After a long wait The Evil Within is finally upon us and it does not disappoint. Conceived by the master of horror Shinji Mikami The Evil Within feels like a return to true survival horror. The game begins with detective Sebastian Castellanos, who is faced with a multiple homicide at Deacon Mental Hospital. As he enters with his two partners he is confronted by numerous bloody corpses, everything is explained once you take a look at the security cameras. You see Ruvik, the main antagonist, slaughtering other police officers when he suddenly appears behind you.
As soon as the game begins you run into one of the destructive enemies that hunts you for a good 20 minutes. However this opening does not act as a tutorial it makes you learn from your mistakes. This was very punishing but it also taught me how to play without directly telling which is something alot of horror games have trouble doing.
Saying that The Evil Within isn’t a gore fest is like saying that birds cant fly. The game takes pointers from legendary horror movies such as Saw and The Evil Dead. The game is twisted and shows you unthinkable horrors throughout the story and is one of the most twisted games I have played up to now. But it is this gore that adds to the experience. The enemies of the game are grotesque and deformed, and they often resemble zombies. However a mere head shot wont stop them coming for you, it will knock them down and that is when you can set them on fire and that will stop them. The only problem with the enemies is that once they are down you can just stamp on their head repeatedly and it essentially does the same thing. Another enemy type has a distinct growth on its face and it has the ability to go invisible making them very hard to kill.
Most of the game will see you sneaking through various environments and scavenging for ammo. You will often come across mines that you will be able to disassemble and use the parts you have salvaged to create bolts for your cross bow. Throughout the game you jump between reality and a dream world but you are not quite sure which is which. Mikami seems to have taken a lot of ideas from the Silent Hill series where you are also torn between reality and a nightmarish dream. Unlike in Silent Hill the transition, The Evil Within includes gallons of blood seeping from walls then the whole environment will completely change.
Shooting Enemies in the head isn’t always effective.
The game uses save points similar to Alien Isolation. But instead of phones you need to find the area that is playing the creepy music and you will find a mirror that is emitting a very bright light. This will take you to a mental hospital where you can save your progress and upgrade Sebastian’s abilities. The horror in the game varies from mild jump scares to gory zombies rising from the dead moments after you had blown a hole in their head.
The game focuses more on disturbing, the game has huge amounts of gore instead of linear jump scares. You will rarely come across medical kits but when you do use them wisely because like everything in this game will come at a price and in this case your screen will become warped and you will be unable to use a weapon making you very vulnerable.
Throughout the game you will encounter various bugs that really take away from the horror atmosphere. For example after the long awaited box head boss battle is over you are attacked by a safe with tentacles protruding from its face, it grabs you then glitches in a circle taking Sebastian hair with it. If these bugs could be fixed you would never lose the atmosphere.
You can’t always fight enemies.
The story line is supposed to be the heart and soul of the game but it unfortunately it doesn’t deliver. This is because it is full of twists and turns that will really mess with your mind and you might just stop following it. However if you enjoy exploring you will be rewarded with character profiles and diary notes to add story to Sebastian. Despite the fact it is a survival horror game you sometimes team up with your fellow police officers. However this does not take away from the horror it seems to just add to it as you are constantly worrying if your partner is okay.
I think The Evil Within is a triumphant return to survival horror and is a great game by itself. The game is more about the atmosphere and the enemies than it is about the story. It is classic survival horror just like the original Resident Evil series so it will suit people who rarely play survival horror and people who play it all the time.
What We Liked
The game is tense, scary, gory, and contains great enemies that really add to the experience.
What We Didn't
Bugs and glitches really distract from the game, while the story is mediocre.
The Evil Within is what the survival horror genre needs, Tango Gameworks really brought a much needed experience that few AAA games delivery.