Oddly, before I got old enough to realise what a cesspit the world is - lots of good people trying to just get on with their life while the rest of them try to make it difficult and unpleasant - I used to watch a fair bit of horror.
I would eagerly partake of the wares offered by the man who drove every Tuesday down our road in his little van. He would rent us pirated videos, and didn't care about the age of the viewer; Basket Case, Driller Killer, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Stuff. At some point, I just grew out of it, when I realised those kinds of films glorified "horror" and suffering, and I no longer found it entertaining.
I mean... that's fine, if that sort of thing soothes you. I'm not judging you. I just think I'd rather engage with things that made me feel more positive about the world; I mean, it isn't like we're not bombarded with actual real horror on the news 24-7.
If I do watch horror, it has to have something else to grip me; a sci-fi (Alien) or post-apocalyptic setting (The Walking Dead) or a clever conceit (Paranormal Activity), or turn the genre on its head (Cabin in the Woods).
It's much the same reason I don't tend to play horror video games. Oh, I've done all the Resident Evils - Resident Evil 7 VR literally made me sick (albeit nothing to do with the content) - and I played Silent Hill back in the day. Alas, most horror video games - that I've played - are more weird than scary.
I never played The Evil Within, but The Evil Within 2 is a case in point. In fact, it comes across as a little desperate in its attempts to show horror, a misguided belief that bigger = more scary, when really it's the little, unseen, things that tend to get to us.
Set in a virtual recreation of a typical American town (a game within a game, effectively, Assassin's Creed-style) - thus ensuring that nothing which happens is actually "real" - The Evil Within 2 positions you as Generic Video Game Male Type A, who is involved in Generic Video Game Plot Type B (looking for his missing daughter, whose consciousness has been uploaded into the virtual world, or something).
There are monsters in this not-real-world - a mix of running zombie types, and those weird Japanese ones, which have, like, a geode for a head, or are a load of testicles grafted to a chainsaw that's on fire, or have a massive tongue which is also a rug and there are maggots living on it.
You also have a magic radio which allows you to find objectives and items - crucial for upgrading your gear and making ammo (which is all too scarce). And if all of that reminds you of Silent Hill then you'd be correct in assuming that this game is very much in the same vein.
Structurally, it's your typical open-world map affair, with side-objectives, and mini-stories running alongside the main one. Admittedly, the town looks good and is packed with secrets, and about midway through there's a bit of a shift of emphasis which shakes things up a bit.
Unlike most map-mopper games, however, this is no run-and-gun action fest - though there are moments of that. Pretty early on I realised that the only successful way to get through it - certainly during its first half - was to take things slow and stealthy.
In fact, if conflict can be avoided altogether - all the better. You'll only get frustrated otherwise.
I suppose, a "horror" game lives and dies on how scary it is, and in that respect The Evil Within 2 was a failure.
I was never scared. There's no slow build of tension; from the off you're being attacked by a big monster and stalked by a spectral dude. Then you're spat out into the town with its jabbering, shrieking, zombie things roaming around, punctuated every now and then by an attack from something more over-the-top.
My issue with most horror video games is that they favour excess in the place of true psychological terror.
There's nothing massively wrong with any of The Evil Within 2 - though I could certainly take aim at the lacklustre, melodramatic script, the generally average voice acting, and achingly bland protagonist. It's just that it's so ridiculous - lobbing hallucinatory sequences, and increasingly large, try-hard monstrosities, at you - that none of it ever feels particularly frightening. Frustrating, yes, when you've tried - and failed - for the twelfth time to sneak past a group of monsters. Scary? No no.
Maybe it's me. Maybe you'll play this game and be utterly terrified by every moment of it - regardless of how many times you might've seen those moments in other games. Maybe you'll fling your joypad aside and cry "No more! No more...". Maybe you'll be left with deep psychological scars.
The thing is, I'd wager that the stuff which scares most of us on a day to day basis isn't a big phallic monster smashing our door down, or harvesting green goo from the corpse of a scarred homunculus, because we know the possibility of that happening is fairly remote.
Alright, parents losing their children is a big one - I remember the sheer terror of losing my own daughter on a beach one summer - but when you dress it up with monsters and dream sequences it dilutes that. It ceases to speak to real fears, and reminds you constantly that it's a video game. Adding an achingly uninspired central character - who is only going to be relatable to a sheet of cardboard with an anguished face drawn on it - doesn't help matters.
Give me a horror game about receiving an unexpectedly high tax bill, or realising at the airport that I'd forgotten to pack spare contact lenses, and I'd probably poo myself.
SCORE: Rated 6.90000123 out of 11 for mild unease.