The Evil Within 2

released on Oct 12, 2017

The Evil Within 2 is the latest evolution of survival horror. Detective Sebastian Castellanos has lost it all. But when given a chance to save his daughter, he must descend once more into the nightmarish world of STEM.

Horrifying threats emerge from every corner as the world twists and warps around him. Will Sebastian face adversity head on with weapons and traps, or sneak through the shadows to survive.

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I played the original Evil Within for a few hours and enjoyed it - but never returned to it after my PS3 died. Rather than restarting again I decided to give part 2 a try on my Steam Deck. I really liked the idea of a survival horror game with an interesting world within a world structure, where that world is falling apart, survivors are trapped inside but you are not sure who is friend vs foe etc but you are all trying to survive against a horde of undead demons. Add to that the interesting serial killer antagonist and chainsaw wielding maniac who shows up occasionally - it sounded like a lot of fun. Overall it was pretty decent - but also fell flat a lot of the time. I imagined it would be a lot scarier and creepier than it was - but it ended up being more campy horror and nothing was particularly scary. Perhaps playing on the small Steam Deck screen didn't help me get drawn into the games atmosphere - but overall it felt more like an action horror game. To counterbalance I think the developers made ammo scarce so that the game didn't just turn into a shooter. I think limiting the amount of ammo available felt like a deliberate way to make the game more stressful - it would have been more fun with more ammo around. I ended up playing this in small chunks over many many months and as a result I didn't feel very engaged in the game - it ended up being a bit of a slog. Most of the boss fights were kind of forgettable. The final monster fight was quite cool given the scale and grotesqueness of the boss. The ending seemed to wrap everything up nicely for the protagonist and his daughter (sorry mom) with the "evil within" overcome and the umbrella like corporation seemingly totally defeated. Despite a small teaser at the end that something may still be alive in the simulation, potentially setting up a The Evil Within part 3, there has been no follow up game from Bethesda and the series seems dead at this point.

The Evil Within 1, despite it's singularly grimy aesthetic and sturdy survival horror mechanics, is too beholden to what came before to make any true steps forward. Hard to read it's shameless pastiche as anything other than a response to Resident Evil ditching the horror and leaning further into campy action.
By contrast, The Evil Within 2 concerns itself with the future, both in form and narrative. The hub world structure does feel like it could've been the next step forward for the genre in another timeline - it's the key thing that differentiates this game from Resident Evil 4 and, by extension, TEW1. It gives way to some thrilling discoveries, and manages to mine a lot of suspense from the stereotypical suburban backdrops. I think my favourite part of this game though is the way it reckons with The Evil Within 1's iconography. It takes a hostile approach towards the images and ideas in The Evil Within 1; Sebastian's frequently referenced guilt and trauma stems almost entirely from the first game's events, with these feelings manifesting as bosses and locations from TEW1. This means that when the time comes to overcome your grief, you shoot old you in the head and tear your old nightmares apart with a chainsaw, like a classic Sam Raimi film. It's incredibly gratifying, and particularly refreshing when so many modern horror games/films about trauma are only interested in using the topic to reach lukewarm conclusions, instead of using it to kill things with chainsaws. It even uses the ridiculous fake film grain and letterboxing from TEW1 to great effect!
Just a flawless, concise experience. One that is obviously indebted to Resident Evil 4 but is also bold enough and smart enough to (literally) tear apart The Evil Within 1's attempts at creating a new horror franchise to make way for something better.

Primeiro é melhor, contudo, é um jogo muito bom.