Evil Genius 2 is Rebellion’s latest title in the strategy space, the sequel to the original Evil Genius. While I never played that first game, this one does more than just scratch that strategy game itch. It completely satisfies it, but then makes you come back for more. There’s a lot of depth in any playthrough for those who want it, but you can also burn through a campaign faster than you would in any triple A console title. There’s a fair bit to cover about why you might enjoy this one, so let’s get into it.
There are four main campaigns to work through in the game at launch. Each one is slightly different because the focus of the villain varies. There’s a good all-rounder to get you started, but soon you can delve deep into science, deception, or sheer force. The variety definitely makes the campaign more challenging in some cases, but overall there’s a decent level of difficulty which you can put up or down as you choose. The game’s story isn’t why you’ll come back though, it’s the meaty gameplay.
With that said, the themes present in this game are also definitely going to help. There’s a cartoon villain feel to almost everything. This doesn’t detract from any of the murdering or world domination, but it does help you sustain longer periods of playing. Honestly, if I didn’t have to sleep I’d just play this game all night. Every character, from the puny workers, to the zaniest of henchmen, each has a personality and look that you feel like you must see before you put the game down.
As you can imagine, the gameplay here revolves around building an evil lair and working up to ruling the world. This is done through research, hard work, and a lot of intelligence work. There are three main parts to the gameplay. The first is base-building. This has a good feel to it that never faltered while I was playing. The game does a great job of explaining when you need certain items and why. This helps you develop your base over the course of the dozens of hours you’ll be playing. After your first playthrough, you’ll have a good idea of how large certain rooms need to be and can alter how you play next time accordingly.
The second part of the gameplay is managing your base. This involves moving your villain around to make the most of their talents, keeping an eye on missions and needs, and preventing any agents from sneaking in or out. Capturing agents in particular is a very involved process, but one that’s essential to your game. this is where the game can feel stressful at times. You need to constantly manage menus to check that you have enough power and workers to keep all systems functional. Building on top of this management is difficult, but there’s a pause button to help out.
Finally, there’s the world map. This is where you’ll be perfecting your world domination. You need to scout countries, conduct schemes, and ultimately steal enough intel to build a weapon that will force the world to bow to your will. Standard supervillain stuff. This is the point that the game is always leading towards. Getting there takes time though, and can take longer if you don’t follow the helpful tutorial that’s built-in.
Some aspects are obtuse or never presented in a tutorial. This can be frustrating, but over time you’ll slowly realize how to optimize your base and play style, as is the case with all strategy games.
There’s really not much to say about the sound in this game. It’s good, and it won’t get boring after ten hours. However, it’s nothing that special. I think the best music and audio in a strategy game is music that isn’t mind-numbing, and interactive noises that you enjoy. That’s exactly what this game has.
As far as strategy games go, Evil Genius 2 is the best I’ve played in a long time. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd for any one reason, but as an entire package, it’s just a joy to play. You’re not going to be playing forty-hour campaigns as you would in Stellaris here, but you will feel like you’re investing your time in something that’s got a good long-tail ahead of it. With DLC on the horizon as well, I can only see the game getting more enjoyable and involved as new villains and abilities are added into the fray.