Welcome to our regular gameplay impressions and video post where we record our first 10-30 minutes with a new game, and provide some general impressions on that early playthrough. Today’s game is The Evil Within, which was directed by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami and developed by his new studio, Tango Gameworks.
The Evil Within charts the unhappy adventures of Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he sets out to explore a brutal mass murder and is transported to a grisly other world that’s controlled by a malevolent force. Our review of The Evil Within will be out later this week, but here are our first impressions for those who are eager to know what to expect from the game.
The first word that comes to mind when describing The Evil Within is “cinematic.” The HUD is stripped to a bare minimum, it’s impossible to turn a corner without being confronted with fresh lens flares and the in-game camera is frequently speckled with blood, water and other fluids. This goes hand-in-hand with the very linear, scripted feel of the level progression; there is little sense of being offered different approaches to tasks in the early stages of the game.
This strictly scripted approach is one of several elements that contribute to The Evil Within‘s distinct lack of scariness. There’s gore a-plenty and the first monster of the game is your usual friendly neighborhood chainsaw-wielding maniac, but being handcuffed to a particular path makes all this horror imagery about as scary as a fairground ghost train. Or – to be more accurate – about as scary as watching a video of someone on a fairground ghost train.
Story teases are offered in the form of notes that the player can pick up from around the hospital, but there’s a definite sense of deja vu in reading case files about nefarious experiments on the patients of Beacon Mental Hospital. Psychiatric institutes are a favorite setting for survival horror games and as such it feels like we’ve seen every possible iteration of The Evil Within‘s story many times before in games like Outlast, Thief: Deadly Shadows and the many entries in the Silent Hill franchise.
The reviews for The Evil Within so far have been less than enthused, but be sure to check out the Game Rant review later this week to find out our final thoughts on the game.
The Evil Within is out now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.