Rebellion's strategy-simulation title has landed on consoles and we've tested it out.
This week, Rebellion launched its strategy-simulation game Evil Genius 2: World Domination on console, providing a chance for an extended range of gamers on PlayStation and Xbox systems to build the evil lair of their dreams. While we often don't re-review games when they launch on new platforms, we figured the series debut on console makes for a great chance to see how Rebellion has optimised the base-building mechanics to suit a controller.
With this in mind, if you're looking for a more complete review of Evil Genius 2: World Domination, where we dive into the mechanics and how it stacks up to its predecessor, you should take a look at our initial review of the PC version here, as we'll be solely focussing on how the game has been adapted for consoles in this text.
First of all, the most glaring of adaptations comes in the cursor. On PC, players can simply point and click on minions, objects, the HUD, all to be able to access the deeper systems lying underneath as simply as possible. On consoles, users also have a moveable cursor, which can be used to target and select objects, people, and items with the press of a button. It's a system that works well, even if you can tell it lacks the simplicity and fluidity of mouse and keyboard controls.
Following on from this, navigating the HUD is not as simple as pointing and clicking. You have to use a range of buttons and bumpers to move through the menus to be able to select the tools for building new rooms, opening the world map, researching new technologies, expanding your minion ranks, among other things. It's not a poorly designed system in any sense, but it is a more convoluted system to PC, and it does lack in a few areas that would make it a little bit more fluid, such as being able to easily correct mistakenly built rooms without needing to cancel and start from scratch.
Likewise, the cursor and its inability to offer the same precision as a mouse, will mean that you misclick or struggle to get exactly what you are aiming for a lot of the time. It's an issue that can be eased by moving the camera so that you are looking down on your base in the most vertical manner possible, but it's still a bit finicky nevertheless.
But if you can manage the controls, which are generally not bad for a strategy-simulation game on console, then the rest of Evil Genius 2 feels pretty great to handle on a controller. There's not much to complain about as the simulation systems have been served up in their entirety, without needing a confusing set of mechanics to navigate them, which is a positive through and through.
Controls aside, how does the game perform? In the spirit of transparency, we've only tested the game on an Xbox Series X, so we can't comment on the nature of the last-gen iteration of the title. But, on Microsoft's flagship console, Evil Genius 2 looks fantastic and plays very smoothly. The visuals are crisp and detailed, regardless of whether you zoom out as far as possible, or instead zoom in fully to witness the intricacies of your evil lair.
As for the performance, the game plays incredibly well, even when you cram your evil lair full of multiple floors of rooms, packed with minions and flashy devices of the most nefarious nature. This is a massive positive, as strategy-simulation games are notoriously known for being tasking on PC hardware, especially systems with older components, and yet the latest generation of console hardware seems to handle the title incredibly well.
And then there's the loading times, which on the Xbox Series X don't really exist. It does take a few seconds to load into your base when you're kicking off your play session, but moving to the world map or the objectives screen, and then back to your lair is seamless and without need for any visible loading sequence.
All in all, Rebellion has done a fantastic job at adapting this game for consoles. It's not perfect, but this version preserves the integrity of what was offered up in the PC edition earlier this year, and doesn't skimp on handing PlayStation and Xbox players an edition, which is in effect about as identical as it comes when we look at the content available. Sure, there are areas that would benefit from the odd improvement, but for the most part, console players can take solace in knowing this version of Evil Genius 2: World Domination is accurate, well-built, and a great way to experience this daft and unique strategy-simulation game.
8 / 10
Looks great and plays incredibly well. Very similar experience to the PC version.
Cursor can be a tad finicky and lacks the precision of a mouse. The HUD system can be a little tough to manage.