Equal parts unsettling, moving, and eerily beautiful, Layers of Fear 2 is an astonishing feat of storytelling viewed through an off-kilter horror lens that consistently surprised me. It’s a marked improvement on the 2016 original; developer Bloober Team has created one of the most haunting and creatively nuanced horror games I’ve ever played.
Trading surrealist art for classic film, Layers of Fear 2 places you in the role of an actor on an ocean liner. Like the original, Layers of Fear 2 uses the “artist gone mad” concept. This time it’s your movie’s director, whose chilling voice fills the lifeless ship throughout the five Act adventure. Early 1900s-style films play at the end of each act and a chalkboard marks your progress in your room similar to the painting in the original. But unlike the original’s story, which ironically lacked layers, the sequel has more moving parts to decipher, each of which excites and enlightens.