encounter — but more often than not, I wanted the most bang for my buck, so to speak.

Image: Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
In particular, The Evil Within 2 seems to lớn want you lớn craft lots of ammo for the crossbow, but I very rarely found that weapon worth using. As such, I ended the trò chơi 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 trò chơi where everything else seems so perfectly designed.

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

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

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

There’s even a surprising quái dị rush that is, somehow, not awful to lớn play.

Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
That trùm cuối rush serves as a lead-in khổng lồ 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 đoạn phim games, the last few hours demonstrate the absolute ideal approach lớn a conclusion — the rising action, climax & 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 and corny throughout. Tango Gameworks embraces that cheese, however, leaning into 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 lớn its sequel that I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a brilliant horror game, one that understands when lớn ratchet up tension và when to lớn pull back & 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 Bethesda. You can find additional information about tnmthcm.edu.vn’s ethics policy here.

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