I recently picked up The Evil Within 2, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed the game. Back when the original Evil Within was coming out, I was one of the folks who picked it up on launch day. While I thought the game was good, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the game was often incredibly derivative of Resident Evil 4. Which isn’t a surprise give that Shinji Mikami was the director on both games.
I picked up The Evil Within 2 on sale expecting to feel the same way about it. Thinking it’s a good game but also feeling like it’s often to similar to RE4. But, I don’t feel that way. I don’t feel that way at all. That said, EW2 clearly follows in the legacy of RE4. The controls and weapons feel similar, the enemies are comparable, they both have really corny secret organizations experimenting on people, they even have basically the same shooting galleries.
Yet, EW2 doesn’t feel derivative, it just feels like basic iteration on an older game. I’ve been wracking my brain on why this game feels iterative, while EW feels derivative. I’ve got a couple ideas, EW2 is a more open environment, and the environments of EW often felt ripped straight from RE4, but I can’t really find a specific tipping point.
So where’s the line? When do games stop feeling iterative, and become derivative. When do they start feeling like they are ripping-off or just copying past games?