Update: We got some significant hands-on time with Evil Within 2 at Gamescom 2017 and we were very impressed with what we saw. It was so scary that seasoned journalists in the room were screaming. Not us though. No, we were brave. Okay, maybe we were a bit scared. But we didn’t want to stop playing. Read on for more of our first impressions.
Original article continues below…
As many hoped and suspected, The Evil Within 2 was revealed at this year’s Bethesda conference during E3.
Not only did we get to see the cinematic announcement trailer, we were given a very apt release date of October 13 2017. Other than that, however, details were fairly thin on the ground.
If you’re absolutely certain you’re going to love it, though, it’s already available to pre-order here.
Released in 2014, the original Evil Within was a horror game that was praised for its uniqueness, despite having some flaws. Most notable was the way the game managed to combine features of classic survival horror games with more up-to-date third person action elements to create something that felt classic without feeling outdated.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A sequel to the horror game The Evil Within
- When can I play it? October 13
- What can I play it on? PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
It’s not long until October now! And Bethesda has released a brand new trailer for The Evil Within 2 that shows some gameplay footage. The trailer shows points from different areas in the game rather than focusing on one moment so we can see Sebastian running and hiding for his life as well as engaging in direct and fiery combat with frightening enemies.
Watch it for yourself below:
The game got its very first trailer at Bethesda’s E3 showcase this year. Showing Sebastian Castellanos and his daughter facing frightening enemies, it gives a good sign that we’re going to be just as scared this time around.
But that isn’t the only trailer going. With this next trailer, Bethesda introduced one of the villainous human residents of Union. Stefano Valentini is a photographer turned murderer who captures his victims in their final grisly moments and takes great pleasure in doing so.
You can watch his chilling introduction below:
News and features
It’s an extremely apt date: The Evil Within 2 will be released on Friday October 13 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Story and gameplay
The Evil Within 2 will see the return of Detective Sebastian Castellanos, the protagonist of the first game.
This time he’s described as being at his “lowest point” having lost everything, including his daughter. However, when he’s given the chance to save her and bring her back he enters “a world filled with nightmares” to “discover the dark origins of a once-idyllic town.” That’s right, we’re returning to STEM.
This time, however, Bethesda has confirmed players will be entering a different STEM world called Union, which uses Sebastian’s daughter’s mind as the core.
Where Sebastian had some familiarity with the town of the first game, Union is completely new to him. Though it looks like a small idyllic American time, it’s slowly tearing itself apart.
Players will encounter a whole new cast of characters in this new game world, each with their own reasons for being there.
Julie Kidman will return to the game, but this time she’ll be the link to the real world and Sebastian will be able to communicate with her via a special device.
In the description of the game, Bethesda asks “Will you face adversity head on with weapons and traps, or sneak through the shadows to survive?”
This, of course, suggests that once again players will be able to choose how they approach enemies, whether using stealth or by being somewhat more direct. The first time around, the stealthy approach wasn’t quite up to scratch so it was definitely something we were keen to try out when we got our hands on it at Gamescom.
And it didn’t disappoint. The stealth attacks were fluid and visceral. In fact, the demo was only really completable using stealth, so this was obviously a feature that Bethesda was wanting to show off.
In terms of the overall feel of the game, we were seriously impressed. The nightmarish creatures are genuinely terrifying (while we were playing, there were people in the room screaming in fear), the transition between cutscenes and gameplay is totally seamless, and the world is the brilliant combination of fun and horrible that a horror game needs to succeed. We didn’t want to stop playing.
For those who haven’t played the first game it might be a little hard to get excited for any of the details that have been released this far. But that’s not to say that it will be inaccessible. From what we saw, there is enough exposition being thrown in that new players aren’t going to be stumbling around in the dark (not metaphorically at least).
Bethesda has put together a convenient Story FAQ to make things a little easier to understand for new visitors to the nightmare and make it absolutely clear that you don’t have to have played the first title to enjoy and understand its sequel.
The FAQ which can be found goes over the series protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, his background, and his partner as well as the shadowy organisation Mobius and the sinister STEM device.
With all the essentials covered the FAQ then goes on to reveal some things about The Evil Within 2. The information isn’t particularly spoilerific but if you’re desperately trying to avoid any and all information before you play the game for yourself we’d suggest you avoid it.
For anyone that wants to know a little more about what they can expect in terms of Castellano’s state, his daughter, the new game world and the people that may be encountered there it’s certainly worth a read.
Who’s on the team?
Although it was confirmed at this year’s E3 that the director of the original The Evil Within and founder of Tango Gameworks Shinji Mikami wouldn’t be directing the upcoming sequel that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been involved at all.
In a recent interview with IGN Mikami said that his decision to step down from his directorial role was out of a desire to make Tango Gameworks a “studio where young and talented creators are given a chance to succeed” and that new director [John Johanas] has “a lot of talent.”
As far as the game’s story is concerned, Mikami said “Mr. Ishimine, our scenario writer, had the most influence on the main story.” The main difference between the first game’s story and this one is that the team aimed to “make it simpler and easier to understand. Compared to the first game, where the protagonist got caught up in the story, this time of his own volition—albeit warily—he heads into a frightening world in order to rescue his daughter.”
When asked whether he would call this a Shinji Mikami game, Mikami replied that players would “see [his] influence here and there” but that “It was a team effort, with John at the helm and [him] there supervising.”
We had some time to sit down with Evil Within 2 at Gamescom 2017, and we were very impressed with what we saw. Horror games are a difficult artform to master and it’s a fine line between frightening and ludicrous. Fortunately, it looks like Bethesda has managed to pull another nightmare out of the bag.
We were told that the demo we were playing was from very near the beginning of the game, and it felt like it. We were still very much in the ‘learning about the world’ stage of the game.
This introductory part of a game is particularly challenging for horror titles; their atmosphere relies on consistency to be thrilling and if it’s not scary and fun at the start, you’re less inclined to believe it is later on, too. Instructions can be neither too clear lest they ruin the mystery, nor too opaque less they cause frustration.
To The Evil Within 2’s credit it managed to fill us in on everything we needed to know without ever lowering the pace or tension.
And tension is the right word for it. From the first moment of the demo, we could feel our blood pressure rising. Thrust alone into a dark room, flashlight in hand, we tentatively tried to figure out where we were and what we were supposed to be doing.
We found a room filled with hanging corpses (at least we think they were corpses), and then things start getting really weird. We’re not going to spoil the game for you, but we got to briefly meet one of the human antagonists, photographer Stefano Valentini, before being chased by a creature made of pure, distilled nope.
There were several moments when the other press in the room genuinely let out cries of fear. We were very brave though and managed to stifle our yelps.
The game brilliantly capitalizes on its premise, and uses the artificiality of reality to disorient you in a horribly satisfying way. The ‘quaint town’ that Sebastian thought he was entering has stopped being quaint a long time ago, and although this is a trope that often appears in horror, it still manages to engage us here.
We’re looking forward to seeing more from The Evil Within 2 when it’s released on October 13 this year.
What we want to see
A more nuanced story
We enjoyed the story of The Evil Within, and we also enjoyed its protagonist but it’d be nice if the sequel was slightly less ambitious with its story and went less all in on the absurd plot twists that tended to detract from rather than add to the game.
It absolutely is possible to balance the strange horror elements and wild monsters of The Evil Within with moments that are more grounded in real-life fears and still have it make an impact. This is something we’d love it if The Evil Within 2 was able to achieve.
If there’s one area a horror game really needs to perfect to instill fear, it’s its visuals. A solid aesthetic and consistent framerates and textures are key. It’s harder to be scared of monsters when they’re juddering towards you or their textures aren’t fully rendered. The original Evil Within sometimes had the problem of being inconsistent in these areas. This is likely in part because it was straddling the PS3 and Xbox 360 to PS4 and Xbox One generations and was playable on both.
We’d love to see The Evil Within 2 burst onto the latest generation consoles with gusto. Perhaps we could even see support for PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio.