Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Evil Within

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

9:00 AM on 05.27.2014 // Brett Makedonski

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.

Photo Gallery: (12 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Brett Makedonski, Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Donski3 Tips
While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby... ... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
The Evil Within

  Oct 15

Review: The Evil Within

I'd prefer a little more evil

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th October - Leighapalooza

Context Matters! Fanservice's Secrets EXPOSED!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

Cblogs of 11/24/15 + Big Ass Fort

Primal Carnage: Extinction Review (PS4)

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Boy howdy, does Divinity: Original Sin take a while to get going. But, it was worth it in the end. Probably the most hardcore RPG I've played. Stellar writing, at that! Combat's pretty amazing too. [img][/img]
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
So it seems I've locked into the Neutral ending for SMT IV and now I need to find specific challenge quests and complete them...? How (un)fun! Google is your friend - the videogame.
Riobux avatarRiobux
Interested in playing some Pathfinder? Trying to arrange a Dtoid Pathfinder group for Saturday nights (GMT) on Skype & Roll 20. If you're new to pen-and-paper RPGs, I don't mind at all and can bring you up to speed quick. Just comment if interested.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Local convention had a great selection of game soundtracks 5 for $20! I got Halo 3: ODST (2 disk!), Gears of War 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Darksiders 2 (2 disk!), and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Some of the best soundtracks of the last 7 years!
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Photos and videos are back on quickposts but clipping on some devices. We're going to add a new quickpost editing interface so photos and videos can only be displayed one way (a la twitter) to solve this. Also, a My cBlog link was added to your user menu
Flegma avatarFlegma
Machine-washed my Wii Fit meter yesterday by accident. Took the battery out and let it dry for the night. Luckily the meter still worked - but it had counted a fair number of steps more that day.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Finally killed Ludwig, now if I could only get passed the 2 hunters on the second floor. that 2 some is rather annoying,and her holy blade kills in only a few hits. wish mine was that strong.
Casus Gaming avatarCasus Gaming
After reading a blog post about DMC4 I decided to watch all the cutscenes on Youtube. Tried the games years ago and couldn't get into them, but man that shit was stylish. Likeable protagonists, intense drama... still think DmC reboot wasn't that bad tho.
lewness avatarlewness
me on 1st ff14 raid (void ark): ooh so many people and lights, so many lights, lights, fuck I can't see, what is happening, i don't understand, is it tuesday already, get on the platform fuuuuck, wow void helm
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just a reminder that you have until the 30th to get your Bloggers Wanted post, "Thankful it's over" in. I'm either going to tell you how I ruined my best online gaming experience or rip Twilight Princess a new one. Maybe both.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Huh. I just found out the developers of Hatred (remember that controversy?) region-locked their game to prevent it from being accessed by Australians. Destructive Creations are more censor-happy than Nintendo, it seems. Where's the outrage?
Oh yeah, I have an account on this site.
Parismio avatarParismio
Ever wanted to get that item behind that safe in the beginning of Fallout 4?:
Shinta avatarShinta
Got Resident Evil 4 Wii for $5. Uh ... this might be my favorite version. I'm just getting headshots nonstop. Did I miss any other Wii games that are frequently overlooked? Like, really obscure Wii games that no one talks about? I'm interested.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Poeple due not aprecciate teh hrdships of bein a squid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -