The Evil within 2

STEM­ming the tide against the latest wave of night­mares

Games Master - - Contents -

De­tec­tive Se­bas­tian Castel­lanos must fight to sur­vive a world so twisted and night­mar­ish it could only have been cre­ated by Res­i­dent Evil vet­eran Shinji Mikami. We’ve got­ten our hands on the game, and they’ve come away shak­ing.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of broader lev­els and an open style of play, you might worry that this sur­vival hor­ror shocker would lose its pre­de­ces­sor’s power to give you the creeps. Don’t. Within our demo, we en­counter enough gore and weird­ness to en­sure that sleep will be much harder to get when October rolls around. That’s be­cause poor ol’ de­tec­tive Se­bas­tian Castel­lanos is hop­ping into the STEM ma­chine once again. If the con­vo­luted mythol­ogy of the orig­i­nal is hard to fol­low, this se­quel presents a sim­pler nar­ra­tive. Seb dis­cov­ers that his dead daugh­ter, Lily, is in fact alive and be­ing used by the shad­owy (nat­u­rally) cor­po­ra­tion MO­BIUS to power their STEM. The piece of tech is a bit like In­cep­tion’s dream div­ing, ex­cept swap dap­per Tom Hardy for ter­ri­fy­ing man­i­fes­ta­tions of a sub­con­scious’ evil. To save his daugh­ter, Se­bas­tian will have to dive back into the night­mares once more.

If all that sounds a lit­tle too close to re­tread ter­ri­tory in story terms, the sys­tems that shape this ex­pe­ri­ence are any­thing but. The big­gest over­haul comes in the form of larger lev­els, which are not only sprawl­ing places to ex­plore, but come with op­tional ob­jec­tives that play an im­por­tant part in the jour­ney. Whether it’s gath­er­ing the tools you’ll

“the open play style means you can plant traps, qui­etly take down mon­sters, or per­form a lead ex­or­cism on them”

need for tak­ing on the Haunted that roam around the new lo­ca­tion of Union, or stum­bling upon a much larger group of mon­sters than you might ex­pect, the in­creased size makes sur­viv­ing a more re­ward­ing en­deav­our.

We get a taste of this at the start of Chap­ter 3, as we head out onto the streets in search of Lily. The city looks like any typ­i­cal Amer­i­can small town… ex­cept for the roam­ing hordes of zom­bie-like crea­tures, and the bro­ken land­scape that sees build­ings some­how hov­er­ing above the hori­zon.

To help us find his daugh­ter, we use Seb’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tor to scan for her lo­ca­tion. While we pick up on her sig­nal, and can tell it’s a fair way north, we also spot another one closer by. It’s the last-known lo­ca­tion of a MO­BIUS agent who’s also trapped within the STEM ma­chine. This dy­namic of choos­ing be­tween plough­ing head-first into the story or ex­plor­ing Union more thor­oughly by com­plet­ing side-quests is a clever es­ca­la­tion of the usual sur­vival hor­ror trope of scour­ing your en­vi­ron­ment for any ad­van­tage. Nat­u­rally, we plump for the lat­ter and de­cide to see if they’re a) alive and b) will­ing to give us some gear.

Here to yelp

We fol­low the sig­nal and end up sneak­ing onto a roof, to find a dead body slumped in the cor­ner and a bulky Haunted pa­trolling around it. So much for the alive part, but as they’re dead, they’re hardly go­ing to ob­ject if we pinch at least some­thing from them.

One of the key themes of com­bat is an open play style, where you can plant traps, qui­etly take down mon­sters, or per­form a lead ex­or­cism on them. Un­for­tu­nately for us, our in­ven­tory is cur­rently a pis­tol with four bul­lets, so we plump for stealth. Ma­noeu­vring be­tween con­ve­nient cover, the in­ten­tion­ally jerky an­i­ma­tions make pick­ing a time to leap out dif­fi­cult to gauge, but when we com­mit and ghost up on our foe, we audi­bly sigh with re­lief as Seb’s knife fin­ishes him off in­stantly. Our re­ward for this nervy few min­utes? A bro­ken ri­fle that needs another part to fix it. Gah. On the other hand, it does mean the Green Gel we take from our vic­tim will purely be for up­grad­ing the good de­tec­tive – a re­turn­ing me­chanic from the first game – as there’s now a spe­cific cur­rency for up­grad­ing guns in the form of weapon parts. Now, if we go hunt­ing for all the ri­fle pieces, we could use them to build a new weapon to help us in our quest to save Lily as we fight through Union. But, for the time be­ing, we fancy sort­ing our­selves out some more pis­tol ammo so we can try our hand at a few head­shots. You’ll be able to make ammo or heal­ing items at a Safe House or on the fly, but in an ef­fec­tive twist we’ll no doubt curse at some point, craft­ing bul­lets away from a work bench or Safe House will cost more re­sources. Each shot feels im­por­tant when miss­ing one means back­track­ing or wast­ing pre­cious re­sources to get more ammo. In this case, though, we judge it worth the risk for the chance to pop a few heads, and ex­trav­a­gantly pour ev­ery bit of gun­pow­der on our per­son into a few more pis­tol bul­lets.

As we move fur­ther through the level, we spot a dis­used train and de­cide to ex­plore in­side. Af­ter a pants-en­dan­ger­ing jump scare where a Haunted comes crash­ing through a locked door, we try a

For­mat PS4, XO, PC Pub­lisher Bethesda Developer Tango Game­works ETA 13 October Run­ning away is a valid op­tion this time around, and can be a good way to save re­sources. Also: your life.

Dif­fi­culty comes in three flavours: ‘Ca­sual’, ‘Sur­vival’, and ‘Night­mare’. We’ll let you fig­ure out which one is the eas­ier of the three.

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