Evoland 2 is Shiro Games’ newest edition to the Evoland series.
That was a pretty boring sentence right? Great, now Evoland 2 and that sentence have something in common. My time with Evoland 2 went from excitement and anticipation to boredom and tedium faster than any game I’ve ever played. I wish that was hyperbole, but sadly it isn’t. I was looking forward to previewing this game after watching trailers of what looked like an insane mashup of genres with a gorgeous retro art style so to say I’m disappointed is an uderstatement. They nail the art style, but without a fun game behind it, it’s hard to maintain that excitement.
In Evoland 2 you play as a generic, nameless main character who has recently lost his memory (yeah, they actually went with the most mocked trope in JRPGs) and you’re on a quest to regain it. This could have actually been interesting if they dealt with it in creative ways, but the game actually takes itself surprisingly seriously, which is a huge bummer. All the NPCs suffer from the same problem of painful genericness, which makes for an overall joyless experience in the story department.
Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t fare much better. Evoland 2 is a cross between old-school RPG, and action/adventure game. At least the first two hours are, which are all I played, because it was so unbearably boring. Obvious comparisons between Zelda: A Link to the Past are bound to come up. Link to the Past had depth and heart though; Evoland 2 has none of that. Mashing the attack button while enemies walk into your sword is as deep as it gets over in Evoland. There was one section that was particularly hilarious. At one point you’re expected to battle in a gladiator arena and your opponents are introduced as ferocious man-eating bears. The best way to fight them? Yup. Slam on that attack key. They’ll just kill themselves, don’t worry about it.
At one point the game switches from isometric hack-and-slash to a 2D platformer. Which is coincidentally when I switched from a patient gamer to an angry murder-person. The devs actually put some tricky platforming sections into the game, but the controls aren’t responsive enough to accomodate. I died something like 20 times at the first platforming section, which would have been embarrassing if it wasn’t so frustrating.
“The question I keep asking myself when playing Evoland 2 is: How far can nostalgia alone carry a game? Sadly, the game answers this question for me; Not far at all.”
As I mentioned earlier, Evoland 2 looks great. If anything it succeeds on the art front. And judging from screenshots, later parts of the game will look even better. The music is quite nice too; it scratches an itch that only old chiptune orchestras can.
As with every game we look at in preview form, it’s expected that changes can (and will) be made before the final release. Unfortunately it looks as if Shiro is well set on its path with Evoland 2. The question I keep asking myself when playing Evoland 2 is: How far can nostalgia alone carry a game? Sadly, the game answers this question for me; Not far at all.
Expected to be released this summer, Evoland 2 has a long way to go before I would recommend taking a look at it.
***A preview build was provided by the publisher***