Saturday, 18 October 2014

A New Generation of Horror - The Evil Within Review

Review by Jack Sutton

The Evil Within had big promises to live up to, boasting about being one of the scariest games to be released in years. With beautiful visuals, responsive gameplay and some truly terrifying moments, this title does not disappoint. This is a game that’s full of atmosphere, excitement, and entertainment around every turn.

Directed by Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind greats such as Resident Evil 4 and Vanquish, The The Evil Within is a third-person survival horror game based around Sebastian Castellanos, a detective investigating a mysterious mass murder in a creepy village. During the investigation, Sebastian is knocked unconscious and his team are slaughtered by a strange force. When he wakes up, he realises that he isn’t in Kansas anymore.

From here, the player must navigate their way through this twisted world populated by hideous creatures, and learn to manage their resources if they are to survive. Ammunition and healing objects are scarce, so players must scavenge to find what they can, and know when to fight, and when to run.

Also dotted around the world is the “green goo”. The game’s currency. Collect this, and at certain points throughout the game, you can upgrade your weapons and capacities. This currency is limited though, so you’ll have to make decisions about how you want to play. Do you want faster reloads or more health? Do you want to be able to carry more ammo or more health packs? These decisions, and the knowledge that the wrong decision could seriously bite you in the ass later on adds an extra layer of tension to the experience.

Of course, even without this, The Evil Within is terrifying as it is. Enemies can crawl out of the walls and floor at any point, and increasingly imaginative and gruesome creatures block your path. Throughout the game’s fifteen chapters, I never once felt safe, aside from the extremely rare safe zones. I haven’t felt a sense of trepidation and caution when moving through a new area since the first Dark Souls, and like Dark Souls, you will die. A lot.

Dying is a learning experience in The Evil Within. Each time you’re killed, you learn from what killed you, and before too long you know where to run, where to fight, and where to dodge. Just be prepared for the horrifying death animations in store for you. You’ll be skewered by booby traps, ripped apart by monsters, and generally slaughtered in some of the most brutal ways imaginable, by some truly grisly enemies.

Inspiration has clearly been taken from the Resident Evil franchise, in this respect. Some enemies you face bear a striking resemblance to characters from Resident Evil. For example, The Keeper is remarkably similar to the Executioner, don’t you think?

This isn’t a particularly bad thing though. The locations and creatures are presented in such a visually striking way, that any resemblance to past characters can be overlooked. The Evil Within is a beautiful, yet horrifying world, populated by beautiful but horrifying creatures. There were many times that I just wanted to stop and stare at the beautiful environments around me, or gape as creatures contorted themselves before my eyes.

It’s not all in the visual though. The Evil Within has gloriously satisfying gameplay to boot, offering up a mix of third-person action, with survival horror. Mikami nailed this before with Resident Evil 4, and has struck gold again here. It can hardly be called a shooter though, as ammunition is incredibly rare, forcing you to get up close and personal with your enemies – although to be fair I just ran away.

The Evil Within is terrifying, brutal, satisfying and at times, downright beautiful. A few minor setbacks – such as the cliché story, or the lifeless protagonist – can be easily overlooked by the game’s high points. This is undoubtedly one of the best games to grace the PS4 yet, and definitely worth every penny you’ll spend. Just don’t play it alone…

No comments:

Post a Comment