Evil Genius 2 Preview – Empire of Evil
Very few games allow players to take on the role of a full-blown villain intent on world domination, so this fact alone allowed the original Evil Genius to stand out from most simulation and management games, as it allowed players to do exactly this. A sequel has been long overdue, but Rebellion is finally working on Evil Genius 2, which is setting out to be even better than its predecessor, with a lot of new mechanics and the same over the top spirit of the original game.
The game wasn't available in playable form during the E3 2019, as the game is still in early pre-alpha, but what has been shown behind closed doors shows incredible promise.
Like its predecessor, Evil Genius 2 will be a management, simulation game where players will take on the role of an evil mastermind who is hell-bent on world domination. Evil Genius 2 will include four different evil geniuses, who will all be the stars of four different campaigns. Two of them have been already revealed - Red Ivan and Maximillian - while the other two are yet to be revealed. The development team stressed how all four of them will be quite different, as their strengths will lie in different criminal activities.
No matter the chose evil genius, players will still have to build their stronghold hidden inside a mountain. There will be different islands to choose from, each one with different mechanics that will influence the base. A front also has to be set up, and the team is thinking about allowing some customization of it.
The Evil Genius 2 gameplay experience can be divided into four different core activities: build, train, defend and dominate. Of them, only the first three have been shown, but we have been told that domination will come through World Domination, which will allow players to send their henchmen all over the world to complete criminal activities.
Building is the first activity players will undertake in Evil Genius 2. There are a lot of different facilities that can be added to the stronghold, and they must be properly placed to make everything as efficient as possible. Minions act independently, so bad placement of facilities may get them distracted, which can limit their productivity considerably. Among the facilities that have been shown are barracks, training facilities and more. Since the space in the base in limited, fitting all the required facilities feels akin to a puzzle game like Tetris. To build and make facilities work, players will also have to keep an eye on money and power.
Training is self-explanatory. Minions all come with different traits and stats, which must be honed. Training facilities are quite varied, and allow minions to improve in different areas like physical skills, intelligence skills and so on. Not much has been shown of training, but it seems like it will be possible to create some highly specialized minions through it.
The third gameplay core, which is defending, is definitely among the most interesting. In Evil Genius 2, players will be able to create a lot of traps, ranging from simple to complicated, which must be placed in a network of traps to be more effective. During the E3 2019, a complex network of traps ending with the shark tank has been shown, but it will be possible to be extremely creative with them.
Speaking of enemies, players will always have to keep an eye out for the Forces of Justice, which include some different individuals with unique specialties that will often try to infiltrate and sabotage the base. They have been designed so that they are easy to spot for players, but not for minions, so they can easily make it past them. Even if players fail to act, things may still end up fine thanks to some powerful henchmen, who can be controlled directly but also retain some degree of independence and will act automatically according to the situation.
The evil genius, on the contrary, can only be controlled by the player and act directly to fix some critical issues. They can also learn skills through the three different trees - Biologist, Hitman and Valet -, giving players some degree of customization.
As already mentioned, Evil Genius 2 is still in pre-alpha stage, so there's still a lot that can be added and changed before release. Even in its current state, however, the game shows incredible promise, and I personally cannot wait to create the most intricate trap network to show the Forces of Justice that this evil genius is here to stay.
Evil Genius 2 is set for a 2020 release on Steam. No other version of the game has been ruled out, so the game may end up releasing on consoles as well. My question regarding a Nintendo Switch release has been met with some smiles, so it seems like the team is definitely considering the possibility once the game is out on PC.