Tycoon-style games enjoy a small comeback, inspired by the resurrection of the Two-Point Hospital and the frontier work at Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo. Enter Evil Genius 2, a cult classic revived in the spirit of the 1997 Dungeon Keeper. You are the mastermind of the villain, trying not to tinker with heroes from elaborately constructed hideouts as you progress through the master scheme.
This is a fun concept and reminds us that we need more “bad guys” games, especially farce. It feels good to click and drag a huge money vault to make it exist and see it passively accumulate a pile of gold bars. It feels good to ask scientists to study a special laser door that can be used to protect a horde of bouillons. It feels good to roam the vast bases as the winner of the psychopathic Dr. Eble look-alike contest and increase minion productivity within my radius.
My early game base with a golden inner sanctuary in progress. (Image credit: Rebellion)
Last week I was able to access a limited pre-release build of Evil Genius 2. This is your first chance to play from the first glimpse at the 2019 PC Game Show. What I played was basically a tutorial. This turned out to be a few hours checklist task that describes all the main systems and the types of rooms that can be built. This is a necessary introduction to the Evil Genius 2 UI and sandbox structure. I left with a bit of concern about its depth and variety of events, mainly because much of the game’s content wasn’t available in this build, but I left with Evil Genius 2 as a crooked take in this genre. It is on sale.
It’s easy to see the tone and art direction of Evil Genius 2. Like Two Point Hospital and Planet Coaster, it’s a world built with cartoon-like roundness, slightly exaggerated shapes and vibrant colors. The Incredibles are the closest touch points. Like Pixar’s movie, Evil Genius 2 is a fictional setting that hasn’t invented a microprocessor yet, but it’s still full of imaginative gadgets, including ridiculous freezerays, healing beds, and brainwashing stations for capties. There is. In the seven hours I played, the playfulness eased the moment of frustration.
Bond’s villain theme extends to the front of my base, where carpeted casinos form the front wing of the facility. This is the literal front where you can drop a baccarat table or cocktail bar from a bird’s eye view. To staff at these stations, you need to train a middle-tier minion-type attendant who specializes in deception. The casino basically acts as an initial buffer. Lost investigators and hero characters can be interrupted by casino games, giving my attendants the opportunity to lower their skills before trying to enter my base. You can set your gambling game as a “scam tourist” and earn extra income from a neutral NPC.
However, the main way to collect gold is a scheme that is continuously populated into the global map that makes up the individual gameplay layers. Just like XCOM, send minions to different parts of the continent to establish criminal activity, and send more minions to get the job done (stealing incredibly good recipes and darkness). For example, selling in the market). I noticed that the world map is a bit simple, and I hope the ones in later games will force some more difficult choices. Basically, what I did was alternate between stealing money and reducing fever (a measured limit on the amount of law enforcement attention your criminal activity is attracting). Hopefully, this quadrant of the game has a little more than the maintenance work of clicking the icon and waiting for the cooldown to expire.
Similarly, this early campaign build did not inflict a large number of different threats or failures on my base. After I built all room types (including cafeterias, security rooms, prisons and interrogation rooms, gold-plated interior sanctuaries), I was mainly an investigator, the first sneaky scout thrown by a good group. To you who had to dodge. They arrived in a telegram wave, passed through my casino, and then through some security doors. To deal with them, all I had to do was click on them and ask my guards and general minions to kill or capture the targets. Occasionally I got out of the cell before I cross-examined them, but these basic good guys didn’t really care about my base.
It’s not a changing room! (Image credit: Rebellion)
Eventually, Evil Genius 2 threw me a fiery curve ball. Towards the end of the session, I panned to see my generator and science lab wrapped in flames. The ski mask sabotage operative infiltrated unnoticed and apparently set up several bombs. Minions scrambled for a fire extinguisher, scientists died in a flame beside a broken whiteboard, leaving me thousands of dollars to rebuild. Uhu.
These are the types of setbacks you’ll want to see more later when you enter the Evil Genius 2 campaign. In this early stage, only about 20% of the playable maps were accessible. This corresponds to five separate floors that can be connected to the stairs that can be placed. I am excited about the potential scale of your base. It should comfortably burden you with monitoring all entrances and edges.
I’m also interested in how the final victory conditions for EG2 will evolve. The “World Domination” section of the research menu was completely hidden in the builds I played, so it’s almost dark about how this important component of the game works. Evil Genius 2’s Steam page promises to “build doomsday weapons and rule the world! Sell the British royal family, kidnap Maine Governor, and literally Bake Alaska.” According to Rebellion, unlike the original Evil Genius, we know that we will build these doomsday devices in stages, “test regularly with the people of Earth” and change the world map.
I can’t shrug off these big questions, but my big point is how fun playing Evil Genius 2 is. Building things is seamless, and EG2 isn’t buried in resources or ambiguous systems: get money, hire minions, do research, and expand. The game also changes accessibility settings such as three common colorblind modes, support for the “most popular” gamepad on the PC at startup, and an Xbox adaptive controller. It’s not that bad about them, but I’m grateful.
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