After One Hour:
The Evil Within seems to be incredibly well put together. It’s more stealth based than I would like, but the controls make it easier for me to adjust to. They don’t seem to be able to decide between an over-the-shoulder view and a third-person view, so your character takes up too much of the screen, which makes sneaking in tall grass incredibly frustrating.
The plot? I’m totally lost. You start as a police officer investigating a mental hospital or something where a bunch of people died. Try to sneak out and get chased around the building a bit, Clock Tower/Outlast style. Once you escape there’s an earthquake seemingly for no reason. Your vehicle and companions escape the city then crash. You wake up in a hospital, where a creepy nurse augments you in what looks like a primitive electric chair. You phase through a mirror or something and end up in some primitive village with possessed/evil/zombie-wannabe things who obviously want to kill you. Now I’m just running around, avoiding/disarming traps, trying to kill and stealth around the enemies, and trying not to get lost. This game reminds me a lot of Siren, only much more playable and without the Sight-Jacking.
NoteAt the time of writing this review, I have not played any of the DLC. I will likely buy and cover it at a later date.
Full ReviewI think the development of this game went a little like this: “Resident Evil 5 strayed from the path that Resident Evil 4 had lain out. Let’s make this the spiritual successor to RE4.” This part I’m certain about. The next is just speculation.
“Hey, let’s also incorporate elements from every survival horror game that ever got a sequel!”
Now, beyond all these initial gripes, I did still enjoy my time with it. Heck, at some point I’d like to go through a New Game Plus. I’ll know that their stealth mechanics are a lie except for disarming traps. I’ll know about the constant cheap deaths that just make me laugh and say, “This is f***ing stupid.” I’ll know that the bosses were developed to be annoying and frustrating as opposed to scary. Had I known all this before I played, the game would have been so much better.
Frankly, I didn’t find this game scary at all. A friend of mine played The Stanley Parable on my laptop, then watched me playing this. She said she was much more terrified by the The Stanley Parable. Sad.
Okay, critiquing the gameplay time.
The over-the-shoulder camera is a fine idea, although Within does it poorly. The main character, Sebastian, takes up far too much real-estate on the screen (even when turning letterbox off) making enemies difficult to see, impossible to sneak up on, and ruining the hard work they put into their fancy blood textures.
Enemy interaction needed more work. Stealth does not work mostly because the camera makes enemies hard to see/avoid, but also the bottles used to distract simply don’t work. Punching them has little to no effect, which is illogical when they intend for you to use resource management. So there would be some good melee weapons if you need to conserve ammo, right? Kinda. Both hatchets and torches appear somewhat regularly in the beginning, and while they’re both incredibly powerful weapons, they’re also SINGLE USE. Which is bull crap. Complete and utter bull crap. The ranged weapons are of a wide variety and most of them were all pretty useful, especially the custom bolts for the crossbow. So, The Evil Within becomes just another horror-themed action-shooter, when it could have been something great.
The character customization was fairly well done, even if most of the upgrades don’t make much of a difference. Breaking the hidden collectable statues to get keys for extra supplies was pretty neat and useful, possibly one of my favorite things in the game. Also, the doors open both directions and close automatically. Both are pet peeves of mine.
Overall, I do recommend this game, so long as you know what you’re getting into beforehand. The bosses are cheap and constantly respawn, the end sticks you in overcrowded kill-rooms with a ridiculous number of cheap kills, resource management is key, and you need to be good at headshots. Very good at headshots.
Verdict – Rent
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