|The Evil Within 2|
|release date||October 2017|
|Genre||Survival horror, action|
Horror games have recently gone in the direction of chamber stories about a hero with a shattered psyche inside a certain plot corridor. Even the Resident Evil series in the seventh part adopted the general trend and did it very successfully. The Evil Within 2 already looks unusual against this background, because this large-scale adventure with epic battles and cinematic production continues the series of hits from Bethesda Softworks. We will share our opinion about the game in this review. At the same time, we will conduct a comparative test of video cards and find out which models will provide the best performance.
The events of the first part and the loss of his daughter knocked down detective Sebastian Castellanos. From nightmares and shattered peace of mind have to be saved with the help of alcohol.
In a bar, he is found by an old partner, Kidman. A secret organization has created a new STEM machine that unites all consciousnesses connected to it. To stabilize the system, a pure childish mind was needed, and the detective’s daughter, who did not actually die, became the core of the virtual world. But due to a glitch in STEM, she is now in danger again. The last hopes are placed on Sebastian, and in order not to waste time, they are forcibly brought and connected to the system.
The main plot direction is set at the very beginning, although the overall story is complex and multifaceted. One story line develops around the protagonist’s personal drama, loss, guilt, and family relationships. Along the way, we reveal the dark secrets of the virtual and real world, learn about the background of the experiment and the conspiracies in which the people involved are involved.
In The Evil Within 2, there is no longer intrigue and misunderstanding of what is happening. Since the causes of visual madness are immediately indicated, we are rapidly immersed in a whirlpool of strange events that quickly replace each other. And almost in the first minutes they show a maniac photographer who is assigned the role of the main villain. He controls reality, creating compositions from dead people and body parts. Victims freeze in bizarre poses, spewing fountains of blood.
The first encounter with the photographer ends with a confrontation with a terrible monster, but in the end we manage to escape into the open world. Sebastian finds himself in the town of Union, which until recently was inhabited by ordinary people and looked like a quiet, sweet backwater. Now the reality of Union is literally bursting at the seams, separate areas are breaking away from each other. And instead of residents, obsessed mutants, thirsty for someone else’s flesh, take to the streets.
From this moment begins our main adventure. We find ourselves in a full-fledged “sandbox”, where you can explore different places, get into houses and outbuildings, getting involved in new adventures. We are given several landmarks on the map, and a special intercom allows us to take direction finding unusual signals to help in the search for new interesting places. We ran into the nearest building (church), we become a witness to an unusual scene. We turned left, climbed onto the roof – we found a rifle for which we would have to look for a part. Turned right – saved the survivor from the crowd of mutants.
Any advancement leads to a new event or to a useful find. This has its own interest, but also new dangers. After all, the more carefully you inspect the surroundings, the more collisions with monsters. There is not enough ammunition, and the initial arsenal is scarce, so sometimes you just have to run away. Stealth plays an important role in minimizing health loss. Therefore, we use shelters, sneak up from the back and perform deadly knife strikes to quietly eliminate the enemy, so as not to attract too much attention with shooting.
At first, the game is perceived ambiguously due to a number of conventions and the slowness of the hero. This is a disease of many games of this genre. Sebastian is extremely leisurely when sneaking, quickly exhausted when sprinting, and axes break from one blow to mutants, leaving us with a toothpick knife that can pick the carcass of an enemy for a long time. But here you quickly accept conventions and plunge headlong into a virtual adventure. Moreover, any initiative in the study is rewarded – you improve your skills or get more powerful weapons, which makes you feel more confident. A pleasant moment is the lack of respawning of monsters. The game allows you to partly carry out a methodical sweep, which makes life a little easier until a certain plot event, when the world is filled with a new batch of mutants.
The Evil Within 2 skillfully pumps up the atmosphere of survival in a world of danger and mutants, where we should be wary of any nook and cranny and extra noise. At the same time, the world expands in depth. Separate encounters with the unknown send us into some nightmares from the past, a labyrinth laboratory opens at a different level of STEM organization, we penetrate into new areas of the torn Union. Somewhere there is freedom of choice, and somewhere the narrative is rapidly carrying us along the story corridor. The game tries not to be the same type, to remain varied and unexpected until the very end. And in many respects this is ensured by the plot development, in which there are unexpected twists and a skillful play on contrasts. The same maniac photographer turns out to be only an intermediate link in the chain of events, and the whole story with his daughter is overgrown with more and more details.
In addition to a frightening game of hide and seek and survival, TEW2 skillfully exploits the effect of forcing anxiety. Separate moments are built in such a way that they gradually lead to something terrible. You already see warning signs and hints, but you keep moving forward. In this regard, the appearance of a ghostly woman, from whom you can only run away, is well arranged. At first, you encounter her in the house, hardly find a way out, and then she begins to appear in different parts of the city.
Or, for example, you wander along a dark corridor and watch the frozen, lifeless bodies of mutants. At the same time, you know for sure that they will wake up from the noise, so you try to be neat and quiet. But then you open the door, the siren turns on and the sleepers instantly rush at you.
Local monsters in many ways resemble the regulars of the Resident Evil series. Mutants are covered in bubbling sores, and tentacles appear when hit in the head. Somewhere screeching witches roam, attracting attention, twin creatures crawl in the grass.
The bosses look really surreal. A pile of bodies can assemble into something that walks on its feet with a huge hand-held circular saw. In the photographer’s shelter, we will be pursued by a human centipede with a camera instead of a face. In the laboratory cellars there will be an animated white goo, forming a kind of worm. All of them look creepy and repulsive, and are often not limited to a single appearance. Bosses will periodically arrange a hunt for us. And if at the beginning of the game the same monster with a saw is perceived as something unique and indestructible, then later such creatures will appear even on city streets.
The game has safe places, with normal difficulty there are also automatic saves at key points. In shelters, we replenish health and do crafting on special machines. To create ammunition and means of treatment, you need components that you collect as you explore locations. In extreme cases, you can collect ammo and a first-aid kit anywhere else, but without a workbench, more consumables go away. Along the way, you can improve the parameters of the weapon by increasing the magazine capacity, lethal force and other parameters.
Using a special green gel, we improve the skills of Sebastian himself. This material remains after the killed monsters, which is also an interesting find. Killed more monsters – collected more gel, but got more hassle and chances of dying. With the help of pumping, the hero can increase the life bar, increase stamina, become faster in stealth mode, learn to handle a knife more dexterously, or reduce the recoil when shooting. But the increasing potential is offset by the emergence of new powerful enemies and more dangerous situations.
Sometimes the game falls into surrealism, frightening the player with strange views and unusual staging. Moreover, within the framework of the virtual world, all this is easily explained. Therefore, in addition to the city torn to pieces, there will be unusual scenes in the Gothic or even infernal style. The Evil Within 2 periodically plays with images and perceptions, but does not slide into a kaleidoscope of inexplicable nightmares, destabilizing the psyche like the Observer.
There are references to the first part and walks through the hospital wards. They are successfully inscribed in the general thread of the story and even stirs up interest in returning to the last game at your leisure. There will be meetings with the old bosses. And if the memory of the butcher with the box on his head is still chilling, then we have some bad news for you…
Visually, the game looks nice, but suffers from strong post-processing filters. Before us are large detailed locations with an abundance of reflections and volumetric lighting, but the picture is overly blurred.
The game has some wild smoothing in motion (Motion Blur), and it’s better to turn it off in the advanced settings. You can also advise to reduce the grainy effect or choose only FXAA instead of FXAA + TAA.
The requirements for the power of the graphics accelerator are very serious. Budget video cards with maximum graphics settings will not cope. To reveal this topic more fully, a comparative test of video cards in different modes was carried out. All tests were performed on our standard test configuration. A more detailed description is present in the recent review “Games against video cards 2”.
Testing was performed at the beginning of the game in a scene with a burning house. This is a sequence with strong visual effects of fire and smoke, which creates a high load.
Standard graphics profiles are used. First, consider the results at medium quality (Medium).
The frame rate is not impressive. The potential of budget video cards is not enough even for this mode. Unless the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with overclocking and without blur effects will still allow you to play somehow. In the middle class, the Radeon RX 580 and Radeon RX 480 have the best performance.
Medium quality, high and maximum visually differ slightly. Therefore, we will compare the same video cards at maximum settings. Let’s add more powerful models.
The performance drop is small. Video cards of the Radeon RX 480/580, GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce GTX 780 Ti levels allow you to play normally. In the top segment, the Radeon RX Vega 64 and GeForce GTX 1070 Ti have similar performance.
Additionally, let’s compare older video cards at 2560×1440.
The Radeon RX Vega 64 and GeForce GTX 1070 Ti show acceptable performance, and now the AMD representative is noticeably faster. The potential of the Radeon RX 580 or GeForce GTX 1060 is no longer enough for such a resolution.
The Evil Within 2 is an interesting and large-scale game that combines the features of the usual horror and open world elements. At one time, I positively assessed the first part of The Evil Within, although it had drawn-out moments, crooked controls and other legacy of Japanese horror. Against this background, I did not expect anything breakthrough from the second part, but it came out unexpectedly cool. The storytelling in The Evil Within 2 is fast-paced and never slows down. The story of a father saving his daughter evokes emotional empathy. There are frightening and creepy moments, epic bosses and intense fights. And there is a world that is interesting to explore in search of something new. All this goes well together and complements each other. And in some places it is so addictive that it is difficult to break away.