A face wrapped in barbed wire on the cover is always going to be a sure sign that this is going to be a bloody, freaky, not for kids kind of game. And The Evil Within sure does deliver on all those prerequisites. Even with all the stereotypical locations and generic people-who-want-you-dead, The Evil Within seems fresh and new with several interesting features that lift it above the level of a Resident Evil clone. So, lets enter the insane asylum and get chased by chainsaw wielding nutters! And on that, just where do you find a chainsaw in a hospital?!?!?
As you would expect with Shinji Mikami, creator of the Resident Evil games, at the helm, there are some definite similarities to the king of survival horrors. Played in the third person, over the shoulder style you could be forgiven for thinking that you were playing the latest Resident Evil game. This isn’t a bad thing though, we all know how great Resident Evil 4 was, so anything working off that kind of pedigree has got the best start possible.
You hit the ground running as Police Detective Sebastian Castellanos. And along with your offsiders Julie Kidman and Joseph Oda are sent to investigate a mass murder at the local funny farm, Beacon Mental Hospital. Never a premise that is going to end in a surprise birthday party. On arrival all sorts of supernatural goings on will have you and your team in trouble and wondering just what is going on.
Weapons available to you are standard police issue revolver and shotgun, but to spice things up you find the Agony Crossbow for which you can make various types of projectiles. You also find a regular supply of grenades. Bit of a strange item to find in a hospital full of unstable people… Through the collection of a green substance found in jars and left behind by defeated enemies you can increase attributes, weapons, and inventory capacity. To do this you must return to a nurses station which is accessed via mirrors found in strategic places. This nurses station also has a save point and a morgue in which keys found can open individual doors revealing supplies. And true to the survival horror genre, supplies are scarce so make every round count.
The Evil Within isn’t the most vibrant game on the graphics front, lots of dark and dreary colour palettes as would be expected with the setting and locales visited. But it does look good, and only occasionally did I have a problem with camera angles. Although many of the enemies are generic horde-like killers, the bosses are great and I even found myself using the hide ability to watch them go about what ever gruesome task they were undertaking. Sound plays a large part in The Evil Within with many clues and warnings given, if you are paying attention. Considering your melee attack is really only to give you a bit of breathing space and not easily kill, any warning you can get is good. And remember to use your limited supply of matches on the downed crazies, it’s the only way they won’t be getting back up to have a second go at you.
The Evil Within is a solid game, not really high in the scare stakes, but definitely ticks the blood and guts box very well. It’s good to see a more diverse range of games hitting the latest generation of consoles and The Evil Within sets the bar pretty high for any survival horror games to follow. A bit of a shame that some good games are release with little of no fanfare, because of this many a gamer miss out on some great titles while the big boys grab all the media limelight. It might not be the longest game ever but it sure is a fun, blood splattered, ride while it lasts.