games / Previews

The Evil Within 2 Gameplay Preview

September 30, 2017 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
The Evil Within 2

Recently, Bethesda Softworks offered 411mania up the chance to play some of its new, upcoming titles at a special Bethesda Gameplay Tour event in Los Angeles. This tour featured a special early playable demo for The Evil Within, sequel to 2014’s hit survival horror game from Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within. Survival horror genre pioneer Shinji Mikami is back for another helping as Sebastian Castellanos must travel to another frightening dream world and stop at nothing to regain what he’s lost.

The Evil Within did a great job of tapping into nightmarish and dreamlike horrors, as Sebastian Castellanos is forced to travel through the demented mind of Ruvik. The setting for The Evil Within 2 has changed, but it’s no less unsettling or disturbing. Players once again assume the role of Sebastian Castellanos for the main campaign. However, after the tragic events of his past, it’s revealed that Sebastian’s daughter is still alive, and has one chance to save her.

It seems Mobius, the nefarious organization behind many of the events of the first game, actually abducted Sebastian’s daughter, Lily, and Sebastian has to re-enter the STEM program and a nightmarish world in order to save her. This new world is called the Union, and it’s seemingly controlled by a psychopathic serial killer named Stefano Valentini. Valentini seems to have an obsession with photography and capturing his vicious acts of brutality on film. He also brandishes a vicious dagger.

At the start of the demo sequence, the gameplay showcases Sebastian’s office. This will act as a save space and safe zone for players. Here, Sebastian can unlock new gameplay skills, upgrade his weapons and equipment, and save player progress. Apparently, Lily still recognizes Sebastian’s office as a safe space, which is why it’s there. It seems you can access it by way of mirrors similar to accessing the safe rooms in the first game.

After leaving his office, Sebastian’s search leads him toward a clock tower building/mansion/art museum. However, before Sebastian can get in, he’s forced to face the “Giggling Guardian” in a boss fight. Thankfully, the area in front of the building is located some helpful traps, since The Evil Within is a game series where you want to conserve your ammo and crossbow bolts. The demo does at least start out Sebastian with a variety of crossbow bolts, his pistol, and a shotgun. All the shooting and controls worked fairly well and were responsive. Beating the Giggling Guardian boss is a matter of leading her around the environment and putting her through the tripwire explosive tracks and shocking her with electricity, rather than trying to face her head on. Well, players can try facing her head on with whatever weapons they have available, but they should be prepared to take some damage.

Things get a lot more trippy after Sebastian enters the building. The space is filled with Valentini’s twisted “art,” forcing Sebastian to observe his lugubrious portraits and photographs. These segments of the demo were very tense. It allows for some exploration. Players will want to pay close attention to the art to solve certain environment-based puzzles.

The developers do a good job of ratcheting up the tension by sudden changes in the environment because Sebastian is forced to endure a manipulative dream world that technically isn’t real. Since Sebastian is again stuck inside of a dream world, the environment is amorphous and constantly changing. So a hallway will suddenly warp or change into a different type or room, or a room will become a long creepy hallway as Valentini seems to want to drive Sebastian mad.

Sebastian’s search is for an “emitter” contraption that will apparently “stabilize” the nightmarish environment. Unfortunately, after he reaches that environment, he’s confronted by Valentini himself. The cutscene then leads to Sebastian facing another boss fight, which is a feature who has a flash bulb camera for a head. This boss fight is more of a timed trial to avoid getting killed by the creature until the emitter can fully charge and start. Unfortunately, the boss can slow down time, so Sebastian has to shoot out the creature’s flash bulb to buy enough time to start up the emitter to vanquish it.

So far, The Evil Within 2 looks promising. Mikami certainly handles survival horror and building tense atmospheres around the gameplay and story very well. The boss fights are well constructed and definitely get your blood pumping. At the same time, the boss fights also make you think about your approach because you can’t just bull rush and fight these creatures. The environments have built in tools to help take care of the bosses, which is nice.

Shooting controls and mechanics were all fairly responsive. There’s a good level of control with Sebastian, but the controls are all very smooth. Thankfully, the control scheme allows for quick equipping of specific weapons or even health restoration. That was especially helpful in learning the ins and outs of the gameplay demo.

The Evil Within 2 arrives on October 13. The game will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.