- System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
- Publisher: Gun Media
- Developer: Bloober Team
- Release Date: May 28, 2019
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Horror, Adventure, Survival
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://layersoffear2.com/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
In case you’re unfamiliar with the original Layers of Fear format, Layers of Fear 2 follows a similar theme. Players assume the role of an unnamed character who is clearly an actor in some twisted role. You’ll have to move around an ever-changing setting—in this case a cruise ship—and must piece together clues on what’s happening and why things seem out of the ordinary. Along the way you’ll solve various puzzles, deal with various enemies and try to keep your sanity as your reality changes in ways usually unpredictable. Like Layers of Fear, Layers of Fear 2 keeps you on your toes by messing with your senses and never being too predictable.
The main gameplay element of Layers of Fear 2 is to find clues and move forward to understand what is going on and finding a means to ending this nightmare. Often, Layers of Fear 2—like its predecessor—messes with your mentality as corridors disappear when you look away or doors lock behind you when a moment ago, they were open. Items you thought were on a table seem to change and out of the corner of your eye you’ll see shapes that could be human or could be far from it. Layers of Fear 2 hits your sense of understanding and that’s what makes its horror aspect work so incredibly well. Are you letting fear cause you to make up things happening around you or is Layers of Fear 2 really warping your surroundings? It might seem similar to the original’s set up, but Layers of Fear 2 does a strong job in some aspects and we were genuinely surprised.
Early on—for example—Layers of Fear 2 puts you through various cabins in the ship you’re exploring. Since most ships have hallways that look similar, you’re going to find yourself feeling déjà vu occur constantly but in a creepy way. You’ll open a door and enter a room to see a bedroom but then later, you’re going through the same door and find yourself in a dressing room littered with pieces of your past. The exploration element in Layers of Fear 2 might seem copied from the original, but in this sequel, the exploration messes with you even greater by truly putting paranoia in your mind with its ship setting. You’re on the ocean away from the world and away from people…let that concept sink in and you’ll find Layers of Fear 2 gets even more horrifying as time passes.
Outside exploration, Layers of Fear 2 is a pretty simple game to play. Occasionally you’ll solve puzzles—that are extremely easy to solve—and pick up notes/artifacts that act as the clues for the story. Picking up a periscope will cause audio to play explaining kids where acting as pirates on this vessel. You’ll find notes from crew members and fellow actors that paints a desperate picture of survival or something amiss with the ship’s voyage. Layers of Fear 2 also throws enemies at you that tend to chase you down the ship’s corridors causing you to flee for your life or die quickly. We did enjoy the fact that Layers of Fear 2 does add some decisions that affect the ending, versus the original’s sometimes ambiguous way of crafting an ending from finding clues and/or missing them.
Visually, Layers of Fear 2 looks incredible. The cruise ship is the perfect setting allowing developer Bloober Team to keep you feeling a slew of emotions. Sometimes claustrophobia will set in as you crawl through a ruined part of the vessel and other times, you’ll be thrown into a set piece that feel’s whimsical and nightmarish. Add to that some excellent sound design and you have an award-winning set up. There were times we jumped out of our seats when we’d hear a pipe burst behind us or hear a door slightly open that was locked seconds ago. Ship boards creek with realism and fire cackles with surprising depth. We also loved the director/narrator’s deep voice as it truly sells the feeling of being on stage with a lunatic who wants his shot no matter the cost.
Layers of Fear 2 is nearly perfect, but we feel it does suffer from a few issues. Primarily, Layers of Fear 2 is almost identical in design to the original and while that works on many layers—no pun intended—it makes the overall experience feel too similar. The jump scares in Layers of Fear 2 also are annoying and they rarely change. Various scares will be reused sometimes several times per chapter and while the initial scare will make your heart race, seeing it seven more times in bursts leads to annoyance. Chapter one—act one—is especially bad with having mannequins move so many times we began to laugh at them trying to scare us. Later acts do a stronger job but still suffer from repetition and in horror, repetition isn’t always scary.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- The ship setting is truly creepy and leads to some terrific moments of dread, despair and fear
- Wonderful story with several endings and truly shocking moments
- Simple but fun exploration and puzzles
- Impressive visuals and sound
- Nice price tag
- Might come off overly similar to the original
- Jump scares seem to be overused ad nauseum.