In 1996 Shinji Mikami changed video games as I knew them. Up until that point – games had made me laugh, smile, throw my control down in rage, etc – but they had never scared me. As a kid that grew up watching some seriously demented stuff – I couldn’t see it happening. Then came Resident Evil. I’ll never forget popping that disc in the Sega Saturn and seeing that first zombie sllloooooowly turn around. Spooky stuff.

Unfortunately, over the years that followed. Resident Evil became an automatic rifle toting – disjoined mess. After the 4th installment, most had given up on the franchise. This wasn’t just happening to Resident Evil. It seemed as if all of the Survival Horror games that RE helped create were following suit. If you wanted to play a scary game…you had better like fast action,guns, and explosions.

It’s no surprise why horror fans were excited to hear that Mikami was going to return to the Survival Horror genre with a brand new title. The Evil Within. Shortly after being announced, an unusual live action trailer was released and….. holy shit. I thought that if the game could capture a QUARTER of what the trailer teased, then we would be in for a treat.

Well horror fans – prepare to be treated!

Graphics

I’m not going to lie. The Evil Within had me really worried. Within the first 5 minutes my jaw was left on the ground due to an extremely poor opening cut scene. Textures were awful. Sound was glitching out. My heart sank. Fortunately, those issues only seemed to happen on a few cut scenes. Whats even more interesting is that the actual gameplay graphics are far superior. Make no mistake about it. The Evil Within is a pretty game. Though perhaps “pretty” is the wrong word. Locked in a 16:9 ratio with tons of film grain – The Evil Within feels quite cinematic.  It’s an immersive experience that really adds to the horror elements. After all, isn’t that what we’re all here for?

There are plenty of texture popping on the 360 version – I hope those aren’t a problem on current gen consoles. Overall, I was impressed more often than I was disappointed.

Gameplay

The Evil Within feels like Resident Evil, and in the best possible way. Movement is somewhat slow and methodical. Firing your weapon takes time, and your ability to sprint is greatly limited. All of these things may be cause for alarm in other genres , but they are what have been missing from Survival Horror games for so long. You are not invincible, and resources are somewhat scarce. It is often a better idea to simply leave a bad situation than it is to fight your way out of it. Otherwise you may find yourself out of ammo when you really need it. This happened to me more than once, and while I was initially frustrated – I realized that’s exactly what I have been wanting. It also helps that there are checkpoints at logical times in a chapter.

The upgrade system reminded me of Dead Space in presentation. Other than that –  it’s pretty straight forward. Even when your levels are maxed out, you won’t be running through enemies left and right. It’s simply not that type of game. In my opinion – it’s far better.

Story

I’ll go ahead and say it. I didn’t know what the hell was going on for the vast majority of the game, but neither did the characters. Being confused is part of the ride. At the end of almost every chapter there was something not unlike a classic boss fight. Usually featuring one of the terrifying figures from the live action trailer mentioned above. These are intense. I would usually be forced to take a break after finishing a chapter. I’m not saying that it’s scary exactly. Just intense, and yeah – some of the imagery is pretty damn scary too. What’s important is that I cared about what was coming in the next chapter. There was just enough mystery to keep me interested.

Spread the word:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •