Evil Genius 2: World Domination is coming out in just a few short weeks and I had the chance to take an early look up to a certain point. My short time with it has me cautiously optimistic about the final product.
I was keen on sinking my teeth into the full game after playing through an earlier preview focusing largely on the tutorial. Thankfully, the full version of Evil Genius 2 allows this tutorial to be skipped. I still had to start with a mostly-empty evil lair, but this time I could build when and where I wanted. Unfortunately, your success at taking over the world depends a lot on other people — and most of them are pretty stupid.
Surrounded by Fools in Evil Genius 2
An Evil Genius is not much without his minions. Minions are broadly divided into four classes: worker, tech, social, and combat. Each of these minions has specific strengths and weaknesses, and all of them are integral to your organization.
[Getting] minions to follow your orders is a challenge unto itself.
Workers, for example, form the backbone of your burgeoning evil empire. They man your consoles, go out on missions, and build your base. They can also be trained into more specialized minions. However, getting minions to follow your orders is a challenge unto itself.
I had over a dozen Scientist minions and two research stations, yet these stations would continually be abandoned. I had a similar situation with Advanced Guard Posts — most of the time, they would be empty despite the fact that there were dozens of beefy, heavily-armed Muscle and Mercenary minions milling around the base.
I do appreciate what's happened here, in a sense — I had uttered "You idiots!" more than once as my minions failed to defeat an adversary or carry out an assigned task. It certainly fits the theme. To say that I was frustrated with their incompetence would be a massive understatement.
It's a Trap
Plagued by lazy guards, I intended to defend my base by turning to traps. I never made much use of traps in the first Evil Genius, but some of the things I had seen in trailers looked pretty cool and I wanted to try out some designs.
Evil Genius 2 traps work more often than not, with one exception: they're going to do pretty much nothing when it comes to the more competent adversaries. If you have a Super Agent attacking your base, you're going to watch in dismay as he carefully disables your traps one by one. I'd sound the alarm and dozens of minions would charge in to fight him.
My men would eventually win, but at a high cost; it seems that traps are great for dealing with the riff-raff and not much else. The more powerful enemies will simply bypass them and are unlikely to fall into any trap, at least in my experience.
Trial and Error (But Mostly Error)
Ultimately, my goal was taken right out of the standard Evil Villain playbook — build a superweapon and do some very bad things to the world. I played through as much of Max's campaign as I could, eventually building a giant device that can turn entire swathes of land into gold.
Getting there proved to be a challenge. I had to recruit minions, do research, and carefully balance my plots on the World Stage while also juggling all of the other various tasks on my objectives list. Eventually, I made it — I test-fired my hilariously ostentatious superweapon, and the world cowered in terror.
I had fun with the 12 hours or so I've spent playing Evil Genius 2. Most importantly, I've subsequently realized that I made several critical mistakes — such as not ensuring enough Morale-restoring stations were available to my men.
I test-fired my hilariously ostentatious superweapon and the world cowered in terror.
Despite these challenges (and my own dumb mistakes), I get the sense that Evil Genius 2 will probably be a pretty good example of the dungeon management game genre in the end. I'm looking forward to playing the other campaigns and seeing if I can wrap my head around a better way of doing things.
TechRaptor previewed Evil Genius 2: World Domination on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. The game launches on March 30th, 2021.