If you want to make a horror game, there is perhaps no one better to have behind it than the man behind Resident Evil, Mr Shinji Mikami. This legend knows exactly how to scare gamers, which is exactly what people want in horror games, right?. Mikami now has his own studio, Tango Gameworks, but has gone back to his horror roots with The Evil Within. Does this further enhance his reputation? Or is it horrifyingly bad? Read the full review below to find out!
Game: The Evil Within
Developer: Tango Gameworks
We are spoiler free here at NGB, and will continue to do so with The Evil Within. However, to set it up nicely for you, The Evil Within has you take on the role of Detective, Sebastian Castellanos. You are called to the scene of the local hospital in Krimson City. As you get to the hospital, you realise that all is not what it seems. As you go through the story, you begin to unravel the story of a mystery force that is behind the outbreak of the undead. It is a stroy that has Mikami written all over it, perhaps one that only he could of thought of. Is it as twisted as Resident Evil? Perhaps, but I couldn’t help but feel that it has been repeated before. It is a good story, don’t get me wrong, but for most parts, it seems to have a sense of dejavu about it.
Horror games and the Next-Gen systems excited me a lot at first, thinking at the graphical power the new consoles have which could add an extra layer to the tense, gory filled genre that has already had much success. However, I will admit that I was quite underwhelmed with what was on offer in The Evil Within. There are bits in the game that impressed me, the cut scenes mainly, but for the most of it, I couldn’t help but feel that the visuals didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
I kinda felt and still feel now after extensive play, that The Evil Within on the PlayStation 4 still had that ‘last-gen’ feel and look to it. As I said, there are some things visually that impressed me. Cut scenes aside, some of the bosses and enemies that you come across in the game are detailed quite well. At the start of the game especially, there is an undead monster chopping up one of his human victims, and whilst I was looking on from afar, I was smiling because it was exactly what I expected from the game. Unfortunately, these moments are too far between.
Mikami does it again sound wise with The Evil Within. Every corner, every corridor you pass, every door you open, all has that tense, shuddering sound that comes with it, making you believe that there is someone behind every corner, even when there isn’t!. The sound, in m y opinion, is the heart of every Horror game. Get that wrong, and you may as well forget it, but it is safe to say that The Evil Within does this aspect perfectly. The voice acting could be a little bit better, but on the whole, the sound fits in with the tone perfectly, and that for me, is what matters in a game like The Evil Within.
I think the key to the gameplay experience of The Evil Within is that the game offers you so little, making you think at every turn. As you go through each of the chapters in the game, there is enough of the undead, or haunted as they are known in the game, to kill you in an instant. ‘Ah, that’s fine, I’ll kill them with my gun’ I hear you say, well that is fine, but the game cleverly knows not to offer much ammo as you go through. There are multiple ways to kill your enemies in the game. You can sneak behind them, dealing out a crushing knife to the head, go all out with one of weapons in the game, or the good old fashioned way…….run for your life!. It is a system that makes you think, a system that I think that works well. Although the ammo is at a premium at most times, there are multiple weapons at your disposal. After you do kill an enemy, you have the option to get rid of them completely with the use of a match. I do recommend highly that you do this for each enemy (or if multiple are gathered in a bunch), because there are times that they can get up after a short while, only to kill you when you are least expecting it.
You have the usual pistol, the powerful Shotgun, and my favorite, the cross bow and arrow!. The only difference is, this arrow acts as a sticky bomb, which is very effective against the enemies and bosses. It is not just the undead you have to worry about in The Evil Within, as there are a number of traps that you must get around, before you find yourself being impaled. The good thing is however, is that you can actually disarm these traps, allowing you to have them at your disposal for later chapters and bosses, which let me tell you now, are very, very hard to get by.
Take chapter 3 for example, it offers you the first boss in the form of a complete maniac, brandishing a chainsaw. If you haven’t got enough ammo and weapons at your disposal, you can forget it!. You can only imagine the later bosses in the game, and let me tell you now, they get a lot, lot harder than you first think. There are countless amount of times you will be fighting against a boss, only to realise you have 1 shotgun bullet left.
The Evil Within offers 2 difficulties, casual and survival. I played through Casual, which took me around 15 hours to fully complete. Casual however, is not as ‘Casual’ as you think. You will often enough find yourself dying time and time again. There is enough to warrant another playthrough though, especially if you find yourself wanting to upgrade to Survival. That mode offers even less ammo than you have in Casual, giving out an experience that is only for the veterans of the genre. Approach with caution, would be my advice!
Shinji Mikami does it again with The Evil Within, although fails to live up to the expectations people may have had after Resident Evil 4. It offers a solid horror-survival experience, but the story and visuals let me down somewhat, especially as I hoped it would look much better on the PlayStation 4. Would I recommend it at full price? Not really, as I would say waiting for a price cut will give out a more satisfying experience. The Evil Within adds to the horror genre with it’s twisted, tense nature, and it is one that Shinji Mikami can be relatively happy with.