The Evil Within is the first game by developer Tango Gameworks, a Japan-based video game developer started up by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami.
Now let me get something out of the way. I am not a Resident Evil fan. I absolutely enjoy the survival horror genre, but I have never played the original Resident Evil. At the Gamestop Expo i got the chance to sit down and play The Evil Within.
The Evil Within is a game that I was very excited to get a chance to play. I think the horror genre is great and really does not get enough love in video games today. I must admit though, I walked away thoroughly unimpressed. A lot of very popular survival horror games (such as Resident Evil) try to give you somewhat clunky gameplay to help build tension when things really get going. They don’t want you to seem as if you’re an expert with weapons and guns. They want you to seem more like the everyday man in a terrible situation. This is the approach that The Evil Within is trying to go for. Now it’s not an easy thing to pull off because if it becomes too clunky the gameplay can become frustrating. It is a balancing act that can go very wrong very quickly, and the minute I encountered an enemy in this game everything went wrong.
Now, before I continue with that lets backtrack for a minute.
When the demo started, I noticed that the game graphically was not very aesthetically pleasing. It looked very grainy (I understand that is the look they are going for), and it just did not look like something I should be playing on an Xbox One in 2014. I started this demo outside of a creepy mansion and I decided to take it slow. So I used the sneak/crouch button to slowly investigate, and enter the mansion. Once inside the mansion I decided to head upstairs first, but not much was going on up there so I headed down to explore the other rooms on the first floor.
By this time I had stopped sneaking around and decided to just walk. I entered the room to the left when my first enemy darted at me. Since ammo was supposed to be very scarce in this game I had my pistol equipped because I wanted to save all the ammo I could for my shotgun. Trying to plant a head shot to conserve ammo on this creature proved to be completely useless. He was way too fast, and I was battling a terrible set of shooting mechanics. I immediately felt at odds with the gun play, but I wasn’t going to quit after only one attempt. So I attempted it again, but this time I took the easy way out and used the shotgun and moved on.
After some more exploring of this disgusting mansion it had occurred to me. This game was not scary, it was just meant to gross you out with tons of blood and gore. It had me sticking needles in dead brains to extract blood, and walking down bloodied hallways, but i never felt scared. I wanted to be scared that is why I play survival horror games.
I was still determined to finish the demo though. I wanted to give it a fair chance because I wanted to love this game. So as I headed out back into the main room in this mansion I opened a door and an enemy comes running at me. I quickly try to take him down with my pistol only to run into the same problems i had encountered earlier. I attempted this part four times, continually trying to kill him with a head shot to conserve my ammo, but the clunky gameplay did not want to make this easy on me. At this point i was done. I set the controller down and walked off.
I wish I could tell you I had fun with this demo, but I didn’t. Part of me is still holding out that the actual game is really good and that maybe it was just a poor demo. I really hope that is the case for this game’s sake.
The Evil Within is set to hit store shelves on October 14th 2014 on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.