Layers of Fear 2 Review
Extra Features: N/A
Layers of Fear 2 is a survival horror developed by Bloober team. Just like the original game, the sequel is a more of a story focused adventure game when compared to other horror titles. When I first heard that there was a sequel to the original, I kept wondering how they could extend the story to the original - it turns out that they didn't extend it, but made up a new setting that requires you to piece together a story. LoF2 puts you in the roll of an actor that is aboard a ship and must play out his part then make choices throughout the game's five levels. The game has multiple endings that are affected by the choices that you make.
LoF2 starts out with the same type of gameplay as the first game. You start out in a room that you will return to often between stages. From the room, you can play film and listen to phonographs that you collect. After walking into a film room, you play a film that will take you to your next stage. Stages are nearly no different than in the first game. You'll be openings TONS of doors and interacting with certain items in order to hear a story behind them. The controls in LoF2 are the same as they were in the original game. You must grab the handle of each door by holding a button and then pull or push it open while still holding the button.
In-game dialogue is done quite well. Tony Todd serves as an inner voice narrator at times. The overall atmosphere to the game is very fitting. The game changes from well-lit rooms to dark and dreary passages very often. The first game had many unique effects to witness and so does the sequel. The first game also played a trick where you would be forced to turn around a bunch and then things would change once you turn - thankfully, that isn't used all that much in the sequel. The creature effects in the sequel are creepy as well. There is some imagery in the game that is very freaky. The game has a few minor puzzles here and there. Most of them are simply finding a lock combination to open a chest or finding a key to open a door. There is a math puzzle and some other unique puzzles.
The original LoF had no enemies, so there was no fear of anything that could kill your character. LoF2 introduces chase sequences where an enemy will show up and you'll have to run away from it while opening doors to get away from it. Chase sequences are very trial and error. At first it was nice to see some chase sequences in a LoF game, but they quickly degenerate into constant deaths until I could figure out what I was supposed to do. The chase sequences turned into an annoyance during the first chase and you usually have one chase per level.
The game's story starts out interesting, but it never truly does go anywhere. The story is incredibly fragmented and you can make all kinds of conclusions as to what is actually happening. Hardly anything in the story is concrete by the time the game is completed and it made finishing the game feel rather worthless. The game has three endings. The dialogue in the game is extremely cryptic. The entire game felt like build-up until I finally reached the end and then all that build-up was for nothing because there was no real payoff and I still didn't understand what was going on.
The first Layers of Fear was short and sweet. It had overall short levels and some good payoff at the end of each level. The story also felt much more complete as well. The second game feels way too long. It has nearly the exact same gameplay as the first game, but that feels like a flaw when it is so overextended to the point where a level becomes boring and monotonous. The best part about finishing a level in the first game was to see how the story was starting to come together once you meet back in the painting room, the best part about finishing a level in the second game is knowing that I was finally out of that super long boring stage and had one less level to go through.
Some of the stages in the second game are way better than others. The first and second stages are some of the worst. The third and fourth stage are decent and the fifth attempts to bring all the stages together. Layers of Fear 2 is not all the way bad. It has some good ideas, like the overall story setup and the really good horror atmosphere, but the gameplay feels boring a good bit of the time and the chase sequences get annoying quickly.
+ Interesting story setup for a sequel
+ Good horror atmosphere and overall visuals
- The gameplay gets very repetitive
- Chases are more frustrating than scary or fun
- The story never really goes anywhere and it is way too cryptic for its own good
Final Rating: 60% - Layers of Fear 2 has a great horror atmosphere, but the game falls flat when it comes to gameplay.