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If you've seen my review for GK1, you know that I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, The Beast Within forfeits everything that made GK1 awesome.
Forget that Curry is no longer playing the lead, nor is Leah Remini playing Grace. That is forgivable.
Gabriel himself has been somehow trans-morphed into a bumbling idiot. He does not at all take what he's doing seriously, even less than how serious he was in the first game. The swagger has been exorcised from this once-lovable oaf and now he's a boy doing a man's job. Gabriel goes so far as to not even care about Grace's research until the very end, which makes it kind of a waste to play as her (though she does most of the work).
Where the game really falls flat is the plot. The game is about [*Possible Spoiler*] werewolves. Everyone knows about werewolves, and few people care about them, while the direct opposite is true about Voodoo, about which SotF taught me a lot. It further doesn't help that the actual perpetrator--the werewolf--is obvious from the beginning. There is no mystery at all as to who our werewolf is. I don't even have to tell you because as soon as you meet the character, you know. The game can't even do a bait-and-switch.
There is one little problem with the game, however, and it involves exploring one of Ludwig's preserved castles (which is a museum in the game): Unlike GK1, where hotspots were kind of obvious at least in terms of the plot and you could be reasonably sure if you got everything in a certain area, there is one point in the game where Grace must visit a fairly large museum and examine *EVERYTHING.* Without an extremely specific walkthrough, this section is impossible, and it frustrated me. It's not even a puzzle, and while it is important, the way it was implemented was painful.
In itself, GK2 is OK, but compared to the first game it is a disaster. The game isn't *terrible,* but you couldn't tell if you compared to its predecessor. It does have it's moments. A few of the NPCs we meet are lovably weird, like the old couple, played by celebrities whose names I cannot recall, and the man who originally calls upon Gabriel as a Schattenjager. It also does a decent job of incorporating Bavarian history--specifically Ludwig II's reign--but I found this nowhere near as interesting as Voodoo and New Orleans, as it is much more likely for a religion to be used for evil than a 19th century king to be a werewolf.
It's OK if you've never played GK1 (in that case, get your butt over there and buy that instead, you nut!), but if you're expecting another tale of that same magnitude, you won't find it here. This game is for the bored only.