I should be honest in saying that I never got around to trying out the original Evil Within. Going into The Evil Within 2, I was excited to finally see what the renowned Shinji Mikami is up to horror-wise since his departure from Capcom and the Resident Evil series.
In the almost pitch black room where I was stationed, I was warned ahead of time that the level that I was about to play is a significant portion of the way into The Evil Within 2, starting right off the bat with a major boss fight. In the familiar safe room that I started in, I had the option to go to the firing range and familiarize myself with the controls.
Once I felt confident in my grasp of the control scheme, I had the chance to upgrade my weapons at the bench and upgrade returning The Evil Within 2 protagonist Sebastian. Upgrading the already equipped shotgun, sniper rifle, pistol, and crossbow was a breeze with many options from damage increase to reload speed to extended ammo.
Upgrading Sebastian was rather interesting and creepy, as I had to visit a suspicious nurse to increase the stats of him. Offering her some even more suspect green gel allowed for me to increase his health, speed, stealth, and more. The amount of options to choose from are vast and welcome, though, it was certainly overwhelming for a newcomer like myself.
After selecting to focus on my health and speed in preparation for the upcoming boss fight, I made my way to the city's Town Hall where the entirety of The Evil Within 2 level was located. The impending doom was fairly obvious, and upon carefully stepping through trip wire, I was greeted by a menacing boss.
She was a normal humanoid that had perhaps a dozen of the same female, Grunge-looking heads piled atop one another. Her attacks were simplistic, just continuously charging after me without pause. This required me to utilize the surrounding environment to defeat her.
The aforementioned trip wire was useful for luring her into a trap and then pumping shotgun shells into her over and over. When she inevitably got loose, I was able to set another trap by lighting gasoline on fire with my explosive crossbow bolts and watching her burn.
It was a tense, lengthy fight that forced me to use all four of my available weapons. Though the boss herself wasn't that memorable in design or pattern, the fight reminded me of classic Resident Evil bosses where you have choices and light environment puzzles that are used to win.
The rest of The Evil Within 2 preview took me throughout the historic Town Hall, as a beautifully composed soundtrack accompanied my journey. Sebastian is searching for his thought-dead daughter that has been taken alive by an evil corporation and was supposedly there.
Though the level started so action-heavy, the rest of it was a tight, scripted horror experience. I quickly found myself at a dead-end, in a room that was set up for a photo shoot. Here, The Evil Within 2 showed me the puzzle aspects of the game, as I had to essentially complete the photo shoot by properly posing the mannequin and backdrop.
Completing the well thought-out, if not easy, puzzle opened a new hallway and then the creepiness began. There was only one real jump scare in my 30 minutes of exploring the Town Hall, but The Evil Within 2 made up for that with even better atmospheric horror similar to P.T.
Several winding, dim hallways continued the theme of art that started with the photo shoot, as I had to examine specific tapestries and paintings to advance. The lighting was spot-on, shutting off at the right moments and reappearing with terrifying red hues.
My skin was crawling the entire time, unsure of what was behind the next door but certain that it would be unwelcoming. Without spoiling much, glimpses of otherworldly creatures, sudden blood splatter, and the sinister return of the mannequins all came together to create a brilliantly designed level that concluded in the introduction of the villain.
The sadistic artist behind the masterful, haunted Town Hall was a mix between sophisticated and flamboyant, while never lacking in devilry - totally like Tsukiyama from Tokyo Ghoul. Though he is only briefly introduced, he has me intrigued in seeing more of him in The Evil Within 2. My preview concluded shortly thereafter with a far more interesting and terrifying boss fight.
I won't spoil it, as the unknown is what made it so fascinating and challenging. However, just know that the boss' design was much more horrific and detailed than the first. The battle itself used interesting elements like time and choosing fight versus flight to constantly mix everything up. It had me on edge the entire time, representative of the level as a whole. It got me in the spooky fall mood, and has me actually interested in The Evil Within 2 when I wasn't before.