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Game Review

Many hybrid games these days blend different genres to produce an entertaining romp. You know, a shooter that's made up of cartoon aliens and raucous pratfalls, for example. Or a robots-in-love action-adventure RPG.

The popular game The Evil Within 2, however, is not one of those games. It's pure survival horror. Nothing more, nothing less.

A Matrix of Evil

Det. Sebastian Castellanos is the game's featured hero. But if you didn't play the first title in the series, no worries. All you really need to know is that he's an ex-cop plagued with fear for his loved ones and guilt about the past. And he's the guy who'll guide gamers into what amounts to a 20-to-30 hour fever dream—and a brutal one at that.

The story focuses on the nefarious doings of a secret organization known as Mobius. This group of heavily armed ne'er-do-wells has control of STEM—a Matrix-like virtual reality technology that these baddies hope to use for Matrix-like domination of humanity. Alas, something has gone terribly wrong (as these things usually do): That vast inner world is now crumbling apart in gravity-defying chunks. And the place is rife with zombies and all manner of deep, dark grotesqueries.

That's where Sebastian comes in. It seems his young daughter, Lily, is involved in this horrid cyber reality. He thought she had perished in a terrible fire. But she was actually kidnapped by Mobius, and her death was faked. In fact, his young girl's uniquely malleable mind is somehow being used to maintain everything in STEM. Of course, if anyone can have his consciousness beamed into that grim virtual place to set things aright, it's Lily's hard-fisted, fiercely determined dad.

That may sound like a particularly hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around backstory. But truthfully, that intricate narrative's sole purpose is to explain why Sebastian will have to keep pounding into scores and scores of nightmarish, leaping-from-the-dark creatures; maneuvering his way into shadowy, terror-filled structures; and wading through miles of rotting, stinking gunk.

Survive This, Pal

If the goal of survival horror is to make you feel like you're always holding on by your virtual fingernails and just barely surviving the deadly onslaught tossed at you, well, The Evil Within 2 nails it—with a large and grisly nail.

Everything from gunmen with high-caliber weapons to reality manipulating madmen to crawling corpse thingies attack you, filling your camera's eye with splashes of bloody goo or gutting you altogether and sending you back to a previous checkpoint for another try.

Characters' heads are partial blown off, limbs are rent, bowels are spilled. We see a screaming young girl's face melt away in the heat of a blazing fire. "Artwork" on display is comprised of eviscerated entrails, creepy corpuscular corpses, oozing puss bubbles, bathtubs full of blood, severed arms skittering about like spiders. Gruesome hybrid monstrosities—pieced together from naked and goopy body parts (some, obviously female in origin) and sharp-edged power tools—haunt dark hallways. And F-words and s-words (as well as milder profanities) choke the dialogue as well.

"Ugh, who comes up with this stuff," Sebastian groans aloud while looking at a particularly nasty piece of "art" skewered to a wall.

That sentiment easily speaks for the entire game.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes



Readability Age Range







Record Label


Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC


Bethesda Softworks


October 13, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

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