Dunno why I wrote this review, with a rather disappointed view of it.
Played the game Nemesis and on PC
This game is a bizarre sequel to a fast-paced combat heavy horror game. The change of director is rather obvious after reaching the third chapter. The pacing of the game is vastly different, going from a rather action heavy segment to another, to a much slower pace due to the new open-world mechanic which is an interesting mechanic but executed in a way that missed potential.
The destruction of Union is well caught during the integrity of the game, the different sequences caught a different vibe (dark night with Stefano, the fires of Theodore, and the white gooey thing of Myra), thanks to the open-world aspect you spend quite a bit of time in the same areas to watch Union getting completely destroyed in different ways. This might be cool and all but during the whole game there are huge issues the game has, the PC port is unacceptably awful a constant fluctuation of 30 to 60fps makes this one of the worst PC-Ports I have ever seen in my life, TEW1 was badly optimised, but no where near this bad. The art direction took heavy toll as well, the Haunted from TEW1 look way more diverse than the lost in TEW2. After killing the same models of zombies over and over again, it kinda gets annoyingly repetitive.
The much slower pacing felt really bizarre at first. You go from a game where you don't sneak much due to the constant combat you experience into a game where your knife and stealth kills become your best friend. Which it reinforces the repetitiveness of the zombies, by waiting behind a car and waiting for the very robot-like pattern in order to stab the zombie in the head. This might be different on easier difficulties, but the game does not make fighting the lost worth your bullets. You can easily spend all your bullets on the Harbingers and still not be able to kill them so it is just better to ignore them completely and move on. And when you are using your guns, the gunplay doesn't feel as enjoying as the first game. Using the crossbow in TEW1 is much quicker to load the bolt while in the 2nd game using your crossbow in a fight with multiple zombies chasing you it was painfully annoying to use it.
The most disappointing part for me is the missed potential on so many parts of the game. When me or somebody else plays a horror game I'm fairly sure the most important part is scaring the players. This game had an absurd amount of times where you just expect more of an enemy but then they just vanish... :
- Anima: A Laura-like enemy you discover in an optional house which is bloody amazing since this is the moment I least expect a dangerous enemy to haunt me. With an interesting mechanic where she will now pop up randomly in the open-world location to add including stress to the player. But the problem is every scripted event of her is really, really short, and when she pops up randomly, you just need to run in the opposite direction until she disappears. You also get no conclusion on her, she just stops chasing you for some reason...
- Guardians: The starting guardian acts similar to the Sadist (chainsaw guy) in TEW1 but doesn't provide the same sense of satisfaction. You spend much more time between the moment you encounter the enemy in TEW1, to the moment you can actually kill it. It's about 15-20 minutes, but goes to less than 5 minutes in TEW2 (not counting the parts where you fully don't encounter them). While not perfect in TEW1, this time feels really crucial to the satisfaction to killing these monsters, from being chased, to be the one neutralizing them. They manage to surprise you rather well in chapter 7 with scripted Guardian jumping on a van next to you to surprise the player after thinking this monster was dead and would not come back. After that, they literately transform into normal zombies that can jump onto roofs to help patrol... Feels like so much more could have been done.
- During chapter 6 you encounter a white goo creature which is rather refreshing from design point of view. But after finishing the short sequence with him, that's literately it, you never see him again... why? I want more!
- Safe-houses feel to overlap Sebastian's room quite a bit, it felt like they could have played more with the fact that the safe-house is still in Union and isn't as safe as it should be.
- During chapter 4, there is a FPS sequence where you cannot use your firearms which has a total of 2 enemies inside, what was the point of this part?
- The O'Neal bossfight was really not enjoyable. A bullet sponge where you run around in circles grabbing respawning ammo. That's really all there is to that fight.
- The Theodore bossfight (the PTSD TEW1 bossrush) didn't capture at all why these enemies were scary in the first game. The fight against the Sadist is a single corridor. An encounter with 1 then 2 Keepers that you just need to gun down. Then an encounter with Laura where you have to spin 2 valves then press a switch when Laura is under a specific spot to burn her, but all in a room small enough to find all the pieces to the puzzle extremely fast. These encounters are way too short to experience the stress of these enemies like they felt in the first game.
- The final boss, while Myra looks pretty cool and all, but these boss fights never fit these games at all, same case with TEW1, dead space 1, Resident evil 7 are just not good content for these types of game. Where every aspect of a horror game just disappears and you need to shoot some glowing yellow spot when it feels like they could just sweep you away with one arm and be done with you.
Examples of game that handle their final boss in a much better way: TLOU ( by not having one) or RE4 by not not making him absurdly huge.
From a story point of view, while the first game's storyline is a disaster of total non-sense to "oh and by the way this is a dream so it makes sense". The story of the second game doesn't help the overall story at all. Pretty much every character dies in STEM with the exception Seb and Lily and every single death, such as O'Neil, Esmeralda or Hoffman have no impact whatsoever on the player since you spend such a brief amount of time with each of these characters. Including Myra at the end, the game doesn't show any character relationship between her and seb to show the impact of her being left behind ( for whatever reason... ) because she needs to defeat the evil Illuminati controlling the whole world.
All in all, this game was a huge disappointment for me after enjoying the gameplay of the first game while the story being god-awful. This game might have felt better if TEW1 did not exist, this game feels like the hate Dark Souls 2 got ( which I do not agree with ) where the first game just overshadows how much better it was.
Every encounter with a non-zombie needs to be longer while the encounters with zombies need to be shorter. Huge problem of pacing.