If the survival horror genre is to be believed, all mental asylums are grim, filthy, terrifying holes of torture and despair (or destined to eventually become them), and all the patients are maniacs that run around gibbering and violently attacking anyone that crosses their path. If survival horror fans were ever to be taken on a tour of a real mental hospital, we’d probably feel very let down by the lack of severed limbs and free-roaming psychopaths.
Following hot on the heels of the bloody mystery of Outlast and Thief‘s Moira Asylum mission comes The Evil Within, a new third-person survival horror game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami. The game’s protagonist is Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who is sent to Beacon Mental Hospital following a violent altercation between the asylum’s residents and a group of police officers. Upon arriving however, Sebastian is stripped of his weapons and must use stealth and whatever resources he can scrounge to survive.
The Evil Within has been touted as the return of the survival horror genre, but in truth the genre never really went away. Despite being largely abandoned by AAA game developers, survival horror games continued to be produced by indie studios and more recently have been popularized through YouTube videos showing players’ reactions to games like Outlast and Slender. Using this as a hopeful recipe for success, Sony has released a video showing an array of gasps, jumps and groans from test subjects at Bethesda Softworks’ playtest lab.
This video was accompanied by two pieces of news and a brand new set of screenshots. The first piece of news is that gamers will have to wait two additional months before getting their hands on The Evil Within, as the release has now been pushed back to October. The second is that those who pre-order the game will also receive the Fighting Chance Pack. This includes:
- Medical Kit — A vital health enhancement to enable Sebastian to fight on.
- Green Gel — Used to upgrade Sebastian’s attributes.
- Double Barrel Shotgun and Three Shells — A larger and more formidable shotgun than the regular shotgun, it’s useful for tight situations with multiple encroaching enemies.
- An Incendiary Agony Bolt — Capable of showering nearby enemies with damaging fire sparks.
- A Poison Agony Bolt — Will draw enemies towards it and poison them, allowing Sebastian time for a quick escape.
Check out the new screenshots from The Evil Within below (via HITC).
The Fighting Chance Pack doesn’t sound like it contains too much to get excited about; scarcity of ammo and health packs is arguably a staple of survival horror so providing the player with extra gear to make the game easier seems like it would detract from the experience rather than add to it.
The screenshots give a good look at the regular enemies of The Evil Within, but the monstrosities from the original reveal trailer aren’t shown and possibly are not in the game. Instead they look like fairly standard zombie types, with the exception of the character model with a spike driven through its head – it looks like headshots may not be an easy solution this time round. If anything they’re quite reminiscent of the Splicers from BioShock, with their various mutations, disfigurements and tumors.
The graphic detail is far from the best that we’ve seen for the new generation of consoles, but horror games have never really held prettiness as a priority. The more concerning detail is that two of the character models recur in the screenshots, suggesting that there may not be too much enemy variety when it comes to The Evil Within‘s basic goons.
That aside, The Evil Within has had some positive early previews and we’re definitely looking forward to the first title from Tango Gameworks.
The Evil Within releases October 21, 2014, for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.