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Daily E3 Recap – Evil Within

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm by Stephen Janes

One of the earliest experiences I have playing survival horror video games is getting the chance to play the original Resident Evil on the PlayStation One. That game single handedly changed the way horror was depicted in a video game thanks to director Shinji Mikami and his idea on how to make a survival horror game scary and entertaining. The Resident Evil franchise has evolved into a more action oriented series which has done well financially but leaving classic fans wanting to return to their horror roots.

Evil Within looks to bring back the vintage survival horror elements to the new age. The player character has a limited supply to work with, no real pause screen, little in-game direction and a lot of dark grainy hallways. Evil Within tries to incorporate the best of various Resident Evil games such as the over-the-shoulder camera angle and, “what the hell did I just see?!” moments, but it falls short in a few areas.

Corpses, blood, random noises and other semi-cheap scare tactics flood this game.

It is made very clear that resources are at a minimum so you must be mindful of your inventory. The zombie like figures you face in game don’t go down on a headshot, so the player needs to be alert and ready to either run away or defend themselves with a melee strike. These characters also like to “play dead” and can sometimes jump up and attack you. To prevent this, you must burn them with matches, which of course, are in short supply. In fact, attacking anything is usually a bad idea as you don’t want to attract a crowd and waste any resources you have accumulated.

Stealth is a pretty big element in Evil Within. As mentioned previously, you need to be crouching and sliding around in order to avoid confrontation and certain death. You also need to be on your toes at all times as hidden traps and explosives tend to show up when you least expect it. You can avoid the traps completely or configure them to go off when an enemy gets too close. I felt the traps were too scripted, however, as they showed up when you pretty much expected them and didn’t provide any tense or scared moments as you would expect.

The “guns blazing” technique is rarely useful. Sneaking around and being discreet is a safer option.

Evil Within throws a lot of corpses and rickety noises throughout the level to keep the gamer on edge but it fails to deliver a true horror experience. Everywhere I went I was able to easily predict where an enemy would appear or what a cut scene would lead me to. For example, walking into a dark room and picking up an important item would spawn a flood of enemies in the hallway next to you. Not exactly worth jumping out of your seat but it wasn’t boring, either. I was always done in by some ghost in a white robe who looked way too generic for my taste, but definitely added a tense moment when every bullet I sent his way transpired right through him.

I was very excited to play Evil Within but left pretty underwhelmed. I was euphoric with the idea that horror survival was going back to its roots and was able to see hints of that here and there, but never jumped out of my seat with scare tactics. The brief time I spent with Alien Isolation made me nearly jump out of the show floor with fear and terror, while Evil Within didn’t provide that same experience. Graphics are never a major selling point for me but this game just had some weird look to it. I keep mentioning grainy and blurry looks, almost like you were using an old camera that needed to be serviced. I think some people might find this game entertaining, but I have trouble remember I even played this game sometimes.

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