Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Fans of the original Evil Genius have been waiting seventeen years for the sequel to be released. Finally arrived, is it as fun as the original?
As you can tell by the name you play as an evil genius who is trying to take over the world! There are four evil geniuses you can play as each with their own campaign story and you get pick one of three islands for your base. I spent most of my time in this mode playing as Maximilian and poured over 15 hours into his story alone and still haven’t beaten it. The main thing you do in this game for anyone who hasn’t played the original is to build a base and manage your minions, gold, power, and criminal networks. Building your base is pretty straightforward like in most games of this type. You build rooms and then add in items needed. So for example, to start making criminal networks you will first need to build a control room and some radio repeaters to get broadcast strength. Each repeater makes one broadcast strength that you can then use to start a criminal network on the world map.
You have to use these networks to steal money for you, and to do other dirty work, but they will cost minions and intel that you can get by building computers and by interrogating any enemies that you capture. The criminal networks will build up heat as they work and you will have to lower it at times or they will go into lockdown and you won’t be able to use that network for a time while until the heat is off. As you start gaining more heat the forces of justice will also start to try to infiltrate your base. At first, it will be just some low-level investigators but later on, they will be sending out super spies after you. Each one of these super spies has their own special thing they do. Because these are super spies, they are good at different things. One likes to set bombs and destroy your hard earned things while another would simply steal your gold and loot.
On some of the missions though the campaign, wording of what you are supposed to do can be hard to understand. One mission said something about getting to the fourth floor so I did that but I did not connect it to the right spot making it not work. Another problem was it doesn’t always tell you how to do something. One time it said to test-fire a weapon I had gotten but I had no idea how to do it and had to look up it up. A little bit of more guidance would have been helpful for your first time performing these tasks.
The main story goals are not the only things you can do though as there are also side stories and optional missions. Side stories can help you out by giving you loot which are special items you can place in your base to unlock a new type of minion. Optional missions are the easy ones that you can do for a boost in gold like building certain rooms or killing a certain type of enemy or minion. Finally, you can also get henchmen by doing side stories and on completion of a side story you get to pick out who you want to join up. For example, the first one that I picked seemed to be good at fighting and always helps beat back any enemies who thought that they could break into my base.
When the “good guys” do come after you, you can have your minions kill them, capture them, or distract them by having your minions bring the agents back to your cover operation which happens to be a casino that you run. The casino you run attracts tourists and can keep agents busy by playing cards and other things. You can scam the tourists out of their money too but even though the game is not a casino simulation it would have been nice to expand on this idea a little more than what’s in the game. The story itself is silly fun that doesn’t need to be taken seriously after all it’s a bit of a parody almost reminding me of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers.
As you advance in the game you will be able to research new things for your base like new traps and weapons for your soldier type minions to new items and having better stats for some of your other minions types such as making them smarter. And of course, you’ll also be able to get access to minions that let you dig deeper down into your base to let you have multiple floors. The only problem that I had with this is it only lets you do the first two tiers of research until you advance farther in the story and as I said earlier I have spent well over 15 hours on it and still haven’t reached that third-tier limiting how big my base is to 4 floors and not being able to build on all the spots until I research better digging to destroy harder rock.
The production value of the game is top-notch with pleasing graphics to look at and good sound and music design. The voice-over is alright but could have been better but luckily a game like this does not need great voice acting as the story is not the reason you should be playing this game.
Evil Genius 2 is a solid base-building sim that builds upon the original’s ideas and makes them better. The has a good challenge and is fun to plan out your base with traps and where everything should go giving it a bit of strategy when you have to think about where things should go. It’s easy to spend hours playing this game but at times the challenge for me became a little bit of a headache. There was no to kill the super agents that came and sometimes they all would hit the base at the same time leaving me with little to no minions to fight them off and little gold to get any faster. You do get a few new minions every so often but paying can be faster and since they are untrained they die rather fast when fighting a super agent. You can use the evil genius you picked to fight also but if he dies in combat it is game over. There is also a sandbox mode that is more relaxed than the story mode though so that’s a nice addition.