The Evil Within Review
Subtle is a word that The Evil Within and the freaks that inhabit it's world don't seem to know. Within five minutes of starting up the game I was decapitated, chased with a chainsaw and watched my lifeless body fall to the floor more times than I care to disclose. It's a tense game that when at it's best, brings back fond memories of playing games like Resident Evil for the first time, but it also becomes very quick very clear that what once worked for the survival horror genre suddenly feels dated, and The Evil Within often crumbles under the weight of it's own expectations. There's still a lot to like, especially if you're the type who likes your scares bloody and violent, but Shinji Mikami and Tango Gameworks spend way too much time trying to make you remember past experiences that they forget to create one for itself.
"The plot is largely a retread..."
In The Evil Within you play as Sebastian Castellanos, a crack police detective who's called to the scene of a grisly murder in an insane asylum. Long story short, Castellanos is knocked out and when he wakes he finds that he's surrounded by nightmarish monsters who want nothing more than to hurt him in as many ways as possible It's your job to escape the freaks and find out just what happened in the asylum before everything gets worse. The plot is largely a retread of what's come before and more an excuse to get as many hideous freaks and demons to chase you as possible. If you've played any of the classic Resident Evil or Silent Hill games, you'll be able to telegraph the story points fairly easy, even the ones that are supposed to be big reveals in the later chapters of the game.
The biggest problem with The Evil Within's plot is just how little I was able to buy it. The game builds Castellanos up as this great detective, who is called upon by his agency to solve this grisly crime but he seems comically clueless throughout the entire experience. The Evil Within throws a lot of bad guys at you at the same time, especially as you progress further into the game, by Castellanos constantly seems confused by what's going on around him to the point of parody. When the same bad guys have been chasing you for the last three chapters, you've killed a handfuls of them, and he still seems confused every time they show up, I couldn't help but laugh. Also, if Castellanos is this great detective, why is it so hard for him to shoot something two feet in front of him without turning on the aim assist (and you don't want to be that guy)?
In truth, that's one of the most successful aspects of theThe Evil Within, or at least the idea of it is. This a survival horror game by every definition and you'll be doing little more than surviving by planning and, well in most cases…luck. Saying that ammo and other resources are scarce in The Evil Within is putting it lightly, they're almost nonexistent. You'll have a handgun and you'll eventually acquire a shotgun and a crossbow but that's about it and you're tasked with finding your way around some pretty nasty foes throughout much of the experience. Sometimes that means sneaking around enemies while sometimes it means thinking on your feet and outsmarting them with stealth and traps. The Evil Within does a great job creating tension in most of these sections and harkens back to classic horror moments when giant enemies are barreling down on you and you've got to reload.
"...less likely to stand up to multiple play throughs."
You can't help but feel like The Evil Within is held down by it's own ambitions though. The game prides itself on being tough as nails and the fact that you're going to die a lot, but that's also something that hurts the experience greatly. Here's how most play throughs of The Evil Within go; sneak through a section, get caught, have to escape enemies, respond and try a new approach. Every time you play The Evil Within, the game is exactly the same, and what was once scary becomes little more than an annoying obstacle you'll have to overcome; think of it like watching a scary movie; when you watch it for the first time you jump at everything, but the more you watch it, the more normal everything becomes. Perhaps that's not really a fair criticism, as many games suffer from this but many current horror games like Alien Isolation change things up with random enemy AI and patterns, leaving The Evil Within's predictability to feel incredibly dated, and less likely to stand up to multiple play throughs.
Like Alien Isolation before it, The Evil Within is truly at it's best when it's making you think of what could happen at any moment. The Evil Within makes great use of an impressive shadow engine that often makes you question what's around the next corner, and rightfully fear it. The game features a breakneck pace that never really let's up and constantly throws enemies your way that differs from traditional Survival Horror Games and that combined with a unique and interesting upgrade system makes for a worthwhile experience. The pacing seems to lose focus a few times over the course of the game's 15 chapter campaign, especially when chapters just seem to randomly end for no reason. While some chapters end with boss fights, others end quickly by going through a random door and it makes you feel like you've missed something.
I like to think that playing through The Evil Within is a lot like what hearing Beethoven return for one last symphony, or seeing Wayne Gretzky come back for one more game would be like. Shinji Mikami is no less than the father of the modern survival horror game and seeing him return to the genre he was so influential in creating is great for fans and those new to his work alike, but you can't help but feel like it's missing something. While The Evil Within does a great job recreating much of what made games like Resident Evil 4 so enjoyable to begin with, and even takes a few risks throughout it's 15 chapter campaign, those risks don't feel they're nearly enough to set the game apart from what came before it. There's definitely an established audience for The Evil Within, but it won't do much to bring in anyone new.
* Updated game trainers and cheats daily
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• Unlimited Silver Keys
• Unlimited Health
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