Wonderfully bombastic tunes that fall somewhere between the soundtrack to a 007 flick and the groovy music from Austin Powers. Character voices are suitably comedic, too. Nice.
Pleasingly chunky and bold, Evil Genius 2 looks fantastic, remaining nice and stable, even when your base is thrumming with hundreds of troops and animated machinery on the go.
Elegantly adapted to the controller, everything is exactly where it should be, making practically every task a snap. A streamlined management game, if ever there was one.
Four evil geniuses, four campaigns, and three secret bases to build means you'll potentially be playing for countless hours. If you don't mind that the game settles into a bit of a loop once you've set everything up, that is.
Ninety trophies (yes, 90) cover every conceivable facet of Evil Genius 2, and as such, you'll be popping loads early doors. Getting the Platinum will take some commitment, though.
November 29, 2021
These days, we see more evil morons than evil geniuses, so being presented with the chance to take over the world as an old-school, James Bond-style super-villain, in Evil Genius 2: World Domination, is too good an opportunity to pass up. A game that requires some degree of strategic smarts and forward planning, EG2 has you start out as a baddie of your choice, before endeavouring to take over the world by any means necessary. And, like any Bond movie worth its salt, a megalomaniacal baddie is only as good as their secret lair and army of loyal jumpsuit-sporting minions, and there's no shortage of either in Evil Genius 2. Being bad seldom feels this good.
Sometimes, you'll need to keep your minions in check.
An all-encompassing management sim in which you choose from one of four nefarious characters, each with their own designs on world conquest, Evil Genius 2's playable despots have been imbued with oodles of personality by developer Rebellion. There's the scarred, monocled Blofeld-like Maximilian; Soviet hulk Red Ivan; the stylish Zalika, with her teetering beehive hairdo contained within a bubble-like helmet; and Emma, the lovechild of Maggie Thatcher and Rosa Klebb, who scuttles around on a throne with mechanical spider legs. Each has their own deployable abilities, like speeding up minions' work rate, boosting the attributes of henchmen, or initiating speedy repairs to broken equipment.
Bold, cartoon visuals bely an experience with remarkable levels of depth, the process of building your HQ ensconced beyond the walls of an unassuming casino (where the house always wins, even if it means cheating) proving enormously compulsive from the off. Starting by excavating a space for a vault to store your gold reserves, you'll then set about building a barracks and a canteen for your hardworking minions, an area to place power generators, a room from which you'll spread your criminal network, a training facility, a medical station for injured henchmen, a holding area to imprison and torture agents, and so on.
Before you know it, your secret lair becomes a buzzing hive of activity, minions going about their business, helping to further your mission to take over the entirety of the world stage. A minion manager page ensures you can assign specific tasks, and keep the operation running smoothly, or, if you want to make an example of a worker, you can coldly execute them in front of the others. As your base grows, so, too, will your army, and it will have more and more needs that you'll have to keep fulfilled, lest your workers decide to desert your secret island, never to return.
Minions prove essential, so ensuring they're kept happy (or fearful, preferably) is a going concern. You'll also need to send them off on missions around the world, to bring you back a nice haul of gold, capture a new minion type to interrogate for secrets, recruit powerful partners in crime, or steal loot – your legion of evildoers are eminently expendable, so when you do send them away, you won't ever see them again - don't get too attached.
From the game's world map, you can boost the broadcast signal of your network, spreading your influence to wider regions beyond the place you've chosen as your starting point, unlocking more and more 'Schemes' to help further your cause. Once you've completed the thorough (and optional) tutorial, taking you through the running of every facet in your burgeoning enterprise to take over the world, Evil Genius 2 soon settles into an addictive loop of territory-snatching across the globe, as well as some pretty intricate resource management that's clearly and neatly presented.
In its transition from PC to console, Evil Genius 2 doesn’t feel like it’s been uprooted and compromised, its various mechanics efficiently mapped to the controller, room-building a simple grid-based affair, enabling you to easily plot out an area by dragging it into the desired position, before your minions rush like industrious ants to excavate the area. You can then proceed to furnish it with contraptions and whatever decorative gubbins you fancy, preferably in a bid to make your lair as plush and decadent as any villainous sanctum should be.
As you progress, you can train minions to become specialists, like scientists and biologists who'll research fiendish booby traps, reinforced security doors, greater broadcast strength, and other useful upgrades, or mercenaries and muscle to fend off intruding do-gooder agents. All the while, you'll have to keep an eye on your dwindling gold reserves, and try to cram everything into a relatively restricted area. Eventually, you'll reach a point at which development on a terrifying doomsday weapon can begin, so you can hold the world to ransom.
Things can get very hectic, very quickly.
There's something endlessly appealing about getting to play the role of a criminal mastermind, even if Evil Genius 2 does inevitably descend into managing your power generators, your minions' salary, and your heat level on the world map. Upon reaching the latter parts of the campaign, the game can feel a little like busywork, as saboteurs infiltrate your base and set the whole thing on fire, and you're forced to rebuild; or you start running out of space to accommodate your gold reserves, minions, various computer consoles, and power generators.
Researching advanced mining techniques and the ability to install stairways remedies the lack of space to some degree, but there's so much to build and squeeze into such a small space that it can be a real challenge. Your casino front takes up a lot of room, too, and you can't commandeer any of it for more nakedly sinister purposes. Still, Evil Genius 2 is a game in which you can create a doomsday device and bring the world to its knees – if that doesn't make you want to get caught in its diabolical clutches, then we don't know what will.