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10-18-2017

The Evil Within 2

In one of The Evil Within 2's early chapters, Sebastian Castellanos stumbles onto a familiar scene. As he wanders through darkened corridors, chasing leads in desperate hope of recovering his missing daughter, the former detective enters a room that's best described as a stand-in for Twin Peak's Red Room. Rich, velvety curtains hang in front of him. Black and white patterned tiling spills out beneath his feet, not unlike the Room's chevron flooring. This location is a far cry from his previous surroundings. It's a transient place, existing somewhere between Sebastian's waking world and the shared reality created by connected minds at the center of The Evil Within's fiction.

This allusion defines one aspect of The Evil Within 2. Like its predecessor, the survival horror game can't resist nodding and emulating elements of other franchises. Its DNA is muddy, mixing gameplay systems and tonal stylings with abandon. If you examine it from one angle, The Evil Within 2 is a strange mashup of horror's greatest hits held together by a leash of semi-open exploration. From another, it's a remarkable mood piece that draws players in with familiarity only to subtly shift attention towards something altogether new. There aren't many games like this one, even though it sometimes feels like it's all been done before.

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