50 Best Games of 2017: #38 – The Evil Within 2

The Evil Within 2

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

Our 50 best games of the year countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

The original The Evil Within was the horror game equivalent of It Follows. While many appreciated its unique aesthetic, creeping sense of dread, and unconventional way of approaching the norm, its individuality also soured some on the inconsistency of the experience.

I belonged firmly in the former camp. Shinji Mikami’s mad vision never connected with me in any meaningful way and turned me away in its first few hours. No such problem with the sequel that many never thought we’d see. The Evil Within 2 had me hooked from its first wild moment to its last.

Playing once again as Sebastian Castellanos, The Evil Within 2 thrusts you back into the mental ether of STEM and all of its weird and wonderful inhabitants. While the story is far better and more cohesive this time out, it’s still no Oscar winner. The main lure for The Evil Within 2, however, comes from its addictive and deep gameplay, which will have you skulking around corners like a much grumpier and downtrodden Snake in no time.

By introducing more open elements to the experience, The Evil Within 2 allows itself far greater scope in its violent playgrounds. The main meat of the game sees you trying to track down Sebastian’s daughter, but the many distractions you will find along the way are almost as compelling. Sidequests in a horror game really shouldn’t work, but somehow Tango Gameworks managed to pull them off without every looking like they’re desperately trying to claw onto industry bandwagons.

Across the nooks and crannies of Union, you will find things to collect, such as weapons and upgrades, but there’s also a great deal of detail poured into establishing the game’s world and its demented inhabitants, most of whom are trying to kill you. The grunts are, more or less, zombies, ambling and shambling along before becoming enraged and chasing down Sebastian – nothing too special there. But when discarded appendages start to coalesce to form a massive and bloody-minded bastard who chases you around with a saw, that’s when things really start to get interesting.

The Evil Within 2 also provides significant bang for your buck, offering sixteen hours or so of the main experience and a few more for the completionists. While it may unfortunately go down as one of 2017’s most underrated games, I would happily dive back into this wild word for a third game. At least another sequel might let me pet the damn cat.

Here’s an excerpt from my review for The Evil Within 2:

“Even with an uneven story and a couple of clumsy controls, The Evil Within 2 is an enthralling and dark sojourn that deserves to stand alongside Resident Evil 7 and Outlast 2 as one of the best survival horror games of 2017.”

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