The Evil Within 2 is a sequel that improves on the original 100 fold. I don't say this lightly, but I'm about 12 hours into the game and I like it more than Resident Evil 4. That's my 3rd Favourite game of all time. So, let that sink in.
The game is semi open world. It borrows heavily from Far Cry 3, but makes it a smaller map with no towers or anything. Most buildings can be entered, and you'll need to explore every nook and cranny to find enough shit to take on the game's tougher enemies.
If you're new to the series, I recommend Survival Difficulty with the Aim Assist turned off. Aim Assist automatically places your reticle over enemies heads and takes away a lot of the tension. If not, jump into the nightmare difficulty, which feels as difficult as the original, though without the necessity of tedious stealth.
New to the series are cover mechanics that make the stealth much more managable. Combat is more satisfying and varied this time, and you really need to think tactically about every shot. Don't take it unless you're aiming for the head or legs to slow them. At first, it'll take 3-5 headshots to take down basic enemies, but once you upgrade your weaponry, you'll be taking out single enemies with ease. Mobs will still fuck you up if you run in, even in normal difficulty.
The story this time is much more impactful. It tackles themes of guilt, substance abuse, military ptsd/rogue officers, and much more. It's basically a shared consciousness where you share the world with people tricked into joining a government as well as some more fucked up candidates.
You're on a quest to find your daughter, who the government stole from you and framed her death. They essentially think by having a child as the "Core" of their machine, they can end things like mental illness.
Unfortunately these things never go smoothly
One of The Evil Within's biggest strengths is unpredictability and creativity. It revels in unease, but will also make you laugh your ass off in unexpected ways, or just show you something really cool. The open world feels more like a Silent Hill open world mixed with a Heavy Dose of Soulsborne. I.E save rooms, roaming monsters, that sort of shiz.
Two of the most impactful moments came early in the game when I was simply exploring. The first happened when I entered a house, got locked in, and watched the room become more deranged as it shifted around you. All I found was story, but that was all I needed.
The second... Um. Well, I met a ghost. She sometimes gives me presents. She sometimes wants to murder me. She's always terrifying. And now she stalks me in the streets.
Also, returning from Resident Evil 4 are the shooting galleries, where you can shoot a certain of enemies for helpful rewards. And, in the best minigame I've ever seen, they mix that with a Tetris/Columns style game where you have to chain coloured boxes together for huge combos.
I would play this as a standalone Mobile Game. Guys, get the fuck on that.
The game is wonderfully twisted, and that is especially apparent as a wonderfully charismatic serial killer/Art School Grad does his best Sander Cohen impression. Only... more fucked up. He kills people, and takes a photo. Only, the photo distorts reality, so you'll see a man repeatedly blow his brain out in slow motion.
He has style, he has an audience, and he has business partners. And... I actually love his work. If he were a real life artist and didn't kill people, I'd be lining up for an art show of his. Even if he did kill people. Maybe. Idk. I'd be part of his art.
He is so wonderfully deranged, and he feels like if The Outsider from Dishonered had a wild night out with the aforementioned Sander Cohen and I guess a little of the joker in his disregard for human life - including his own.
To give anymore away would ruin the surprise. I've only given away things from the first 1-2 hours of play, but this is something special. This will go down as a classic of the genre. It takes from the classics, but more in spirit. It does it's own thing and it does it well. If I had to give a rating, this would be a 12 out of 10. I love this game, and I'd go into more detail, but talking about it has made me need to go back. I can't wait to finish this game and restart on a harder difficulty.
So have you played it? Do you want it? What do you think? And what's your all time favourite horror game?
Mine is Bloodborne.