With less than a month until they release The Evil Within 2 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 13th (or the 19th if you live in Japan), the good people at Tango Gameworks and Bethesda Softworks held an event at The Holding Company in Los Angeles where they gave journalists an opportunity to play a previously unseen section of the game. What follows is my time with the game.
As you might expect, spoilers follow. Scary spoilers…
For those who missed the origial Evil Within when it came out 2014, both it and The Evil Within 2 are third-person survival horror games in the vein of the early Resident Evil games. Which is no mere coincidence; Tango Gameworks is the studio started by Shinji Mikami, who directed the first Resident Evil in 1996 as well as 2005’s Resident Evil 4, and also worked on such installments as 1998’s Resident Evil 2, 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and 2000’s Resident Evil: Code: Veronica.
Suffice it to say, The Evil Within 2 has a similar mix of action and freak outs, as the game not only has you shooting monsters from the third-person perspective, but also has you dealing with a mix of freaky creatures, thick atmosphere, and visual trickery.
At the event, the demo for The Evil Within 2 began in a section where I was able to fiddle with the work bench where you craft ammo and other supplies, as well as modify your weapons. Except this time out, you’ll also be able to craft stuff while you’re running around, even in the middle of a fight, though doing so will require more resources than if you do it at a work bench.
This area of The Evil Within 2 also had one of those old wheelchairs you use to improve your character’s athleticism, sneakiness, combat readiness, recovery ability, and overall health.
Satisfied that I had made the perfect warrior — well, as perfect as he could be with my limited resources — it was time to join the game, already in progress. In this part of The Evil Within 2, I was told to make my way into City Hall. Except no one told me there was a monster in the parking lot, one that’s made of body parts and a circular saw.
Luckily for me, the parking lot was apparently maintained by someone expecting a boss battle. Not only were there supplies lying around, but there were also some traps I could spring on the creature. Which is the only reason I managed to beat her; just pumping shotgun round after shotgun round into her face didn’t seem to slow her down.
Though it also helped that, like in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, your enemies in The Evil Within 2 have a convenient awareness indicator hanging above their heads, so you always know if they’ve spotted you, have heard something that catches their attention, or are thinking about something else.
After defeating the creature, and scouring the parking lot for any ammo I might’ve missed, I headed inside and started to explore this municipal building. For the most part, this consisted of such typical survival horror bits as poorly lit rooms with lots of shadows, random supplies just lying around, and moments where a wall would turn into a hallway or vice versa when you’re not looking right at it.
Though unlike many survival horror games — especially such combat-oriented ones as Dead Space or Resident Evil 6 — City Hall wasn’t full of enemies for me to shoot. Instead, it was more like, well, Resident Evil 7 biohazard, which was more sparsely populated and more concerned with freaking me out than testing my reflexes.
This was also the part of The Evil Within 2 when I first came upon a puzzle I needed to solve to move forward. Which I won’t spoil save to say that composition is an important part of any photograph.
After solving the picture puzzle, I continued to wander the clearly unclean hallways of City Hall, admiring the art, picking up story clues and supplies, and even, at one point, crafting some shotgun ammo as I stood in an empty room.
Eventually, The Evil Within 2 demo had me come to a really large darkroom. It was here that I found what I had been searching the building for (though, again, I won’t spoil things by telling you what). But while I was waiting for it to do what it needed to do, I was attacked by yet another creature, a spidery thing with an old camera where its head should be. But unlike the first boss battle, there were no helpful traps, not at least as far as I saw. Thankfully, though, the creature was a lot more allergic to being shot in the face than the one in the parking lot, though it did mix things up by climbing the walls like a crazed Spider-Man.
Beating this creature seemed like a good place to stop playing The Evil Within 2 demo. Especially since there was a demo of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus upstairs, and the only thing I like more than getting the shit scared out of me by Spider-Man is shooting Nazis is the face (you can read my preview of Wolfenstein II when the embargo lifts on September 28th).
As for The Evil Within 2, while it didn’t have any Nazis — at least not in the demo — it did seem like it was going to be a scary good time. Of course, that’s also what I thought when I played an early version of The Evil Within, and was proven wrong, so I guess we’ll have to wait until October 13th — when The Evil Within 2 is released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC — to see if it’s scary or just sad.