Review – Evil Genius 2: World Domination

Reviving a long dormant franchise is always an exciting prospect, even if it’s always a bit risky. The original Evil Genius was released a whopping seventeen years ago, and despite not receiving unanimous critical acclaim, it was still successful enough to sell a good amount of copies and retain a loyal fanbase to this day. Rebellion Developments, the people behind the Sniper Elite games, have decided to develop a brand new sequel after listening to fan demand. Evil Genius 2 was constantly delayed due to COVID-related reasons, but it’s finally out, so let’s see if it was worth the wait.

Evil Genius 2 Photo Mode

“My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with a low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery.”

Evil Genius 2 retains its predecessor’s main gameplay loop while adding a truckload of new features to spice things up to a brand new level. The game is all about creating your evil hideout, complete with research labs, training facilities, traps and dungeons to catch intruders, and of course, your own inner sanctum. You can even turn it into a tourist attraction for reasons beyond my comprehension. It’s all tongue-in-cheek, being clearly inspired by the likes of Archer and Austin Powers, and I love it.

The game plays like a mix between a real-time strategy game and your run-of-the-mill management simulator. You build special rooms, each one designed to perform a specific function in your corporation’s processes. Then, you’ll add in items and special furniture to further customize each room and tailor it to an even more niched purpose. You also need to build staff quarters, kitchens, power generators, vaults and medical clinics to keep the backbone of your evil company alive and well.

Evil Genius 2 Bunk beds

Our state-of-the-art bunk beds are so comfortable it will only give you mild scoliosis.

In order to increase the power and notoriety of your evil corporation, you need to do two main things. First, you need to create scientists so they can come up with brand new inventions and quality of life improvements on your base, such as better power generators and the ability to build multiple floors. This vastly expands your building capabilities. Second, you need to make more money, which you’ll do by exerting influence around the world. By sending your trained spies and soldiers out in the wild, you can “dominate” regions of the world and perform evil schemes. This will bring you even more money, at the cost of transforming you into a target for rival corporations and not-so-evil spy agencies.

It sounds like a lot of stuff to take care of at once, and it is very overwhelming at first. Evil Genius 2 doesn’t do a good job teaching you about all of its mechanics and sub-menus in easy and cohesive way, so you’re going to have to figure everything out by yourself. I’d recommend tackling its (excellent) Sandbox Mode as soon as you boot it up for the first time, as the reduced risks and infinite resources will let you learn all of the game’s mechanics at a steadier pace. Once you finally learn how each of its rooms work, in addition to setting up a strong infrastructure in your base, Evil Genius 2 becomes a lot more fun. Dare I say, it even becomes addictive.

If anything, you can still make some money by turning this island paradise into a summer resort.

The graphics are charming, but aren’t exactly oozing with detail, which can be a godsend for weaker PCs, as this game can easily run on even the most standard of laptops. This is also a bit disappointing when you realize most rooms and bases will always look way too similar to one another. Even though you’re creating bases inside holocene volcanoes and tropical islands, every room will always look like your standard base/industrial setting, with boring designs and wallpapers.

The same cannot be said about the sound design, as it’s possibly the best thing the game has to offer. While not oozing with a lot of voice acting, what little is in here is funny and charming enough. The evil European general sounds like an evil European general, the Dr. Evil knockoff sounds exactly like you would expect, and so on. Furthermore, the game’s soundtrack is cheesy and full of clich├ęs, and while that would be a negative in any other kind of game, it works perfectly on a parody of spy movie tropes.

“For you, the day (NOT BISON) graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.”

Each new run in Evil Genius 2 will start off at a snail’s pace, especially if you’re a newcomer, but once you learn all of its mechanics (most likely by yourself) and get past its initial infrastructure-heavy first stages, you’ll be greeted with a funny, varied, and borderline addictive experience that lets you becomes the dumb spy movie supervillain you have always dreamed of. Sure, you’re not exactly able to create a miniature clone of yourself, hire a Scotsman as a mercenary, or get some sharks with frickin lasers attached to their heads, but Evil Genius 2 is still the closest you’ll ever get to a perfect Dr. Evil simulator.

 

Graphics: 7.0

Evil Genius 2 does feature a charming art style, but rooms look way too similar to another another, making the game look quite repetitive as a result.

Gameplay: 7.5

Your standard building simulator control scheme, but Evil Genius 2 also floods players with tons of sub-menus and side activities to a near overwhelming degree, all while failing to inform newcomers of all of its features.

Sound: 8.0

Cheesy voice acting and humorous tunes that sound like they were ripped straight out of a 60’s spy show compose Evil Genius 2‘s sound department.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Each new run will start off at a snail’s pace, and newcomers will feel intimidated with the near absence of tutorials to explain everything included in the game, but once things start to pick up, Evil Genius 2 becomes an addictive simulator experience.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Evil Genius 2: World Domination is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Evil Genius 2: World Domination was provided by the publisher.