Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Release Date: 10/14/2014
Also Available On
Right out of the gate I have to say that this game is extremely difficult. It took me nearly a year to get through this game because of just how exhausting the game is to play through. Fifteen grueling chapters clocking in at about 15 hours. You play as a man named Sebastian who enters an asylum with two other detectives to find out why a massacre broke out there. You are then stuck in a bunch of nightmares, you’re chasing a boy named Leslie, and running from a man named Ruvik. That’s it — have a good night. The story makes zero sense, there’s no comprehension, and it’s very disorienting. You go from crazy room to crazy room, down hallways, and arenas, with no sense of why you’re doing this.
Apart from the insanely vague story, the game does give off an amazing sense of atmosphere. Creepy intestines hang from the walls, eyeballs float around on ceilings; enemies are some of the scariest stuff since Dead Space, but I have to say, the atmosphere is awesome. Unfortunately, that’s about all that The Evil Within has going for it despite trying to bring back the old-school survival horror vibe which it fails to do. This is done with a lot of stop-and-go cut scenes, endless hallways, and then you’re slammed with a bunch of action and no ammo — yeah it’s one of those.
This game wants to bring survival horror ammo scrounging to a game that has a lot of action, and this is very bad. It just doesn’t work, even if you are smart with your ammo, conserve, use melee when the option is available, it just doesn’t always work. The game is highly unbalanced with long stretches of nothing and then several arenas full of bad guys. Now there is a stealth element added in, but it fails most of the time. Enemy paths are random, they are placed poorly, it’s hard to get to them because the sneak animation is aggravatingly slow, and it doesn’t end there. The game is devoid of puzzles, meaning there is no challenge outside of combat. On top of all this gunplay itself isn’t very fun as the camera zooms too close to Sebastian’s shoulder making quick aim disorienting and difficult, animations are janky and can’t be interrupted, and it takes forever to level up your abilities and weapons — it actually requires a second playthrough.
I feel sometimes I’m too hard on the game, as it isn’t terrible, just extremely difficult and unpolished. The graphics are also something to be desired, they feel very dated, but have some nice lighting effects, however, the textures and models are all over the place; but nothing in here looks truly next-gen even on PC. I feel that this game is a little hard to explain as there’s so much going on and each area is completely different, that may be the only thing saving this game outside of the gruesome horror scenes and interesting boss fights. With no way to understand the story, players will try to latch on to other elements, but at the end of the day, you sit back and wonder if it was worth it.
Weapons in the game are your standard affair from a shotgun, revolver, sniper rifle (bolt action of course), rocket launcher, magnum, and crossbow. The crossbow is probably the most interesting gun in the game as you can create bolts from scraps you find by disarming traps, these become vital during boss fights and when you’re surrounded by bad guys. One interesting, yet unnecessary, element in the game is burning bodies with matches. If you have some you can do an instant kill by burning the body. This is useful against tougher enemies to save on ammo. There’s also your typical secrets to find, hidden keys, map pieces, etc — stuff that most people don’t care to collect.
Some players may appreciate the hardcore challenge, most will balk, but the game is worth a playthrough for the atmosphere and roller coaster ride of gore, guts, and weirdness. Be prepared for a nonsensical story, and extremely unbalanced difficulty. If you can stomach the unpolished gameplay then you could have a pretty entertaining experience.