Do you love horror games and horror movies? Enjoy jump-scares? Down is up, up is down, and sideways? Do you like when things come creeping along and scare the pants off you? Then Layers of Fear 2 will be a joy for you. Let’s dive into this Layers of Fear 2 Review.
Layers of Fear 2 is a much-anticipated horror sequel game of Layers of Fear (2016) put out by the developer Bloober Team. You play as a Hollywood actor who takes on the lead role in a film shot aboard a mysterious ocean liner.
Layers Of Fear 2 History and Overview ( spoiler-free)
Layers of Fear 2 doesn’t start by giving you much backstory, and that is part of the mystery. If you never played Layers of Fear 1, it doesn’t really matter because the games are not related in any way. ( There are several Easter eggs to the 1st one though). The game is set on a strange old ship out in the middle of the ocean that reminders you way too much of the Titanic. The sense of dread is immediate.
You play first person, as a famous Hollywood actor who’s following the directions and notes, of a rather evil sounding director. (The voice of Tony Todd from Candy Man and Final Destination fame) How you choose to proceed is up to you though.
The first chapter helps you get acquainted with how the controls work. A straightforward guide that effectively allows you to figure out what you will need to do, without making it feel like you’re doing a tutorial. The rest of the story will unfold as you play.
There is no inventory, complicated fight scenes, or crazy commands. No spoilers here either. It’s confusing and twisty and you need to experience it first hand. Layers Of Fear 2 is very much a psychological horror. It becomes clear that things are not what they seem very quickly.
Layers Of Fear 2 doesn’t have a lot of blood, guts, and gore. (Except those statues! GAH THE STATUES!) There are some splashes here and there, but it is more spooky situations that get into your head. Don’t let that fool you. Layers Of Fear 2 still packs a pretty good horror punch without the blood and guts, if you will let it.
Layers of Fear 2 Gameplay
Layers of Fear 2 does a good job of slowly revealing to you the story of your character. The game is very linear, but it FEELS like you have choices. There will be lots of items for you to pick up, collect, read and interact with.
There’s a nice feature of hitting the spacebar while reading the documents you find. The text will optionally appear in clear typewritten text on top of it, as opposed to trying to decipher the handwritten scribbles. This was a nice little touch.
As you progress through the story, there will be lots of puzzles for you to do. Unlike many games, I felt these puzzles were just the right amount of challenging and not like many I’ve played before. Some of them required “Thinking Out of the Box”, some of them were timing-based, some of them required you to walk around and explore more before progressing, but most were logical puzzles.
I really enjoyed the puzzle elements in this game. It was a nice break from the spooky horror for a few moments and it stands out as a highlight for me.
Layers of Fear 2 Graphics
I found when I initially started playing that it almost gave me a VR seasick kind of feeling. The visuals and how my mouse was moving around, was much faster than my eyes wanted it to. That’s not a normal thing for me. Eventually, I adapted to it, but each time I started the game up I had a few moments of the same feelings, so it’s worth mentioning. I do wonder if this is an “effect” they are trying for.
Otherwise, graphics are pretty straightforward. The sets and background are mostly hallways, dark rooms, and twisty passages. The actual graphics are believable enough and they do a great job of moving things around graphically to keep it interesting. No complaints.
Layers of Fear 2 Review Sound
As with most horror games, this one is experienced best with headphones. The music and sound effects of the game make up a good portion of what is going to creep you out. You’ll hear a slight noise behind you, turn around and what you just walked by will be completely different. It really gets to you. This is a regular part of Layers of Fear 2.
The soundtrack is an amazingly spooky setting experience. An original score composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski, conducted by George Strezov, and performed by the Sofia Session Orchestra
When the Middle Hits… it Drags
Where I feel Layers of Fear 2 kind of falls flat, is about halfway through the game. Around this time, you still don’t really know exactly what’s going on. By this point, I found I also cared less about the main character because nothing was really explained.
I found that after the initial few chapters that had me having semi-regular jump-scare moments, those moments were fewer and farther between. Not because they were not happening. For example, main chase sequences no longer got to me because I’ve done them so many times. We, humans, adapt well. We know pretty much what to expect after it happens a few times. This lag in the middle is quite possibly why quite a few people are giving Layers of Fear 2 some negative reviews.
All that being said, I invested the time to complete this game twice, witnessing two different endings ( I watched the 3rd on YouTube 😀 ). The second playthrough allowed me to enjoy so many of the awesome Easter Eggs I mention in the next part that *does* include some minor spoilers (but still might be worth reading if you are undecided on this game). I DO feel Bloober Team has done an amazing job creating a horror fan-filled environment. If you are a horror fan, this game is definitely worth playing because of all the little nods to horror films.
Easter Eggs/ Minor Spoilers for Layers of Fear 2
I think perhaps one of the coolest parts of Layers of Fear 2 review is how much homage it pays to horror films in general. I’m going to list off a few of them I spotted, if I’ve missed any please feel free to add to the comment section. I’m sure there is a ton more.
Horror Movie Easter Eggs in Layers of Fear 2
- The references to the real-life horror of Titanic are obviously there.
- There is one chapter that is basically a play-by-play identical scenes of ‘the sins’ from the movie Se7en. This was just amazing. I took some screenshots and compared them! WOW
- We also get treated to a tricycle and the twins from The Shining.
- One of the easily missable achievements lets you blow up the buildings like at the end of Fight Club saying “Destroy something beautiful”.
- One section plays very similar to the lodge and David Lynch’s Twin peaks
- Number 42 is used in several places from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- The formless man appears like the girl from the Ring and her well is also seen
- Frankenstein’s Monster revives from the bed.
- HP Lovecraft in the secret audio
- The steam, pipes, and workers from Metropolis
- Vampires and coffins from Nosferatu
- The voice from Candyman and Final destination – Tony Todd
There are also tons of references to various movies from The Wizard of Oz to A Trip to the Moon. Classic golden-era film movies all over the place in Layers of Fear 2 review. These little Easter eggs are really what make the game stand out for me. Yet, they are very easy to miss, not many are talking about them online, and I see way too many people dismissing the game as boring who didn’t notice these things at all. Their loss.
Final Thoughts on Layers of Fear 2 Review
All in all, I really enjoyed this game and its multiple references to horror and film. There are few slow moments in the middle of the game that make it a bit of a grind to get to the end, but there are enough Easter eggs, jump scares that will make your heart race, and cool moments to look out for, that you can easily overlook that.
If you are new to the horror video game genre, you could definitely try this game out as well. It’s not particularly gory graphic, but it will definitely get your heart pumping in certain places without it being as traumatic as jumping into something like Evil Within. This game is more about the crazy mind and that might not be everyone’s horror cup of tea. You’ll get many hours of gameplay here as well as the New Game+ as I mentioned.