Evil Genius 2 Makes World Domination Fun (Review)

Evil Genius 2: World Domination is a base management and world domination simulator that gives players the chance to plot world domination one minion at a time with all the swagger and aesthetic of your favorite Bond villain. 

Developer: Rebellion
Platforms: Win-PC
Release Date: March 30, 2021

Evil Genius was developed by Elixir Studios and published by Vivendi Universal Games in September 2004. The rights to the franchise’s intellectual property were acquired by Rebellion Developments and the studio developed and published the long-awaited sequel at the end of March.

Each genius has a unique story campaign, set of abilities, and doomsday devices utilized in your quest to squash the Forces of Justice. When it comes to our Evil Geniuses, Maximilian has skills that boost minion training; Red Ivan creates priority in his immediate surroundings and excels in combat with his handy Bazooka; and Emma is an ex-spymaster and Zalika specializes in defensive traps and overall emphasizes the importance of research and development. 

The three available islands that players select are all tropical in locale but feature different inherent traits like additional gold veins, number of total entrances, total amount of space, and more. A big shift from the original is that there is no mid-game switch to a larger base and players can expand bases via vertical upgrades up and down five floors. 

As with any basic world domination scheme, you cannot let your enemies know exactly what you are plotting. Thus, a business front is born and scheming can begin. In Evil Genius 2, the casino used as a front for the whole operation is already set up, so players get to begin basic base building from the jump. There are areas of the map that are unable to be excavated and developed without the proper research upgrades, so some future planning is required. 

There are a large variety of room types to build that come decked out with essential tools for operation as well as decorations and amenities that will help keep minions relatively happy, and there are side quests that reward players for building certain/not required amenities (e.g. storage lockers in the barracks). 

You will have to balance money and power (as in literal electricity, authoritative power is not bought so easily) as you build and expand not only your base but your minion workforce. Vaults and power rooms will house gold and generators, as well as those handy incinerators for disposing of those pesky Forces of Justice investigators. Players need to make sure they are managing gold and power effectively or they will find themselves in an occasionally blind bind — low power also means no worldwide gold earning schemes.

The game is split between granular base management and controlling your criminal network scattered about the globe. New locations for additional evil schemes will unlock as players build up the control room and subsequent radio broadcast network. All money-earning schemes build up “heat” in the region that players are committing crimes, but there are scheme options to reduce the heat buildup allowing players to alay the hassle of the Forces of Justice. Players can also recruit specialized minions and special loot items. 

Forces of Justice Agents will be patrolling throughout the various territories on the world scene, so a misstep in scheming could be the cause for a minion massacre at home. 

Different types of minions can be acquired through these evil schemes like scientists, technicians, and more. Once captured, they will be imprisoned and subject to a brainwashing that they might not survive. If they do, however, they will undergo special training to improve the overall quality of the player’s (not so) valiant attempt to take over the world.

Players will have access to a variety of traps and tricks to, ahem, take care of the Forces of Justice agents as upgrades are unlocked through research and development. Traps include a variety of contraptions like the Venus Spy Trap, Shark Tanks, Fan Traps, and Freeze Ray. In the sequel, players are able to create trap combos aimed at providing your base with a serious (and seriously ridiculous) line of defense.  

Additionally, players can send minions into high alert in an effort to track, capture or kill and dispose of pesky intruders before they discover too much information and alert other agents. 

Gather enough intel, gold, and minions and you’re on your way to world domination. The ultimate goal is to acquire the Doomsday Device and wreak havoc on the rest of the world. How you do that is up to you. 

Simulation and base management games can often be quite long and easy to sink tens or even hundreds of hours into, and Evil Genius 2: World Domination is no exception. This fact is one of my favorites about the genre but can make actually finishing a campaign seem like an impossibility. I started two campaigns — with one as Maxamillion and the other as Emma — and have not finished either, yet. I was fresh to the franchise, so my first campaign was a foray into understanding the basics and getting a feel for how best to manage my minions. 

My biggest complaint in the game overall is the lack of a priority system (outside of Red Ivan’s ability) either on individual build items or setting priorities for individual minions or types of minions.

I found the only way that I could have total control over what was being built was by limiting the number of items I could queue for construction at any given time, which was particularly frustrating in the early game. This made the early game feel a bit slow in both of the campaigns I played and was compounded by how long it took to unlock research upgrades to really push the play into mid-game. 

Priority system dreams aside, Evil Genius 2: World Domination is a great addition to any player’s PC gaming library, but especially for those who have enjoyed the base management shenanigans of games like the Dungeons series.

Sometimes it’s fun to cause a little (or a lot) of chaos.