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Evil Within 2: Nightmare difficulty.
Nearing what I assume is the end of Chapter 3, and so far it compares pretty unfavorably to the same stretch of chapters from the first game (which is kind of unfortunate, since Chapter 1 of the first game was by far the worst part).
Weird stylistic changes they made that do not seem to accomplish anything other than making the game feel more generic:
Lantern --> Flashlight
Old-fashioned revolver --> basic 9mm
Victorian village and asylum/ruined cityscape --> some residential town
Detective --> Unemployed hobo
Man unraveling mystery of his dead family --> bearded dude trying to protect a child
Guy who doesn't talk much because he spends most of the game alone --> guy who basically narrates everything that is going on on-screen to himself:
"Uh oh, better not get spotted."
"Uh oh, got spotted."
"Lost 'em, but better not spotted again."
Minimal story --> 'Emotional, moving' story that consists of main character shouting "LILYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!" x 800
Barbed wire --> weird goo
Match mechanic --> Stomp mechanic
Also, the new guy voicing Sebastian is nowhere near as good as the previous one. Anson Mount's delivery managed to elevate otherwise basic proclamations like "What the Hell?" to an artform.
NuSeb asks what the hell is going on more frequently because I guess they decided it was the character's catchphrase, but it is just not the same.
Weird mechanical changes:
-Instead of having a small amount of stamina and small areas to deal with enemies, there is now a *huge* amount of stamina and giant, wide-open areas. Sebastian can now run like three miles across the map with enemies in tow (basic enemies are now 'fast' but they rubber band and stamina loss never causes him to stop, so it is literally impossible for them to ever catch him) to wherever he wants them. Or he can just hide in one of the thousands of bushes and cause the AI to forget he ever existed.
-Game is way easier overall. The first three chapters have lasted much longer than in the first game, but I have far fewer Game Overs than I did at the same chapter mark. Most of those deaths I probably could have avoided but did not feel like immediately reloading the checkpoint and did not feel like running away to reset the encounter.
-Movement controls and contextual actions feel way less precise, and the basic handgun feels almost completely useless. The zombies also feel way spongier, presumably to discourage combat.
-The game is very sparse with ammo but way generous with crafting materials, so the player can have like 5 shells 8 and 9mm bullets but also over 200 in gunpowder, which means they can craft themselves to a full inventory at any time they want.
-There are two layers of safe spaces now? Safe houses and within those houses portals to the real safe house where the player can actually upgrade everything (and unlike the other kind of safe houses seem like it will be around for most of the game).
-Game seems to checkpoint every time a batch of enemies has been cleared out or an item gets picked up. Kinda lame.
-The level design has been pretty boring mechanically. The segments that consist of just walking around seem way more numerous and way longer than their equivalent bits in the original game (outside of the DLC that was mostly awful for this same reason) and offer basically nothing in the way of traps to be wary of. We have gone from 'The Matrix as designed by the villain from the Saw movies' to just 'The Matrix but sometimes there are zombies'.
-I realize that I do not have to do the sidequests or anything, but the game really encourages the player to do all of them by locking certain weapons and story bits behind them (and having some of the better sequences involved, too). Consequently, the chapter feels never-ending. Complete one mini-objective and unlock three others. If I ever replay this, it will be nice to know which ones need to be aggressively skipped.
-Again, seriously, I miss the matches.
On the other hand, at the very least I think it has a better open-world approach than Zelda did. Items have actual value (even if the amount of crap that has to be picked up to receive that value has massively inflated) and enemy encounters are more unique (nobody respawns until events introduce new enemy layouts) and way more engaging. Individual areas also lock Sebastian in and become essentially linear segments, which are by far better than aimlessly running around a giant oversized map.
Hoping things pick up.