Layers of Fear 2 Reviews

AuthorReview
yourmomjokes69
337,172 (221,369)
yourmomjokes69
TA Score for this game: 2,338
Posted on 30 May 19 at 05:06, Edited on 30 May 19 at 07:04
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Layers Of Fear 2 Review

Before going into my thoughts on Layers Of Fear 2, it would probably be good to give my thoughts on the original first, especially since they're so similar on the surface. I found the original Layers Of Fear to be an absolute failure in almost every category. It ran horribly on launch, dropping frames when even the slightest set piece or effect would trigger, even after being patched it still ran poorly. The scares alternated between being very predictable to blatantly cheap jump scares. The story had an enticing and original premise, I mean how could delving into the mind of a mad and murderous painter not yield interesting results? It somehow ended up just being okay, with shoddy voice acting, and an uneven pace, ultimately leading to a couple vague endings that didn't satisfy me at all.
So it probably goes without saying that my expectations weren't exactly incredibly high going into the sequel after my experience with the original. However I was actually pleasantly surprised with just about everything in the sequel. Are the scares still cheap and overall not very well done? Well yes, but everything else was improved by a significant, and immediately noticeable amount.

Unreal Engine 4 Was The Right Choice

As I mentioned above, the original ran horribly, at-least on the Xbox one, so I was not looking forward to another outing on the Unity Engine. Thankfully it turns out the sequel runs on the Unreal engine, and it runs beautifully. I played this on the Xbox one X and it ran at a perfectly smooth 60 frames throughout the whole 6-7 hours of game play. Whether I was being chased by a monster, or going through an effects heavy hallucination, it didn't seem to dip even once. The X version also comes with a nice set of options that the original severally lacked, such as V-Sync, the ability to alternate between 30-60 FPS, and FOV slider. The environments also look wonderful, and the sound design is some of the best I've heard from a horror game in a long time. If you have a decent set of headphones, they'll definitely be put to good use here.

The Narrative Is Surprisingly Deep

So I wasn't expecting anything to wow me about the sequels narrative, especially after how badly the original let me down, but I was completely wrong. The sequel deals with a lot of deep, and adult themes yet manages to handle them maturely and in an original way. The story centers on a famous actors descent into their own troubled subconscious while preparing for a role on a large cruise ship with a highly eccentric director. It's already a very interesting premise, but Bloober team manages to make it even better. It deals with topics like the nature of identity, repressed trauma, and the nature of acting itself, all while pulling out unexpected twists and turns along the way. Another treat is all the film references Bloober team uses to tell their story. There's references to classics like Metropolis, The Shining, and A Trip To The Moon. It's a great treat for film buffs and gives the story a bit more texture. The voice work is overall very well done, with Tony Todd giving a demanding performance as the narrator/director. The game also has three endings that are significantly different, and are all worth seeing.

Atmosphere, Scares, And Overall Gameplay

The game has slightly better scares than the original, but it still just feels like you're walking through the video game equivalent of a haunted house. There is more of a sense of a threat from a faceless monster who will chase you through a couple of slightly tense sequences, but even then it loses its luster after the second chase sequence. The atmosphere is wonderful, and the shape shifting rooms are very well done and pleasantly surprising, helping give a sense of unease throughout the experience. However that central lack of good scares is felt strongly and it's really the games biggest problem. Plus while the addition of puzzles are welcome, they still just feel a little too basic for their own good, I would've liked to see a little bit more variety and creativity in the puzzle design.

The Verdict: Should You Buy Layers Of Fear 2?

Layers of Fear 2 is truly an improvement over the original in nearly every way. If you can get past the lack of scares, you'll find a game with a deep story, great sound design, beautiful graphics, and a solid atmosphere. 30 dollars does seem a little bit too much in my opinion, but if this sounds like something you'd enjoy, I highly recommend you check it out. I don't think you'll regret it.

Pros

Deep story with multiple endings
Impressive sound design
Great atmosphere and fun level design
Solid voice acting, particularly from Tony Todd

Cons
predictable and cheap scares are still there
Disappointing puzzles
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