Many gamers may be unfamiliar with The Evil Within that debuted in 2014. Thankfully, familiarity with this survival horror game - directed and produced by Shinji Mikami, who developed the Resident Evil series - is not needed to play its sequel.
You play as returning character Sebastian Castellanos, who has retired from detective work and spends time drowning bad memories in bars.
Upon learning that his daughter, believed to be dead, is possibly alive, he goes on an extraction mission. The game is set in a Matrix-like virtual world known as Stem, and Sebastian has to plug himself into this alternate-reality dimension where his daughter is trapped.
The once-peaceful town in which Sebastian emerges is now breaking apart and infested with creatures and predators. Starting out from a safe realm within his subconscious mind, Sebastian must venture out to reconnect with separated members of an earlier reconnaissance team and piece together the events that transpired, as well as obtain clues and access to tools like shotguns and crossbows.
Playing from a third-person and over-the-shoulder perspective gives you a wider view and better awareness of your surroundings.
One highlight of this game is the encounter with undead servants. While there are hideous-looking zombies that become aggressive upon sensing your presence, there are a couple of unique ones that will force you to change your strategy and adapt to their style of attack. For instance, The Gruesome Giggling Guardian is a tall creature with multiple heads of murdered women, each one bearing a different facial expression.
Once you are introduced to them, hearing their cries and wails whenever they are nearby will send chills down your spine. To fight them, players can get prepared by collecting items and resources along the way. Some of these can be crafted into other items or new types of weapons. Green and red gels are especially valuable for enhancing abilities and tools.
PRICE: From $74.90 (PS4, the version tested; Xbox One; PC)
GENRE: Survival horror
The open-world feature within the town allows you to explore deserted homes and areas to pursue side objectives and scour for resources.
Graphics quality has improved greatly from the last game, along with the engaging soundtrack and well-directed cut-scenes.
While pacing sometimes suffers during interactive dialogue sessions, those who persevere will be rewarded with a well-deserved closure towards the end. And be sure to catch the bonus ending after the credits roll.
• Verdict: Despite its shortcomings, The Evil Within 2 provides an entertaining experience that should go down a treat at home parties this Halloween.
• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer.