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The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' - Destructoid




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The Evil Within  




The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror'

9:00 AM on 05.27.2014

How disappointing


All too often, survival horror titles perform poorly in some areas, but it's somehow acceptable because that's the trade-off for being survival horror. If the experience is tense and scary, it seems like everything else is forgivable. That's a very important "if" however, because if it doesn't deliver on the horror front, you're suddenly left with a game that just performs poorly.

After having almost two hours of hands-on time with The Evil Within, it's perilously close to falling into this category.

As a disclaimer of sorts, I was thrust into two levels at varying points of the story. Chapter 4 and Chapter 8 were the two sections shown, and both were ineffective at providing any scares, any true adrenaline-pumping moments, or really anything even noteworthy. For what it's worth, maybe I was missing the context of the previous parts of the game that might give others an overarching sense of fear. As isolated incidents, they were just dull.


It's a shame because The Evil Within does a fairly decent job at cultivating an atmosphere that lends itself to a survival horror game. The gritty filter over the visuals and the methodical music set up the pins. Nothing ever knocked them down.

Chapter 4 takes place in a hospice, and was an odd environment to get our first taste of the game. The level's set up to be somewhat open-ended, and the game did a poor job of giving direction as to what the current objective was and where it was necessary to go. After some wandering about and eventually putting a bullet in the head of an evil doctor, it funneled me back outside to three zombies wandering around a burning pile of wreckage. It was here that I died thrice, only to be returned to the start of the demo each and every time.

An annoyingly unpredictable checkpoint system would be a continuing theme of both slices of the demo we were shown. At one point in Chapter 8, there's a set piece that requires you shoot a not-so-obvious button before being pulled into two giant blades. Speaking with others attending the event, dying here negated approximately 20 minutes of progress; I was lucky enough to twitch to it my first time.

Going back to the scene in Chapter 4 with the undead around the fire, despite being entirely avoidable (to my immense ire upon finding out), it served as a good training grounds to how The Evil Within's combat works. Gunplay is typically the way to go, as melee attacks will just slow enemies down. However, there are some bigger weapons scattered about, such as hatchets, that will finish them off. Additionally, using a match to set fire to the body is the only way to ensure that they won't get back up. Being a survival horror game, there are limited resources, making the inclusion of a stealth kill incredibly valuable, as it uses nothing.

Trying to pick off these three zombies one-by-one proved to be incredibly frustrating. There was no clear indicator of what made enemies detect you. Sometimes I'd crouch in the shadows and bushes, patiently waiting for one to turn around on his path when it'd see me out of nowhere and come lumbering toward me. Other times, I'd be brazenly attacking one in front of another, but it wouldn't react at all.

To compound issues, at no point did anything control well. Running around was a chore, especially navigating the game's many hallways and doors. Shooting was unimpressive, as the aiming reticule never felt like it moved fluidly. It's never fun to wrestle with a game's controls, but it can be overlooked under the right circumstances. The Evil Within didn't fit this criteria.

By the time I progressed through the level and was mysteriously dropped into a sewer full of blood, I had gotten a feel for the tricks up The Evil Within's sleeve. It's one-third jump scares, one-third paranormal uneasiness, and one-third disturbing visuals. But, it's zero parts scary. As some monster lady summoned about 15 zombies in the area with all the grace of PlayStation 2 graphics, I was not at all concerned about the supposedly terrifying prospect of being that outnumbered, but entirely dreading fighting that many enemies using that shoddy combat system.

Chapter 8 fared a bit better because it had the benefit of multiple paths to take, but each one necessary to the completion of the level. Enemies came in smaller numbers, and everything was just generally more manageable. However, an apparition named Ruvik would appear on occasion, and if she touched you, she'd knock you down to just a sliver of health. I generally just ignored her when she showed up, as I thought these bits were scripted. It turns out these were random encounters. Another person told me that she spawned when he was in a tiny room with another enemy, unfairly leading to an inevitable death -- a death that set him back 15 minutes. It's bad enough replaying extended sections of a game; having to do that when it's not fun is just downright miserable.

We're at a point where I honestly don't know what can be done to salvage The Evil Within. It's commonly known that at preview events, publishers try to put their best foot forward and show the most impressive parts of their game. If this is the best that The Evil Within has to offer, I can't see how it doesn't flatline. Maybe the benefit of being told the story in its entirety can be the saving grace, but that's a puncher's chance. Otherwise, it's looking like it'll be entirely forgettable.

The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo
The Evil Within seems like it forgot the 'horror' in 'pure survival horror' photo




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Try not to think about cantaloupe while playing The Evil Within photo


Rejoice, Europeans as you get to experience The Evil Within early photo


The Evil Within rocks some recognizable voice talent in this new trailer photo


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Setting children on fire will get you an M rating, apparently photo


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The Evil Within Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







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timeline following:
The Evil Within



10:45 AM on 09.29.2014
The Evil Within has gone gold so let us hack up some bodies

I'm good and ready to jump into The Evil Within. So ready. The game has gone gold across all platforms, says Bethesda. That means that we're on track for the October 14 release of Shinji Mikami's latest survival horror, brin...more



2:30 PM on 09.25.2014
Make sure to set aside a whole lot of hard drive space for The Evil Within

The Evil Within players might experience something slightly terrifying before ever booting up the game -- the amount of hard drive space that Shinji Mikami's latest creation takes up. Bethesda just released the system re...more



3:00 PM on 09.17.2014
Watch Sebastian stumble around a lot in this Evil Within trailer out of TGS 2014

We're marching ever closer to the release of The Evil Within, which is headed to a retailer near you October 14. Bethesda's latest horror IP is shown off in the latest trailer here, straight out of TGS 2014. If you've been t...more



1:30 PM on 09.10.2014
Try not to think about cantaloupe while playing The Evil Within

I get such a kick out of seeing how things are made, especially when the people making said things are having a blast. This behind-the-scenes footage for The Evil Within is exactly what I'm talking about. We're given a glimp...more



2:00 PM on 09.03.2014
Rejoice, Europeans as you get to experience The Evil Within early

As someone living in the UK, it's super frustrating to see notifications pop up on a console or Steam showing my North American friends playing new releases when I usually have to wait a few more days to get my hands on the s...more



4:41 AM on 08.26.2014
The Evil Within rocks some recognizable voice talent in this new trailer

Ever wanted Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley to taunt you? Now you can with Haley lending his voice as The Evil Within's main antagonist, Ruvik. But he's not the only recognizable celebrity to have climbed aboard The Evil Withi...more



6:30 PM on 08.18.2014
There's plenty of death in this hour-long The Evil Within video

Based on this hour-long play session of The Evil Within, I'm not expecting to be particularly scared by the game, but I am expecting to die quite a few times. Given its limited checkpoints, the fear of failure and having to ...more



8:43 AM on 08.13.2014
The Evil Within Season Pass announced, will cost $19.99

Bethesda has just given Destructoid word of a Season Pass for The Evil Within, which will cover three add-ons for the game -- it's priced at $19.99. The first DLC will involve The Keeper, which is said to be a "sadistic" coll...more



3:00 PM on 08.11.2014
Setting children on fire will get you an M rating, apparently

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the ESRB has given Tango Gameworks' upcoming survival horror title The Evil Within a Mature rating. Content descriptors include Blood, Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Languag...more



9:00 PM on 07.30.2014
Which of these alternate The Evil Within covers do you like best?

I tend to prefer alternate game cover art over the "real" thing and The Evil Within is no exception. Publisher Bethesda has three covers for us to vote on and whichever piece wins will be used on the inside sleeve for the lau...more




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1:00 PM on 09.29.2014
Horror title Noct reaches its Kickstarter funding goal, Greenlit on Steam

Noct, a 2D top-down multiplayer survival horror game that blends arcade combat with RPG survival elements has recently met and exceeded its Kickstarter funding goal of $20,000 CAD and has been Greenlit on Steam. The game's b...more



10:45 AM on 09.29.2014
The Evil Within has gone gold so let us hack up some bodies

I'm good and ready to jump into The Evil Within. So ready. The game has gone gold across all platforms, says Bethesda. That means that we're on track for the October 14 release of Shinji Mikami's latest survival horror, brin...more



2:30 PM on 09.28.2014
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