I was sitting inside Bethesda’s booth at E3, ready to get a look at The Evil Within and actually let out an audible squeal when Shinji Mikami, the father of Resident Evil, came on to present the thing himself. So it may be that I watched the presentation with stars in my eyes – but what I saw, as a fan of the genre, had me pretty excited.
According to “Mikami, the game will offer a “pure survival horror experience ”without boring QTEs,” Mikami said via translator, adding that you’ll have to “use your wits and….erm….stealth kills”
Bethesda’s presentation for The Evil Within kicked off with an introduction to our hero, Sebastian Castellanos, a trench-coated detective, who’s been sent off to follow up on some mysterious events that have taken place in – where else? – a mental asylum. The law had previously been sent to the scene, but they’ve gone quiet, and their abandoned cars outside the asylum don’t bode well.
Inside, it’s even worse; corpses, covered in blood, litter the foyer. After making his way to the security room and viewing its monitors, Sebastian sees footage of a ghostly apparition slit the throats of three policemen in the asylum before vanishing. startled, Sebastian turns around – and of course the damn thing’s right behind him.
A fade-to-black later and we’re back in control of Sebastian, who wakes up, hanging upside down in some sort of grotesque butcher’s lair, strewn with the dead. Johan Sebastian Bach’s “Air on the G-String,” plays on an old record player, unsettling, juxtaposed against the horror of a hulking monster carving through human corpses.
After swinging free, Sebastian must try his best to escape this gruesome abattoir. It’s tense as Sebastian sneaks his way around, getting the keys and making his way to freedom. A little time to relax as we head to..oh no. There it is. The jailer has been alerted Sebastian’s attempts to escape and has just revved up his survivor horror staple, a damned chainsaw. A narrow escape later and Sebastian is injured, forced to hobble; it’s all gameplay – so yes, it adds even more tension with Sebastian having to hide in the shadows, or lockers to dodge a grisly end.
And then, we got to see some of the combat mechanics. Enemies seem to be tricky to kill, requiring a number of shots to take them down. Unfortunately for Sebastian, ammo seems to be a finite, limited resource, with that nearly-fixed over-the-shoulder camera that makes survival horrors so terrifying. Other items you’ll find within the game will be of help – and fire seems to be one of the better ways of dispatching with the grotesque enemies, who look like they’re inspired by Silent Hill rather than Resident Evil.
In fact, the whole thing seems like a grim lovechild of both venerated survival horror series, giving an uneasy blend of Resident Evil action with the disturbing psychological terror from Silent Hill – and could end up being better than both.
The Evil Within is coming to both current gen and next gen consoles in 2014
Last Updated: June 25, 2013