If you’re a fan of survival horror games, then Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s The Evil Within 2 is a must-play. Following on from his return to “true survival horror,” the creator of the original RE1, RE2, RE3, and Resident Evil 4 delivers once again, taking on the producer role alongside director John Johanas and the team at Tango Gameworks to deliver a stellar follow-up to The Evil Within – and it’s yours to keep as a free PC game, if you move fast.
The Evil Within 2 picks up right three years after the first game. Once again, you’re in the shoes of detective Sebastian Castellanos, who is still understandably traumatized by the events of the first game. Of course, it isn’t long before you’re plunged back into action, and Mikami and team manage to build on the first game’s foundations to produce one of the most tense, emotionally charged survival horror games in recent years.
Attempting to get over both the events that took place at the Beacon Hospital and the loss of his only child in a tragic house fire, which also saw him separate from his wife Myra, Sebastian falls into despair, only to be approached by his former partner, who tells him that his daughter is in fact still alive. Not only this, but she’s being held by mysterious organization Mobius, which is developing a STEM system similar to that found in Beacon, which runs a Matrix-like simulation to create an idyllic American town called Union.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s revealed that the simulation has fallen apart, and Mobius tells Sebastian that his only chance to save his daughter is to be plugged into the STEM system, where he finds the town of Union twisted into a nightmare realm filled with monstrous, warped inhabitants and several particularly dangerous serial killers with unique personalities who serve as the game’s main antagonists.
While I won’t give them all away, the first arc sees Sebastian tackling twisted photographer Stefano Valentini, who has a cruel obsession with creating setups designed to snap grisly photos of his victims at the exact moment of their death. The structure following these more significant foes works especially well, and gives The Evil Within 2 an even more distinct and memorable tone than its predecessor.
For those of you who managed to snag a free copy of the first game in last week’s Epic Games Store giveaway, you’ll absolutely want to grab the sequel as well. Even if you missed out, however, The Evil Within 2 works perfectly well as a standalone game, furnishing you with all the details you need to catch up – and its impressive 92% Steam user rating shows that it’s well worth your time.
The Evil Within 2 is a free game via the Epic Games Store from Thursday October 26 to Thursday November 2, 2023, and it’s yours to keep once you claim it. You can grab your copy here. That’s not all, however, as puzzle platformer Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is also free this week, so be sure to snag that as well.