Evil Genius 2 sounds crazy and clever in concept: You control a maddened overlord who is trying to take over the world by building a sprawling base full of disposable minions and devious traps. Plus, everything is wrapped up in stylish audio and video riffs for 1960s spy films. This was also the same pitch as its predecessor (which was released in 2004), but the sequel uses new features and technology to bring the concept to a modern audience. The inelegant systems and unsatisfactory progress, however, throw a wrench into the grand scheme of things.
I checked the original from Evil Genius Game Informer, but you don’t need to be familiar with the first game to understand this. In fact, Evil Genius 2 hits so many similar notes that you’ll likely enjoy it more if you take it fresh. Regardless of your previous experience, Evil Genius 2 shines the brightest during the opening tutorial. Little by little, different options will be introduced for your base, e.g. B. an inner sanctuary with your impressive throne and the ability to train guards to defend your corridors. This constant unlocking of devices for building and subordinates for training got me excited about the trajectory of my hiding place and the possible expansion of my operations. Unfortunately, once all the basic room types are available, everything is on a plateau. You spend most of your time doing minor deviations from the same repetitive tasks.
The main campaign consists of a series of missions that will take you through the process of conquering the world (each of the four geniuses available has a unique doomsday device that I like). But instead of hatching schemes within schemes, Evil Genius 2’s limited mechanics make each mission feel like the previous one. You can only arrange so many different ways to “get somebody in, explore something, train someone, build something” before they start bleeding together.
Certain goals are also related to completing tasks on the world map – an abstraction that tries to make you feel like you are in global control but only provides frustrating work by initiating and waiting missions that your progress towards other tasks Taxes. Your interactions on the map consist of clicking pins and starting missions to earn money. It’s a tedious combination of shallow and necessary that requires just enough babysitting to be distracting but not enough depth to be interesting.
Usually, when you don’t have formal goals, you’re just trying to get more of something. You need more power for your holding cells. You will need more traps to fend off infiltrants. You need more broadcast strength to update your criminal networks. This kind of ramp-up can be expected from a strategy game, but the problem is how few of these improvements make interesting changes to your routine. They just feel like numbers increasing with no meaningful effect. And the upgrades that make a difference (like minions automatically attacking intruders or being able to cut through hard stone) don’t become available until many hours after you realize the need for them. They’re still nice when you get them, but the pace of progress feels oddly slowed down.
Despite all of my complaints about the experience, Evil Genius 2 still falls back on some simple type of diabolical conversation. It shows a funny, caricatured depiction of evil. I cackled as agents set traps, cheered my robotic assistant as she interrogated intruders, and squeezed my fingers as I activated my doomsday device. The thrill of tweaking your layout and assigning your workforce is fun. It is often just buried in discomfort. For this reason, I would particularly recommend starting a game in sandbox mode after completing the main tutorial. This mode gives you unlimited resources and unlocks various options that you would normally have to play for hours to get. While Sandbox mode also lacks the clear structure to keep you moving, at least you can enjoy the fun of building bases without some of the nuisances holding back the campaign.
While playing Evil Genius 2, I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie Austin Powers. That probably seems natural at first; In terms of their character and overall aesthetic, both mock the early James Bond films. But that wasn’t what I was thinking about. At one point in Austin PowersDr. Evil (who was cryogenically frozen for many years) proposes a paltry “one million dollars” ransom. His henchman has to explain how times have changed, and such a request no longer really lives up to villainous standards. Just like Dr. Evil, the name Evil Genius has long been on hold, and while full of shameful intentions, the methods of this sequel feel out of date on the current world stage