The Evil Within, the latest brainchild of Shinji Mikami and the first game to be developed by Tango Gameworks, has been billed as the proper return to the survival horror genre. Does it live up to its incredibly lofty expectations, or does it sink under the incredible hype placed on its horrific head?
You play as Detective Sebastian Castellanos who, along with his comrades Joseph Oda and Juli Kidman, is sent to investigate Beacon Mental Hospital. Upon arrival, you discover a horrific scene and must investigate the asylum. After viewing security footage, you’re attacked by an unseen force named Ruvik and transported to an alternate, terrifying universe, where you must either survive or die a cruel death.
Gameplay is simple and intuitive, which is very important in a game focusing on survival horror. The controls are easy to master and simple to learn. The premise is to be stealthy to survive this atrocious world, and this is where the game sometimes falters. Sometimes when I was sneaking up on an enemy, they would instinctively turn around and attack, even though I was in stealth mode and had provided a distraction. This game is also incredibly difficult, which is actually refreshing and brings the true spirit of the genre back to life. If you’re not a patient gamer, though, this game will prove to be infuriating. Other than that, The Evil Within is a fantastically fun game to play, even though you’ll die (and die,and die, and die some more…)
To be honest, this game isn’t a stunner. It sometimes looks like a PlayStation 2 game or a launch title for the new-gen consoles. This doesn’t hurt the game at all though. The Evil Within is not about what’s on the surface, it’s about what’s underneath – which is a beautiful nightmare, in the best possible way. Mikami designed this game to look filmic in its nature, with cinematic graininess and an aspect ratio of 2:40.1, which causes it to look like a widescreen film. Overall, the graphics actually enhance the game, rather than diminish its appeal.
The sound direction in The Evil Within is superb. When you hear the hauntingly beautiful chords of “Clair de Lune” playing, you know you’ve just found a welcome save point. Each Afflicted (the game’s enemies), sound creepy and each impact provides a gruesome, gory sound effect. The voice actors all provided excellent performances, making the characters seem relatable and making the player feel like they’re actually dealing with a real human being, not an AI. Some of the incredible actors who bring life to the characters are Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels,Non-Stop) as Sebastian, Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, Quarantine) as Juli, Jackie Earle Haley (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Watchmen) as Ruvik, and Yuri Lowenthal (Bayonetta, Bleach) as Joseph.
The Evil Within is a refreshing return to true survival horror, and if you enjoy games in this genre, this is a must play. Even with the incredible difficulty and sub-par graphics, this game is a tension-filled masterpiece that’s begging for you to play it so it can drag you into its hellish universe. You’ll love every minute of it, though.
The Evil Within is available is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. For more information on the game, check out the official website, the official Twitter, and the official Facebook page.