- Version played: Xbox Series S
Evil Genius 2 is essentially Theme Hospital but for Bond villains instead of doctors. You build your own secret lair and launch a plan to take over the world.
You start out with a fairly small lair, building the necessities you need. One aspect that I haven’t seen much of before is the amount of storage you need for certain assets, most notably your money: you will need to create large vaults to store gold. It’s really satisfying to see a massive amount of gold bars, especially when you get into a position where you can spend a large amount, see it vanish, but then watch it quickly fill up.
On the other hand, though, the storage for gold, henchmen (you need lockers to increase your capacity), energy and other equipment is massive, and initially your space is very limited as you can only build in the areas of weak rock.
As you work through the game, you’ll be able to train your goons into specific specialities, such as advanced guards, spies who run your casino to provide a legitimate looking front and scientists who conduct research.
There’s a lot to research – probably too much – and your progress is gated by how far through the main campaign you are. You can get some fancy traps, as well as more efficient storage for vaults, henchmen equipment, and can drill through harder rocks, but by the time you can access this stuff, you are close to the end.
Trying to foil you are agents. They will try to gather evidence of your wrongdoings, or sometimes even attempt to kill the main villain. When you spot them, you can mark them as targets to distract (your goons will try to keep them occupied in the casino until they’re satisfied that nothing nefarious is happening), capture them (allowing you to tortutre them for intel) or just kill them. With some research upgrades, you can make these auto assign based on different rooms. However, all this depends on your goons spotting them, some spies may don costumes to fool your goons and wreak havoc by stealing stuff, gathering evidence, sabotaging equipment or even starting fires.
There’s a lot of other aspects of the game that are automated, such as training. You set a target amount for each minion type and they will train themselves until they reach that level. There are some moments where the lack of direct control is frustrating, but most of the time the automation works great. There’s still a lot of maintenance to do by making sure there are enough food/beds/relaxation for your goons, and they may even choose to desert you (thankfully, you can execute your minions whenever you want – even loyal wans if you want to).
The main form of completing objectives is by viewing the world map and sending goons of certain types (as well as spending money/intel) to complete the objective. You need to set up criminal networks here and your activity will attract more spies. The length of the campaign is something I found odd: it’s too short to unlock everything, but also really drags on by the end. You can also not continue after you’ve taken over the world, which to me was just a really depressing end, having to load a much earlier save (the fairly long end game locks you out of certain objectives) instead of carrying on to unlock more stuff.
It was a fun game, but I wasn’t compelled to play as any of the other three villains.