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E3 2014 Hands On: The Evil Within

E3 2014 Hands On: The Evil Within

The Evil Within

While At E3 I Got To See The Evil Within In A More Intimate Setting Than Just The Trailer. Here’s My Take On It

Here is yet another title that I have been dying for and am going to have a fun V-day with The Evil Within. It was on the floor here as a playable demo, the first time I’ve had a chance to actually get my mitts on the game; all in a nice and creepy setting to boot. Just the way a game like this needs to be played. I only wish Bethesda would let me take home some of the decor to place up in my god-cave so I can replay the same experience. But you don’t want to hear this; you want to know how The Evil Within actually played.

In the interest of disclosure there were two demo levels to be played. One that showed off the combat and action scenes of The Evil Within (the stuff we’ve seen in all the trailers to date) and another that showed off the puzzles, problem solving and the horror of the game. Obviously I wanted to play the portion that showed of what a horror game should be the fluffy bunny level. I kid. I of course played the high horror version so if my experience sounds different than others, now you know why.

The whole demo started off with the main character walking up to a creepy mansion, kind of like Resident Evil. He opens the door into the mansion and is met with a huge entry way with stairs leading up to a second floor and doors leading to other areas, like Resident Evil. In the middle was a huge door that required a special “key” to open so you can catch up to some crazy doctor, like Resident Evil. You see a theme here? Yes, the level design for this section looks almost like a re-purposing of the assets from Resident Evil. The guy who made RE is making The Evil Within so I guess that is ok…it just didn’t feel 100% new is what I am getting at.

Looking past the similarities between The Evil Within and the other IPs let us move into the tension and everything else. The audio for this portion of the game kept everything feeling eerie and like something was about to lurch forward at any time. Even though I only encountered two real enemies the entire demo play I could have sworn that there were many more hiding or lurking; all biding their time for me to drop my guard. This completely added to the dread of walking around with limited ammo but a metric butt ton of matches. Those can be used to burn and fully remove enemies that could be lying in wait to attack.

It really looks like The Evil Within is ready to completely immerse us in a psychological horror but it also has elements for the gore as well. In fact, in RE style, one of the puzzles I had to solve was how to open a locked door with a lock that had the most bizarre key. I had to drill into the brains of severed heads to fill vials of blood to unlock everything for one. I have a feeling that this was the part of the demo that caused all those near-to-vomiting states in the last video put out for The Evil Within. The time to freak out and disturb has been taken from the team and it is insanely visible from what I played.

Where The Evil Within does seem to skew off the survival horror aspect is in the way of limiting the resources. When I first began play I had only a few bullets for one gun and was informed to conserve and think before firing. Then shortly after I entered the grounds of the level I was able to find a plethora of ammo and gear all over the place. Almost like the stereotypical “get ready for the boss fight” areas in most other games so you can be sure to run in fully armed and with full health. There was no boss and if I wasn’t trying to get a feel for the horror I would have gone guns-a-blazing on the two enemies that I ran into.

This could have been something set up for the demo specifically as I am sure that Bethesda and Tango Gameworks wanted everyone to at least make it a decent way into the demo before being killed. Somewhat of a fighting chance for those who are not seasoned players like most of us. That is at least the hope as the presentation before the demo for The Evil Within stated that on any mode higher than the “normal” mode removed a lot of the HUD and other things in the game. Hopefully all of the gear that we were flooded with here. Then it would feel more like a survival horror and not an action horror.

None the less, I was still impressed with The Evil Within and only wish it had not been pushed back until October 21st. I was hoping to let the evil in during August but I guess it is things like my gripes above that may be getting the polish done to make The Evil Within the great comeback to the horror world that Shinji Mikami is trying to achieve. I’d say we are at 89% there based on the demo even though it was just a short bit of a level later in the game.

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