Layers of Fear 2 is a first-person psychological horror game with an emphasis on exploration and story. Players control a Hollywood actor who heeds the call of an enigmatic director to take on the lead role in a film shot aboard an ocean liner. Beware, for all may not truly be what it seems.
The jump scares are a bit overdone, same as the original Layers of Fear, and there’s an abysmal chase sequence in the second act that could’ve been cut completely. Still, Bloober Team’s rapidly proved itself as a master of psychological horror, using symbolism in ways most games don’t even attempt, let alone achieve. So what if it’s not very scary? There’s more important work to be done. Great work.
Layers of Fear 2 is a fascinating horror game that centers on exploring a mysterious ship and its ever-changing layout. It isn't the scariest game, but the unsettling nature of everything you encounter more than makes up for it. The constant environmental changes designed to mess with you are amazing and one of the best aspects.
Though LoF2's message may be cryptic at first, with every layer that is pulled back, more insight is revealed. If life is a stage, and all the men and women are merely players... where does that put you? What does it mean to be the captain of your own destiny? Will you let your past define you, or your future? The player is confronted with each question with the brute force of a formless ghost. The horror is real, but you may not be.
Layers of Fear 2 is better than its predecessor and mostly succeeds at its attempts to induce psychological horror. It is only marred by a few sections that, despite the fact that you’re running, tend to bring the pace to a halt, hindering the entire experience.
The winning formula does not change: this is what the boys of Blooper must have thought that, after the excellent commercial success of the first Layers of Fear, they have slavishly replicated the structure with some more interactivity.
Layers of Fear 2 is striking in its unsettling places, but is a looser experience than its predecessor, losing the player with busywork puzzles and winding corridors.
Similarly to its predecessor, a striking presentation is not enough for Layers of Fear 2 to overcome a jumbled menagerie of cliches, jump scares, and overwrought writing.