I have fond memories of the original Evil Genius game. I believe it was the last “big box” game I bought for the PC before moving to Steam. It was a fun take on the management sim/base building game that played to the popularity of the Austin Powers series to bring a 60s spy caper-style to the genre.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination is very much your typical sequel. Updated graphics, additional resources and new abilities, but instantly familiar to anyone who has played the first game. It also follows the base building genre enough that those who have played any similar games will feel right at home and be able to jump right in.
However, this is my first issue with the game. I never felt like I was playing anything new. It felt too similar and samey to other games in the genre and followed the same gameplay loop. If you have played the recent Jurassic World games, Planet Coaster or Two Point Hospital then Evil Genius 2 will seem very familiar.
My first night with the game saw me stay up way past bedtime and play into the early hours as I followed this loop. I find games like these, certainly at the beginning, strangely “hypnotic” – Planning a base. Making a room. Adding some resources. Recruiting more staff. Earning more money. Making a new room. Complete some research. Earn more money. And repeat…
My base grew and more and more minions got employed to carry out more missions driving the story on. However, around 6 hours in I hit a game stopping bug. I had to kidnap three visitors to my island. However, these visitors would not arrive as existing visitors just stood screaming in panic at the dock. Nothing would clear them and as such, tired, I turned the game off.
The next night I decided to try again. Again, it was the same loop. Small steps, opening new rooms and new research, earning more money, getting more minions. I was quite proud of my base. My OCD meant that everything was in a logical place and made sense, but again I hit the same bug. Visitors to my island again stood at the dock, panic stricken and screaming, meaning nobody else would arrive. Another 6 hours or so wasted.
As such I could not unlock anything else. The research tree is locked into the story. Tiers unlocking as missions/schemes are completed. On each occasion all I could do was max out the first two tiers but go no further. This meant no new rooms, no new minion types. I was just stuck, unable to progress further.
It’s a shame as whilst the loop is repetitive the pace of the game is such you are always discovering new things to build and research–that ten more minutes I promised I would play for became 20 then 30 then an hour as I wanted to see what these new items did or what that next bit of research unlocked. It is just a shame that on two occasions the game would not let me go any further.
It's difficult to score a game that only lets me play maybe 20% of it – did I have fun playing that 20%? Yes, I did – did I go back for more? Yes – Do I wish I could go further – again Yes! Am I prepared to invest another 6 hours in the game? Sadly no. I would suggest that should you be able to avoid the issue I had, Evil Genius 2 is at least a 7 out of 10 game – but for me, as it stands I can’t go higher than a 2, but I'll be happy to amend the score if they fix it.