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The Evil Within 2 shines on PS4 – but Xbox One and PC fall short

The original Evil Within was a divisive release, but most can agree that technically speaking, it was a bit of a mess. With a choppy frame-rate across both consoles, broken on-disc launch code and a lacklustre PC port that really didn’t want to run at high frame-rates, it was clear that a lot of changes were necessary for the inevitable follow-up. That sequel arrived last week, helmed by a new director with promises of a massively overhauled engine.

So, does The Evil Within 2 manage to overcome its predecessor’s issues and hand in a quality horror experience with smooth performance? Our tests suggest that the PlayStation 4 version is fine and offers a huge leap in polish and quality over the original game. Although the improved quality carries through to the other releases in many respects, there are several aspects that disappoint. Xbox One suffers from reduced image quality and frame-rate issues while the PC game appears incapable of getting the most out of your hardware, meaning that a locked 60fps was off the table during our testing – even with an overclocked i7 and the mighty Titan Xp… running at 720p.

The technical issues are frustrating, but PS4 owners generally get a great experience with only minor issues. When you first begin, a splash screen appears indicating that this game has been created using the so-called STEM Engine – powered by id Tech. There is very little information available on this technology but the words “powered by id Tech” also adorn the logo for Arkane’s own VOID Engine which, according to one if its creators, was derived from id Tech 6, while id Tech engineer Tiago Souza has confirmed elements of his Doom 2016 work within the new Evil Within.

Regardless, this sequel is a huge upgrade over its predecessor. The new engine supports a lot of brand-new advanced visual features that were simply not available in the original game. A high-quality camera and per-object motion blur is used this time, greatly increasing the fluidity of the game’s animation. It’s a subtle enough effect that it doesn’t blur the image but it does result in a more impressive game in motion compared to the original.