As I once again join Conway for our second trip down the ghostly Kentucky backcountry roads in Kentucky Route Zero: Act II, I’m immediately reminded what KRZ has to offer, and what I’m likely in store for. It took only a few seconds for that special feeling to reintroduce itself, and it stuck with me for the entire duration, just as it did on my first journey. Act II is brief, but certainly not lacking in atmosphere, or those campfire-like ghost story moments that cemented the initial act as something different and worth seeing through.
Very little has been changed between Acts I and II, fundamentally. The point-and-click adventure style play is back in full force, if a bit less present than before. Act II seems decidedly shorter than the first, and as such there are fewer interactions to encounter. The paranormal nature of those interactions, however, is amplified considerably. I recall leaving Act I feeling as though I’d been interacting with a lighthearted ghost story, and I leave Act II certain I experienced something of an entirely different world. Where the first act touched lightly on those themes, the second goes all out, and doesn’t mask it behind as much vague language.
The story doesn’t quite pick up right where we left off, with protagonists Conway, and his faithful hound. We find ourselves inexplicably at the Bureau of Reclaimed Spaces, and where we go from there only serves to deepen the mystery and intrigue surrounding the fabled Route 0.
The atmosphere established at the outset of Act I makes a triumphant return, and is even denser than before. Rarely does any piece of media contain such an all-encompassing, consistent feel, and KRZ does so with aplomb. The gorgeous art style continues to shine, and there’s even some new, fancier camera work in Act II that further accentuates its already phenomenal presentation.
One of KRZ’s strongest aspects, among many, continues to be its sound design. Rarely do I question whether the wind I’m hearing is coming from a nearby window or the game I’m playing, but this was one such instance. The music is once again top-notch, with another pitch-perfect folk song accompanying an especially ethereal segment.
Kentucky Route Zero: Act I was a strong proof of concept that, by its end, had me convinced of its potential. Act II more than delivers on that promised potential. I know I’ve said this of nearly every aspect of the game so far, but it continues to apply. KRZ is consistent in its greatness, and is, surprise, still more than worth your time.