Head to head comparison between the PS4, PS4 Pro and PC versions of The Evil Within 2.
The Evil Within 2 is a big improvement over the original in every possible way. Running on a highly modified id Tech Engine 5, The Evil Within 2 manages to deliver a stable performance on consoles along with massive boosts to on-screen visual and post processing effects. The original was a cross generation venture by Tango Gameworks so in many ways the game never realized its true potential resulting into visuals that seem to be stucked in transition between two different console generations.
Furthermore, performance on both the PS4 and Xbox One were downright awful and the black bars didn’t made life any easier for players. All in all, the original Evil Within had a lot of issues and although developers managed to make performance slightly better and removed the black bars through patches, the experience on the console front was a largely disappointing affair.
In comes The Evil Within 2 which runs on the Stem engine (which in turn is derived from id Tech). The game features some impressive effects such as full support for physical based rendering pipeline, screen space reflections, support for different material properties, skin shaders and more. However, the biggest change in The Evil Within 2 comes in the form of an open level setting. If you have ever played Silent Hill 2, then The Evil Within 2’s open levels (called as the Union in the game) is perhaps the closest thing that will remind you about the classic Team Silent game.
The open levels employ fantastic use of volumetric and dynamic lighting effects which comes together to create a eerie atmosphere. The art style design is pretty superb in this game, specially in some of the bosses in the game which can be described as the worst combination of everything that is weird. If the original was known for its narrow corridors and intense sequences, the sequel is more about surviving and getting across each level using stealth. Overall, the sequel seems far more balanced than the original in just about every way. Although, we must add that we missed the burning mechanic from the original which added another layer of tension into the gameplay.
So moving on. We tested The Evil Within 2 on the base PS4, the PS4 Pro and a PC. Let us get one thing right out of the way. The Evil Within 2 does not support PS4 Pro enhancements. Yes, just like Dishonored 2, The Evil Within 2 is yet another Bethesda title that didn’t have Pro support. However, Bethesda have confirmed they will be releasing patches for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions of the game. Unfortunately, no timeline has been provided so we thought it made no sense to keep this comparison on hold. At this point, The Evil Within 2 runs at a native 1080p resolution on both PlayStation 4s. Frame rate is capped at 30 and unlike the original performance for the most part is extremely stable.
However, on the PS4 Pro side, we witnessed an unusual frame rate drop when we first meet O’Neal in the Union. The frame rate drop was quite atrocious. Please note that we were not using the boost mode on the PS4 Pro, so perhaps this could be the reason behind the drop. But other than this difference, there is absolutely nothing that seperates the PS4 and PS4 Pro versions. But wait, there is one difference. Texture pop in is highly reduced on the PS4 Pro but thats about it. Hopefully, Tango Gameworks will release a patch that will do more than just scale the resolution of the PS4 Pro build.
We also tested the game on the PC. The developers recommend a Intel Core i7-4770 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600X, 16GB of memory and NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB / AMD RX 480 8GB or better. So overall, this is a rather demanding game on the PC which is not a surprise given how the original was quite demanding too . However, in reality the game doesn’t look like something that would need so much horsepower to get the job done. Regardless, it’s what it is. So in order to smash the recommended requirements, we tested the game using a PC that has an NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti, 16GB of GDDR4 memory and a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU.
On the graphical settings front, the developers have included somewhat limited number of options. You can adjust the field of view (which by the way is not available on consoles), chromatic aberration, bloom, shadow quality, volumetric lighting quality, anti-aliasing and a few others. So how does the game perform? Well, we were consistently above 60 frames per second at Ultra settings at 1080p but there were a few moments where the frame rate would drop. We are not sure why this would happen but they seem to mostly appear in the Union area. Other than these minor drops, the frame rates were well above the expected standard. But still, it was surprising to see these drops because come on…frame rate drops on a GTX 1080Ti at 1080p resolution?! This is not to be expected.
The differences between the PS4 and the PC versions are quite interesting. From a core assets point of view, both versions are largely similar. But the PC version takes the lead due to better depth of field effect, higher quality shadows, better screen space reflections quality and sharper AA solution. Performance too is a big advantage on the PC side of things as the gameplay at 60 frames per second provides a vastly different experience. The Evil Within 2 is a slow placed game but it has plenty of moments when things will kick into high gear and a higher frame rate really amps up the experience. Furthermore, texture pop in is largely reduced on the PC, just like the PS4 Pro.
So there we have it. The Evil Within 2 is largely a great experience regardless of whatever platform you decide to play it on. It’s a shame that the PS4 Pro version has not been patched in yet but regardless, PlayStation owners should still benefit from a better image quality and performance compared to the original.