The Evil Within 2
|The Evil Within 2|
The Evil Within 2[a] is a third-person survival horror video game developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game was released worldwide in October 2017, and is the sequel to the 2014 video game The Evil Within. The game received generally positive reviews; like its predecessor, it received praise for its visuals, atmosphere, and gameplay but received some criticism for its story and characters.
Three years after the events of the first game, Sebastian Castellanos has left the Krimson City Police Department, haunted by his experiences at the Beacon Mental Hospital. His only child, Lily supposedly perishes in their house fire, and his wife Myra, unwilling to accept her daughter's death, abandons him. This results in Sebastian descending himself into alcoholism. Drowning his sorrows in a bar, Sebastian is approached by former partner and MOBIUS agent Juli Kidman, who reveals to him that Lily is still alive. Sebastian is brought to a secret MOBIUS facility, against his will, where he meets the head of the facility named the Administrator, who further explains that Lily is being used as the Core for a new STEM system to simulate an idyllic American town called Union. However, a week before the events of the game, MOBIUS lost contact with Lily and their agents inside Union, and they have lost control over the simulation. Sebastian reluctantly agrees to help and is plugged into STEM.
Upon entering Union, Sebastian discovers the town has turned into a nightmare realm where all of the inhabitants were either killed or mutated into monsters. In addition, Sebastian witnesses a mysterious photographer with supernatural powers hunting down and murdering MOBIUS operatives. He manages to get Liam O'Neal, a surviving MOBIUS technician to help him track Lily's whereabouts. As Sebastian follows her trail, he learns that she has been kidnapped by the photographer, who reveals himself to be Stefano Valentini, a serial killer who managed to infiltrate Union. After an unsuccessful search for Lily across the residential district of Union, Sebastian learns from O'Neal that Stefano has taken Lily to the Town Hall. Sebastian battles his way through the Town Hall to activate a device called the 'Stable Field Emitter' as an attempt to stabilize Union, but Stefano sends out a new monster called 'Obscura', who Sebastian defends the device from. After Obscura vanishes, Sebastian finds that once again Stefano has escaped with Lily.
Journeying to the Business District, Sebastian encounters another surviving MOBIUS operative, Yukiko Hoffman. Sebastian continues to track down Stefano and encounters Sykes, another member of MOBIUS along the way, who Sebastian helps to investigate a possible escape from STEM.
Stefano reveals that he had originally kidnapped Lily under orders from another party, but decided to keep her for himself to exploit her powers as the Core. Sebastian kills Stefano, but before he can rescue Lily, Myra appears and takes Lily away. Sebastian finds himself transported to the interior of a mysterious stronghold-like area, where he is approached by Father Theodore Wallace, who attempts to convince Sebastian to join him to seize Lily from Myra since Stefano betrayed him. Sebastian refuses and is banished to a forest outside Union where he meets with MOBIUS operative Esmeralda Torres. Upon reaching her safe house, Torres reveals that she, Kidman, Myra, and Theodore had conspired to break Lily out of STEM and destroy MOBIUS from within via their chip implants. However, the plan went awry when Theodore became mentally unstable and decided to kidnap Lily for himself.
Deciding that finding Theodore is their best course of action, Sebastian attempts to contact O'Neal but gets no response. He discovers that the Marrow has been breached by Father Theodore's followers. Upon reaching Hoffman's safe house, Sebastian learns that O'Neal had left to access a restricted area within the Marrow, telling Hoffman to meet him there. Suspicious, Sebastian follows Hoffman's trail and finds out that O'Neal had been corrupted by Theodore. Sebastian fights O'Neal and is forced to kill him, though O'Neal manages to free himself of Theodore's influence and tells them how to find him with his dying breath. Sebastian and Esmeralda assault Theodore's realm, but the attack fails when Theodore uses Sebastian's own guilt and self-doubt against him, and Sebastian accidentally shoots Esmeralda. Sebastian is visited by a vision of Myra, who assures him that what happened to Lily was not his fault and that he should focus on saving her.
When Sebastian wakes up, he finds out that Esmeralda had sacrificed herself to get him to safety. Hoffman tells him that Theodore has erected his stronghold in the center of Union.
Before setting off for the stronghold, Sebastian helps Sykes one final time, fighting a path through the Marrow to find a backdoor out of STEM. Sykes departs using the back door, leaving his fate unknown. However, through an audio recording played after Sykes' departure, it is implied that he escaped successfully.
Both Sebastian and Hoffman assault Theodore's stronghold, but Hoffman is pinned down by the monsters at the building's entrance. With the fire approaching them, Hoffman tells Sebastian to go alone, and perishes in the fire. Sebastian then fights his way to Theodore who tries to kill Sebastian with hallucinations of monsters from the previous game, but he overcomes them. Myra suddenly appears and kills Theodore. However, she tells Sebastian to leave the STEM and leave her and Lily alone, before destroying the building. Confused, Sebastian follows Myra through the now-destroyed Union. After confronting Myra another time, Sebastian is teleported along with several parts of building of the Union into a sandy land, inhabited only by the recreation of their home. Along the way, he listens to audio recordings of Theodore, Myra and Kidman planning to save Lily until Theodore's betrayal.
Sebastian finally confronts Myra at their home, whose desire to protect Lily has made her insane and obsessed with keeping Lily locked in the STEM for her own "safety". She tells Sebastian that in their new home, Lily will be safe from pain and fear. Sebastian protests saying "If she stays here, she won't live a life free from fear, because she won't be living a life at all." When he tries to convince her that they can be a family again, Myra lashes out at him, forcing him to shoot her in the head. This triggers her transformation into a large being called 'The Matriarch', forcing Sebastian to reluctantly battle her. Sebastian defeats Myra, knocking her back to her senses. He prepares to take Lily out of STEM, but Myra refuses to follow, explaining that as part of the plan to destroy MOBIUS, she must take Lily's place as the Core of STEM to transmit the implant-destroying signal. Meanwhile, in the real world, Kidman is ordered by the Administrator to eliminate Sebastian. She disobeys him and helps Sebastian and Lily escape the STEM while Myra enacts her plan, killing the Administrator and all MOBIUS operatives (except Kidman who has removed the microchip from her brain). Now free from MOBIUS, Sebastian, Lily, and Kidman leave the facility.
In a post-credits scene, Sebastian parts ways with Kidman and goes off to live a new life with Lily. Back at the now abandoned MOBIUS facility, the STEM system mysteriously reactivates itself.
Similar to its predecessor, the game is a survival horror game. Played from a third-person perspective, the player assumes control of detective Sebastian Castellanos, who must descend into the world of Union to rescue his daughter, Lily. There are three difficulty modes, namely Casual, which producer Shinji Mikami recommends, Survival, and Nightmare, the latter setting being recommended for players who enjoyed the difficulty curve in the previous game. In The Evil Within 2, maps are larger and there are multiple ways for players to advance in a level. The player is also given an item known as "The Communicator", which helps to highlight the objectives, resources, and enemies featured in the game's world. It also reveals Resonance points, which provides hints regarding what had happened in the world of Union. Players can explore the map area freely to complete side objectives and scout for resources, which are scarce. Players can engage in direct confrontation with enemies using weapons like guns, or use stealth to prevent themselves from being noticed or sneak behind enemies to kill them silently.
The game features a crafting system, in which players can gather resources to craft new items such as ammo. Players can craft items at any time in the game, but doing so in a workbench requires less crafting materials. A customization system is also present. The Green Gel, introduced in the first game, can be used to customize Sebastian's abilities, which are divided into five different trees: health, stealth, combat, recovery and athleticism. Weapons can be customized using the weapon parts players collected through exploring Union.
Development for The Evil Within 2 began in March 2015, after the team at Tango Gameworks wrapped up the development of the downloadable content for the first game. Director Shinji Mikami stepped down and became game producer and supervised the game's development. The director role was assigned to John Johanas, described by Mikami as a person with "a lot of talent". The story of the game was penned by Syoji Ishimine and Trent Haaga. One of their focuses was to make the game's story easier for players to comprehend and understand, a response to the criticism of the first game where the game's plot gets too complicated by the end. Shifting realities, a feature in the first game, also returns in the sequel but according to Johanas, "there’s a bit more logic to when and how it happens". The 2.5:1 aspect ratio featured in the first game was removed due to the mixed response this design choice had received upon its release, even though the team liked it. While the game retains the gore-horror featured dominantly in the original game, the writing team also put effort into creating the game's psychological horror aspect, as the game tells a story that is more personal.
In August 2016, Pete Hines, an executive from publisher Bethesda Softworks, revealed that The Evil Within had sold enough copies to warrant a sequel, though he declined to comment on whether a new game is in development. The game was leaked in March 2017, in which a job description for Psycho Break 2, the game's Japanese title, was leaked. An advertisement for the game was prematurely posted on Reddit, several hours prior to the game's official announcement at Bethesda's Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 press conference.
Mollie L Patterson said on Electronic Gaming Monthly, "Though I never expected to ever see a sequel to The Evil Within, we’ve now gotten one, and I’m rather glad that we did. While The Evil Within 2 isn’t without problems—and I’m not sure it’s the kind of game I’ll ever want to play through a second time—by the time the final credits rolled, I had legitimately enjoyed the adventure I’d just gone on, and the improvements that Tango Gameworks had tried to bring to the series.
Game Informer's Suriel Vazquez awarded the game a 7.75/10, stating that "The Evil Within 2 is a solid horror game that expands the scope of the series to extend out of the shadow of a titan in the horror genre, even if it sometimes leans heavily on borrowed ideas. Its progression and difficulty curve create a satisfying loop that repays resourcefulness and strategy, but its set pieces and structure don’t build enough on the many ideas they borrow to make them feel new or interesting. The result is a ride that offers some fun thrills in the moment, but I don’t think I’ll lose too much sleep over these particular nightmares."
Paul Tamburro of Game Revolution awarded it 3.5 out of 5 stars stating that "The Evil Within 2 is a worthy sequel that makes a number of bold decisions. For those solely looking for the survival horror thrills of the first game, its spotlight upon combat will likely be a disappointment, as will its introduction of a dull open world. However, there's plenty tucked away in The Evil Within 2 that will appeal to both fans of the original and new players, with it presenting a mix of Mikami's best ideas and John Johanas' new direction. It's certainly not what I was expecting, but in a good way."
Alessandro Fillari's 8/10 score on GameSpot stated that "Though there's some occasional technical hiccups that result in some particularly frustrating moments and weird pacing issues, this horror sequel elevates the tense and impactful survival horror experience in ways that feel fresh and exciting. What this cerebral horror game does isn't totally new, but it rarely feels routine, and offers plenty of surprises. Coming in at a lengthy and surprisingly packed 15-hour campaign, the sequel does an admirable job of ratcheting up the tension and scares when it needs to, while also giving you the freedom to explore and proceed how you want. It's a tough thing to balance, but The Evil Within 2 does it remarkably well, and in a way that leaves a strong and lasting impression after its touching conclusion."
Lucas Sullivan from GamesRadar gave the game a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars saying that "Though it doesn't outdo its predecessor, The Evil Within 2 delivers another fun, challenging, tense horror headtrip that should delight fans of the first game."
"The Evil Within 2 represents one of the starkest and most astounding turnarounds from a debut title to its sequel that I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a brilliant horror game, one that understands when to ratchet up tension and when to pull back and let you collect yourself. If the first game was a failed attempt to 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," was Philip Kollar's conclusion on Polygon with a score of 9/10. The website later ranked the game 21st on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.
The Evil Within 2 sold 42,941 copies on PlayStation 4 within its first week on sale in Japan, which placed it at number three on the all format sales chart.
The game was nominated for "Best Action Game" in PC Gamer's 2017 Game of the Year Awards, for "Best Action-Adventure Game" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards. and for "Game, Franchise Action" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards.
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