The Evil Within

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Gameplay : 8/10
Graphics : 8/10

creepy, Gritty

Lack of character development

Game Info

GAME NAME: The Evil Within

DEVELOPER(S): Tango Gameworks

PUBLISHER(S): Bethesda Softworks

PLATFORM(S): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

GENRE(S): third-person shooter, survival horror

RELEASE DATE(S): October 14, 2014

From the moment I picked up Shinji Mikami’s new survival horror title The Evil Within, I immediately thought of Resident Evil 4. It’s not difficult to see why; Both titles capture a similar atmosphere from lighting, to gritty environments, to gameplay. I guess that’s what happens when both games are directed by the same person. With a 20 hour run time, The Evil Within has a lot to be desired, with a nice blend between Survival Horror and Action.

The Evil Within however, is not perfect. While this game is a fresh step in the Survival Horror genre, there are aspects that could have been fleshed out even more but the fact that it is directed by Mikami himself, means that a familiar esthetic is to be expected, which is what the genre needs.

Developed By Mikami’s own studio Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within centers on Sebastian Castellanos, a detective from Krimson City. While investigating a mass murder at a mental hospital with partners Joseph and Kidman,Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. Once awake, Sebastian escapes the hospital and finds that the city’s environment has completely changed and is occupied by creatures known as The Haunted. The result of a mind-linking experiment, all orchestrated by a man named Ruvik. The plot is interesting, and sets an eerie tone, focusing more on the paranormal spectrum rather than a zombie outbreak. Unfortunately, the game is chapter based, making the plot choppy. In a few instances chapters would end in the middle of a cinematic, causing the game to lose its fluidity.

The games protagonist, Sebastian, had the chance to be a well fleshed out character, but does not entirely deliver. There’s not much to be said about Sebastian. He’s not a terrible character, but something’s missing, coming off more as a complete stranger than the hero. You can collect badges that reveal Sebastian’s back story,ranging from first dates to the death of a loved one. Delving into Sebastian’s past is intriguing, but would have been better if entwined with the main plot rather than just a collectable. A more developed character would have been much more engaging to the plot and supporting cast.

Much like Resident Evil 4, The Evil Within utilizes the over-the shoulder camera(yes, lots of games use it now). While not as scary, the game is certainly creepy, filled with difficult enemies and grotesque bosses. There is a variety of enemies, but The Hunted are the main threat that you’ll face. Grotesque in their own right, The Haunted are slow, but difficult. Fortunately,there’s a way to take them out. The game has a stealth mechanic, and using this technique can be helpful. Haunted who are equipped with a torch, ax or other melee weapons still bring a challenge. The haunted are the least of your worries when it comes to other enemies.

There are a lot of boss battles in this game, but there are only two that come to mind that raise the creepiness factor to a max. Laura and The Keeper. Not only are these enemies frightening, but the game makes you battle them more than once. Laura, the most terrifying and interesting enemy, is a spider-Esq creature with two large claws at the front of her torso. Laura isn’t just another enemy, in fact, she’s part of Ruvik’s past, making her more dynamic than the rest of the enemies. Not only is Laura quick, it’s nearly impossible to take her down with ammo as she can appear and disappear at any moment. Luckily, she reacts to open flames which help eliminate her. I died multiple times during the two encounters with her and each time was more stressful than the last.

The Keepers are also a major enemy, and will appear in the smaller areas of the game, making it difficult to escape. A tall human-like character with a safe on its head, the Keeper is a frequent enemy that will be seen chapter after chapter. Not only does a Keeper take a massive amount of damage, but occasionally, you’ll have to fight two of them at the same time. It does not help that they lay down bear traps throughout an area when attempting to escape.

Both Laura and The Keepers are difficult, and if caught, a brutal, gory death scene takes place. If you do die, there are multiple death scenes to keep you interested. Nothings was more gruesome than watching a Keeper bury its hammer into Sebastian’s face.

To avoid these death scenes, useful weapons can be equipped. You can collect typical weapons such as a hand gun, shotgun, grenade, etc. There is however, the Agony crossbow. Not an exiting weapon, but it’s definitely the most useful, especially in cramped areas. You can acquire various bolts throughout each chapter or they can be crafted. For instance the Harpoon Bolt produces a lot of damage, knocking back any enemy who comes too close. There is also a Freeze Bolt, Shock Bolt, and Flash Bolt, useful when attempting to escape. The most necessary bolt that should be used is the Explosive Bolt. This produces a grenade with a detention for any enemy who gets close to it. In a room with a lot of enemies, this bolt becomes invaluable… An ax, or torch can be used to decapitate enemies, or burn them respectively. You can use your fists but make sure you use matches to burn the bodies(No, enemies don’t turn into Crimson Heads).

Unfortunately, during intense parts, game crashing may occur. Whether it’s during a load screen, cinematic, or a boss battle, stalling happens frequently. This happened to me at least half a dozen times.

Other items can also be collected such a Green Gel, which acts a currency, keys, that unlocks special items, and various documents on what is happening within the game. These are used via the Save Room feature.

The Save Room is major part of the game. Not just for plot points but for the upgrades as well. You’ll know when you are near a room as Claude Debussey’s “Clair DE Lune” plays in the background. A nice touch that heightens the eeriness. Once you enter into the Save Room, you get sucked into a broken mirror which takes you to an asylum. Here, you can upgrade your weapons and inventory. The keys you collect open lockers that provide items such as ammo or Green Gel. The upgrade system is obviously useful as enemies become increasingly difficult as the game moves forward. A woman named Tatiana can also be found here. She acts as a support character, introducing new upgrades and areas throughout the hospital. This just adds another touch to bring out the atmosphere.

Graphically, The Evil Within is on par with any major title out there. The game strives for a cinematic look and hits the mark. From the dark, gritty environments, to the creative enemies, and ominous atmosphere the player cannot help but be pulled in. There are some graphical hiccups such as texture pop-in’s, but these are overshadowed by the art style and lighting effects.

Shinji Mikami’s The Evil Within is a survival horror experience that is a rejuvenation to a struggling genre, a breathe of fresh air. While doing nothing new, Mikami concentrated on the essentials; a creepy atmosphere, and a situation that seems impossible to get out of. The game does flounder when it comes to plot and character development, and it also does not help that the game crashes frequently. Having said that, the game is a chilling experience and a step in the right direction. Hopefully future survival horror titles can take a note from this game and restore the genre to what it was back in the mid to late 1990’s.

Author: GameSlean View all posts by

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