Heading into E3 2017, the anticipation for a new Batman game and a sequel to Bloodborne was palpable. Sadly, neither came to fruition. Yet, in the midst of an underwhelming Bethesda conference, in which they continued to milk its six-year-old magnum opus Skyrim, came a surprising highlight known as The Evil Within 2.
Its reveal was not unexpected, but what was surprising was how much of an impact it had with its cinematic, CGI trailer. The Evil Within 2 looks set to surpass Resident Evil 7 and Outlast 2 in the race to be crowned horror game of the year.
Not much can be said about the gameplay as little has been shown. This is a concern because it was the clunky, stiff, and outdated gameplay of The Evil Within which prevented many from completing it, in spite of its mystery and memorable monsters such as the ferocious and oddly titillating Spider Lady, who would not give up on her quest to smash your face and swallow your blood. Therefore, instead of enticing gameplay, it is the memorable visuals of the trailers which have whetted the appetites of many.
Cinematic trailers are often frowned upon by much of the gaming community, eliciting responses like ‘They’re misleading’, ‘they’re false’, ‘they’re pointless’, and ‘the game never looks that good’. These are the common complaints you’ll find in the hostile commenting sections of YouTube videos.
CGI trailers, when done right, can be indicative of the final product. The Evil Within 2 succeeded in accomplishing this because it provided unforgettable and disturbing imagery, such as a pair of arms wrapping themselves around Sebastian’s body and swallowing him whole in a bath of milk.
The trailer also includes a voice-over, which allowed the audience and viewers to understand the basics of what the story is about: Sebastian, supposedly, had a daughter named Lily who died years ago, and after being told by former rookie Kidman that Lily is still alive, Sebastian, after escaping, has to once again return to Shinji Mikami’s nightmarish world. It's a setup reminiscent of Silent Hill and Harry Mason's plight.
Watch the trailer for The Evil Within 2:
“Sebastian Castellanos is a former detective, but more importantly this time around, he’s a man struggling with loss and desperation,” said game director John Johanas via Bethesda’s website.
After escaping the horrifying world of the first game, Johanas explains, “No one believed his story, and Sebastian was let go from the police department and threw himself deeper into his hunt for the truth. Unable to find any solid leads, Sebastian has become emotionally broken and has fallen back on his old habit of drinking.”
Sounding like a protagonist who would not be amiss in a Stephen King plot, game producer Shinsaku Ohara added: “Kidman, Sebastian’s former partner, shows up out of the blue and tells him that the daughter he thought was dead is actually alive. Not only has Lily been alive all along, but Mobius has her and is using her as the main test subject in their renewed attempts to create a STEM world. But she has gone missing in STEM, and the only way to save her is for Sebastian to go in after her and track her down.”
The plot sounds intriguing, and it has potential for character development and large amounts of tension. It has similarities with Silent Hill, but also looks to have taken visual inspiration from James Wan’s Insidious. In the opening scene of the trailer, Sebastian looks down a long, blue fog-engulfed hallway of a home, with a black cacodemon at its very end. This, along with the image of Lily sitting in a shallow inky pool of water with a lit up house in the distance, is some of the alluring imagery the game presents, provoking feelings of fear and apprehension.
Although no combat has truly been shown, The Evil Within 2 has piqued the interests of many. Fortunately, it appears as if the needless, not at all stylish, letterbox presentation has been removed entirely. And there is now a more varied colour palette, as opposed to the sombre, gray, and mutedness of the original.
Astonishingly, in-spite-of its minimal appearance, The Evil Within 2 was one of the best games shown at E3 2017. For everyone anticipating its release, The Evil Within 2 soon hits store shelves on the aptly scheduled October 13, 2017 (a.k.a Friday the 13th).