Twenty one hours later and the nightmare-ish hell The Evil Within had in store for me had finally come to an end! As the final cut-scene draws to a close, I reflect over some of the awe-inspiring moments of horror Shinji Mikami has delivered that will remain fragmented in my mind for some time.
The Evil Within is director Shinji Mikami’s most recent contribution to the survival horror genre since the hugely successful and iconic Resident Evil 4. The game is very much in tune with the style of Resident Evil 4. Various environments, enemies and scenarios you face in the game are all very reminiscent of the iconic title however, in no way is this game a replica of the former.
Mikami and Tango Gameworks have gone all out in providing us with a much more ambitious and formidable game. The Evil Within follows detective Sebastian Castellanos’ investigation into what appears to be a multiple homicide at Beacon Mental Hospital set within fictional location Krimson City. Both the player and protagonist will soon realise that first appearances are deceptive, and that a far more deeper and twisted story lies ahead. Although the story becomes mundane during the middle section of the game, there are enough interesting plots and twists peppered throughout the game to keep it interesting.
Some of the death sequences you encounter within the game are extremely gruesome and gory, yet so intricately designed and executed (excuse the pun). This game is in no way for the faint hearted (you have been warned). In terms of gameplay style, I was reminded of the Dark Souls franchise. Enemies can prove very challenging and each time you are killed you only learn more about your enemies and how to approach them. Ammunition is scarce and you are forced to be wise with your actions, and at times your best option is just to run and avoid conflict. A stealth element has been introduced into the game which can prove effective when the need to preserve ammunition is at stake, however enemy AI is intelligent so a stealth approach requires some thought and skill (such as throwing objects to distract enemies).
Tango Gameworks and Shinji Mikami have really set their sights on delivering truly terrifying horror with this game. Environments alone will provide players with enough horror to keep them on the edge of their seats. Shadows and inanimate objects that move freely had me firing off rounds thinking I was about to be mauled by an incoming enemy. The soundtrack has also been cleverly implemented into the game and serves only to create and build up tension and add to the overall fear players will feel.
Boss battles alone will prove most challenging and unnerving (namely The Keeper). The design of enemy boss’ you encounter are both original and horrifying, and the battle against them can feel never ending if the player is not well prepared and equipped before the encounter. I found myself scavenging and holding on to any form of weaponry and ammunition leading up to boss battles. Preserving your arsenal throughout missions can however, prove very difficult. There is the option of a mêlée attack, which is practically useless against enemies and in fact more suicidal.
Overall, The Evil Within loses its sense of direction with the story during the middle section of it’s 15 chapters, but the game is so beautifully designed and inflicts the up most amount of terror into player. The game is definitely worth a buy, as I believe it has made fresh and innovative mark within the survival horror genre.