Let’s be honest, who hasn’t thought about ruling the world and being evil in the process at least once? It possibly crosses everyone’s mind on a Monday! Well now you can in Evil Genius 2: World Domination, and all whilst hiding behind a nice, but totally legit casino, on a very fancy island with its own private helipad and beaches. Now I have to admit, I never played the original game and I suspect that will be the case for most, but let me start by saying it’s not an issue so don’t feel like you need to go play the first one.
Evil Genius 2 is all about building up your lair and growing it over time, with the end result being World Domination. The game lets you create the lair as you see fit, which is great. This allows for lots of replay ability in itself with having so much control over the layouts. What does every evil leader need, I hear you ask? Well that would be throw away minions! They’re the grunts that do your bidding, from building the corridors, rooms and everything required. We don’t just have basic minions in this however, and as the game progresses, you will unlock more and more. This then allows you to train more as you build your empire. We have the workers that will do all the digging and installations of your evil devices. We then have the muscle (which is exactly as you’re probably thinking) which are used for guarding your base and taking down any nosey investigators that happen to skip past the casino. Following that, we have the scientists which are needed for researching all your future torture devices. This then leaves us with the deception type, known as “Valets”, which are used to man the Casino to try avoid any one being too nosey.
All this requires money in Evil Genius 2, of which you will need lots and will need to ensure you keep it coming in. When you’re not in your lair, you have a world map. This is where you can send your minions on schemes, or missions if you like. There will always be multiple ways in which you can bring in cash which adds heat to the particular area of the map, or you can do a mission to lower the heat level. Some schemes will have different requirements e.g., worker types, cash costs, etc.. The world map is where I felt the game required a little too much micro-managing. It relies on different types of workers or minions if you will, and you need to ensure you’re training a mixed variation as, if not, you may end up like I did when I didn’t have enough technicians to do repairs. This lead to all my generators setting on fire and my control room doing the same! To save you from this type of error, the game has a brilliant time feature for saving your progress, which I wish many other games had; and you can set it to save every 10 minutes. Brilliant for when all your lair breaks!
What is good about Evil Genius 2: World Domination is that it totally swings into the amusing side of being an evil leader, like something you would see in a film. If you think of Bond film villains of old, or Dr Evil from Austin Powers, then you will know where I’m coming from. This is shown in the amusing traps you can lay about your base that can help get rid of the investigators trying to spoil your plans, who are known as “Forces of Justice”. We have laser walls, giant magnets that can be used to pull them into a further trap, and a classic favourite which is a hard hitting boxing punch from a wall. That being said, I think most peoples favourite will be the shark tank! There are many more such as poison darts, freeze ray, or just a slippery floor – all of which are pretty damn silly, but it works! You can also lay these how you see fit, and as you can build the base as you demand, you could potentially just have a corridor set for torturing the Forces of Justice!
When the game starts, you can choose the genius you wish to be. Each choice having their own abilities and bringing something different to the game, thus allowing a different play style to some extent. There are four to choose from:
- Maximillian, who I opted for on my second start to the game. He has the ability to vastly speed up the minion training.
- Red Ivan, who has the ability to intimidate and prioritise everything to be about himself.
- Emma (I mean not a great villain name I must say!) who specializes in handling of her henchman. She can cheer them up using a pep talk ability. She is also a former spy master.
- Lastly we then have Zalika who specializes in technology, which means she can complete research quicker than the others. She also specializes in traps.
What’s quite nice when choosing your characters is that you get a brief snippet of each of them at the start, which will help you choose. It’s not too meaningful as you’ll likely just choose what suits the play style your looking for. Every villain also has henchman and they bring their own perks too. I personally opted for a swords man known as “Jubei”. I mean, we all want some sword action in a villain game. These are recruited by completing side objectives in the game, which expands on your main objectives and is also shown on the world map. All missions, side missions and schemes are done from the same section.
Detracting from the personalities of the villains, one element that’s disappointing are the cutscenes. It feels like minimal effort was put in when these could’ve been used to show more of the character and their evilness, but it loses some of the potential simply because, whilst there is voice work from the likes of Brian Blessed and Samantha Bond, the characters lips don’t move as speaking. It just feels detached. The animations are also a touch lacklustre for the scenes too. The other element that lets this down is the mission structure – they’re too similar. For example, the missions are things such as kidnap said scientist, research an objective, etc. The game needs more variation in scope as it’s all done via the world map. Once you have sent the required workers off, it’s just wait for the timer to go down. In my opinion, they could’ve put some scenes here to expand on what was being done.
The fun in this mostly comes from the lair building itself and laying the traps, which is good because the game has a sandbox mode where you can go wild! During the story part, it feels like they can’t decide if they want you to have full control or not, so it ends up in some parts feeling like you’re not really involved. What you will notice is that the game does have a very pleasing art style. There are chunky bright style graphics everywhere, and the same can be said for the items built up in the lair. I’ve been running this game using a 1070 combined with a AMD Ryzen 3600 and found it ran very smoothly with no hiccups at all. Due to its visual style, I suspect Evil Genius 2: World Domination would be easy to run using even lower tier graphics cards which is good news for the budding Blofeld’s and Scaramanga’s on a budget out there. There’s lots of fun to be had and it’s definitely worth playing, just make sure your planning skills match your nefarious ambition.
A Steam review copy of Evil Genius 2: World Domination was provided by Rebellion’s PR team, and the game is available now for around £35, and has a 10% launch discount.