Going Bump In The Night With 'The Evil Within 2' (Hands On)

The Evil Within 2 was first announced at E3 this past summer, and Bethesda plans to release the survival horror sequel on October 13 of next month--that is, Friday the 13th. In preparation for its release, we were invited to preview a single mission from The Evil Within 2.

The demo takes place during Chapter 5, about two hours into the game. Players take control of Sebastian Castellanos, a detective at the Krimson City Police Department, and the protagonist of the previous game. You’re searching for your daughter, Lily, whom you previously believed to be dead. As it turns out, she’s been abducted and trapped inside Union, a hellish world run amok by gruesome creatures.

Before diving into enemy territory, Sebastian starts off in a Safe Haven, where he can upgrade his abilities and weapons, or craft ammo and medical supplies. To upgrade your abilities, you must collect Green Gel. You can view the ability tree by sitting on a wheelchair, which transports you to an operating room where you’re assisted by nurse Tatiana. The skill tree includes upgrades to Health, Combat, Athleticism, Stealth, and Recovery. Starting skills don’t cost much Green Gel, but subsequent skills will require more.

To upgrade your weapons and craft ammo, head to the crafting table. The crafting section allows you to create bullets for your handgun, shotgun, sniper rifle, and crossbow. Gun ammo requires only gunpowder to craft, but crossbow bolts require gunpowder as well as trap parts, which are less common. You can also craft syringes and medical kits to restore your health, but the medical herbs you need are also relatively uncommon. You can carry only a limited amount of ammo and medical supplies, so resource management is paramount.

Upgrading your weapons costs weapon parts, and like your abilities, subsequent upgrades demand higher costs. Upgrades include Firepower, Reload Time, Ammo Capacity, and Fire Rate.

Before venturing out into the darkness, you can swing by the shooting range for target practice. The range offers two modes: Gallery Mode and Chain Attack Mode. In Gallery Mode, successful hits increase your score, and headshots provide bonus points. In Chain Attack Mode, you must shoot targets to gain points, and shooting adjacent targets of the same color will net bonus points. Shooting “X” targets will lower your score, but getting rid of targets adjacent to the “X”s will eliminate them. You begin the mode with 30 seconds, but shooting hourglass targets will increase your time.

When you finally start the mission, you’re sent to Union City Hall, where you’ll immediately encounter a boss. A gruesome cut scene shows dismembered corpses being melded into a giant abomination with multiple heads and a chainsaw for a right arm. This was a tough enemy--which was a little surprising given that we were playing on the lowest difficulty. A single hit would result in an instant kill in higher difficulties.

There are a number of ways to approach this boss battle, including running and gunning, but frankly, gunshots won’t do much. Luckily, there are numerous traps littered around the map, so be sure to take advantage of them. We don’t want to spoil too much, so we left those bits out of the video for you to discover.

Once the abomination is defeated, you can head inside Union City Hall. Upon entering, you’ll encounter Harrison, a dying member of your team. He urges you to plant his Communicator on the Stable Field Emitter on the second floor, which will stabilize the nightmarish environment. As you make your way upstairs, you’re met with psychological trickery which puts Sebastian (and players) on edge.

At the end of the level, you’ll find the Stable Field Emitter. Once you plant the Communicator, the Stable Field Emitter begins a stabilization sequence that lasts 90 seconds; however, a new boss will emerge. The Obscura is a large, deformed monstrosity with a camera for a head, and normal attacks won’t work against it. Luckily, the area will be stabilized in 90 seconds, so all you have to do is survive until then, right? Unfortunately, the Obscura is capable of stopping time (how convenient), so you’ll have to figure out a way to resume time and let the Stabilizer do its magic. Again, we don’t want to spoil too much, but we’ll give you a hint: Maybe its camera has something to do with its powers?

The Evil Within 2 is set for release on October 13, 2017, just in time for Halloween.

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