The Evil Within has been out for over a week now, giving this reviewer more than enough time to delve into the horrors it bears – over 30 to be precise.
Horror games aren’t my favourite genre if I’m honest, though not because I dislike the genre in general, but more because I’m a big scaredy pants who can’t even play Splinter Cell in the dark, nevermind The Evil Within.
Still, I managed to get into it and found myself pleasantly surprised at how much fun I actually had with it. Read on for the full The Evil Within review.
The story isn’t the strongest aspect of The Evil Within, in fact, I’m compelled to state that it’s the weakest. You play though as veteran detective Sebastian Castellanos, a man who somehow seems able to remain calm when all hell is breaking loose.
You’re set loose within Beacon Metal Hospital to investigate what would appear to be a double homicide, but as you may have guessed, things aren’t what they seem at the loony bin.
It’s not the best story in the world, but it’s far from awful and still manages to intrigue, shock and compel you to play on, even after dying for the umpteenth time. Yeah, you die quite often within this tale of horror and it does get tedious at times, but it’s all part of the fun, even if it does pull you away from the marvellously created world that the game is trying to make you believe in.
As far as horror games go, it’s a fair effort but nothing to write home about. The characters are all a bit two-dimensional with no real traits for players to latch onto and enjoy. Sebastian is as mundane as protagonists get and you’ll feel no remorse in seeing him get mangled to death a few times. Seriously, the guy is a machine. He doesn’t seem to be scared of what’s going on, sure he acknowledges the situation is dire at times but you’d never know it from his dialogue – as wooden a marionette.
The 15 chapters that the game is broken into serve to tell a little bit more of the story and offer up clues as to what is really doing down at Beacon Mental Hospital, but it’s the ending chapter that really lets the game down as a whole. With no satisfying ending I did feel a little cheated, though the ride was fun.
This is what really makes a game. The story can be average and the graphics can be crap, but if it’s fun to play then the former don’t matter so much. Thankfully that’s the case with The Evil Within – the big focus is on gameplay..
The tense and atmospheric settings aid the game no doubt, but being thrust into the mayhem of it all forces you to think on your feet when it all turns to poop.
Enemies are frequent and frightful, though thankfully for this wussy they weren’t too scary to fight off. The real fear comes from wandering the halls; the creaks and groans of the old hospital evoke fear as you quickly turn to face not a foe, but your own shadow – this time.
The enemies aren’t too easy to kill either, with many requiring you to do them in a couple of times and burn them with fire, making them dead, dead, dead. Then there are the bosses, which for me felt a little too drawn out and unnecessary. Boss fights work well in certain games, but I’m not sure that psychological thrillers really have a place for such long-winded exercises in repetition. They just feel awkward and put in there as a cheap thrill, something that goes against the very nature of the genre. That said, a couple of the encounters did go against the norm and the game would have benefited from having just the select few in there.
Unfortunately, not all is well with The Evil Within. Combat is clunky to say the least. I died most of my gruesome deaths due to the poor controls not doing what my thumbs and fingers demanded of them, resulting in a few thrown controllers and righteous swearing. When it works it works well, with guns giving off the feeling of undead murdering grandeur that we all find super-satisfying.
There’s also a simple upgrade system that allows you to enhance your selection of weapons. It’s hardly groundbreaking but it does give you a reason to collect the green goo that you find scattered around the game. It works well and serves its purpose, nothing more, nothing less.