The Evil Within

Survival game with horrific scenes by the creator of Resident Evil

7.1

92 Votes

  • Category Adventure
  • License Full version
  • Version 1.0
  • Works under Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7
  • Language English
  • Program by Bethesda Softworks

Psychological horror directed by the creator of Resident Evil.

Taking inspiration from some of the best titles in the genre, as well as from Japanese cinema, The Evil Within is a survival horror game, with a strong psychological focus. It was developed by Tango Gameworks and directed by Shinji Mikami; the man responsible for creating the Resident Evil franchise.

Despite borrowing elements from other games, Mikami believed the survival horror genre had become predicable and stale, with too much focus on action. For this reason, he wanted The Evil Within to make the player feel powerless, promoting survival and stealth over direct combat. So does the game succeed in its mission?

Gameplay

During the game, the player is in control of Sebastian Castellanos, a police detective investigating an apparent mass murder at a mental hospital. While there, he becomes drawn into a terrifying and distorted world, which blurs the line between reality and fantasy and sees him battle various enemies in order to get to the bottom of events.

Gameplay itself takes place from a third-person perspective and is divided into chapters. In keeping with the idea of prioritising survival, ammunition is limited and it is often preferable to run away or hide, rather than engage opponents. Sebastian himself is resourceful, but slow and vulnerable, which adds to the tension. Nonetheless, there are several weapons in the game, including a revolver, a knife, a shotgun and a crossbow.

Presentation

Visually, the game does a good job of building the atmosphere, with great audio and a lack of light helping to create surprises and scares. Environments are detailed, but the graphics are let down slightly by poor character models. Meanwhile, camera angles can often be frustrating, especially when it comes to aiming certain weapons.

Strangely, the developers have opted for a 2.5:1 aspect ratio, resulting in a large amount of unused screen space, with black bars at the top and bottom. However, in fairness to Tango Gameworks, a patch has been released to allow players to enjoy the game in full screen, which is a welcome fix to an unnecessary problem.

In conclusion, The Evil Within has some nice gameplay elements, with a strong focus on survival. Yet, while it succeeds in building a genuinely tense atmosphere, it is let down slightly by a few presentation and technical issues. Despite being an enjoyable experience, it falls some way short of Shinji Mikami's lofty aims for the project.

Pros

  • Places a strong emphasis on survival, rather than combat
  • Lighting and audio help to create a great atmosphere
  • Plenty of gennuinely scary moments

Cons

  • Camera angles are often annoying
  • The aspect ratio leaves too much empty screen space
  • Character models could be better
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