If you are like me enjoying spy movies, I always loved the concept of building a secret lair. From having an army of henchmen to plotting world domination, it all sounded so ridiculous, I could not help but consider what it would be like to set in the shoes of a super villain. Thankfully it was not only me who had these dreams, since Evil Genius was released back in 2004. Since it is 2020, there has never been a better time to revisit the world of 007 James Bond style villains, and we have Evil Genius 2: World Domination from the folks at Rebellion Developments.
Evil Genius was very similar to the classic Dungeon Keeper where you, and your crew built a base, and tried to defend it from the forces of good. Much like many of the sims of the day, this involved building rooms, hiring minions, plotting world domination, you know the standard fair. The core concept of the formula may have been seen in other titles, but the development team brought the fun and gave it enough unique flair that made it exciting, different and fun, so much so it still has a fan base even today, over 15 years later.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination, much like the first instalment, has you as your evil mastermind working to build an evil lair. This can vary based on your needs and overall goals, but each part of your lair work to further your goals of world domination, though four separate campaigns following the four different Evil Geniuses, each with their own select specialties and goals. From sleeping quarters for your lackeys, to weapons of global destruction, Evil Genius 2 is a game where you build and set the base up as you need.
As this is a game about options, Evil Genius 2: World Domination offers up three different islands to set up your specific lair. Each one has different advantages and disadvantages, but all feel unique enough to keep gameplay fresh. Sadly in the preview we only got to see one island, but what is on offer so far is looking sharp, and the improved visual style keeps the original Evil Genius’s concept and aesthetic, while updating it for modern systems.
Lairs are now much more intricate this time around. From multi level bases, to the vast number of options on offer, Evil Genius 2 : World Domination takes what was exciting about the first game and expands on it in every possible way. With a vast array of options, and the larger scope on offer, finally the complex lair of your dreams is within your (virtual) reach.
The lair is only one aspect of the equation, Evil Genius 2 also has you setting up the front to your evil plat. Building the legitimate Casino business, where everything could be setup to trick the forces of good into believing everything is on the up-and-up. From roulette tables to henchmen that work to trick any prying eyes, Evil Genius 2 steps up the potential on what and how you hide your evil plans.
But this brings us to henchmen and how you staff your evil lair. From the demo, we got a peek into how staff work in Evil Genius 2, and the scope of what is on offer in this instalment. From the standard henchmen, to more complex roles, this is a game about choice, from the way you build, to the way you set up staff, it all plays to give you the edge over the spies looking to take you down. As you train up your underlings, they can do more complex tasks, and eventually can be sent across the globe to do your bidding and undermine the global order. This feels like it takes everything the first game offered and cranks the dial to 11, giving everything we loved about Evil Genius while improving on the formula in the best possible ways.
But it would not be a game where you play an evil mastermind if you did not have plots to perform, and as with the first instalment, Evil Genius 2 gives a myriad of options to carry out against the world. From kidnappings, ransoms, to global destruction, there are countless objectives to carry out, and many that fit your particular brand of evil. It was part of the original that kept me playing for hours, well into the night when I should have been focusing on my university courses, but something about the game kept me coming back. And with updated graphics, a bigger scope and a generally more intricate way of working, Evil Genius 2 is looking to take what was on offer in the first game and build on it in the best possible way.
With all these evil plots, eventually the spy agencies of the world will try to take you down, so when you can’t trick the forces of good into thinking nothing is going on, you eventually will have to defend your base. This is where all that research into traps and weaponry comes into play. It can be used and deployed to give you an edge on anyone thinking they have a chance to stop your evil plans. And from the loops of the demo, things have been ramped up in a way that should be very fun to explore. From research, to the different methods of defence, the team at Rebellion are taking what was fun about the first game and delivering more this time around.
As with any preview, it is hard to say how the final product will stack up when it finally releases, but from what the team has shown so far, the game is looking like a worthy successor to one of the best games in the genre to date. Evil Genius 2 looks sharp, has all the flair we expect from the series, and has the same odd sense of humour and depth that made the first instalment so engaging. We will reserve final judgment till it releases, but from what we have seen so far, I am excited to dust off my monocle and get my new evil lair ready to go. At least we don’t have long to wait, with the game launching early 2021, so only a few short months before we can get our hands on it.