The Evil Within Sebastian

The survival/horror genre seemed to be almost dead a few years back. However, with the help of a bunch of terrifying indies, and some new horror games from various studios, it seems to be making a comeback. The Evil Within was supposed to revive the terror, but can it really bring the fear?

The Evil Within follows Sebastian Castellanos, a police detective in Krimson City with a personality as unique as a slice of toast. As this gruff and wounded middle-aged man arrives at a crime scene with his younger, more clean-cut male partner and the rookie cop lady, everything goes horribly awry. The world quickly becomes twisted and bizarre as Sebastian must escape from a chainsaw wielding lunatic. With such a creepy opening, you would think the game would be terrifying… but it’s not.

The Evil Within Movie

Each environment is a bizarre interpretation of the world. This is explained in the storyline, and it could have worked excellently to build suspense as anything seems to go in this strange world. However, the environments aren’t as grotesque or impressive as hoped. While there are some excellent visuals, there are also some broken textures and weird glitches. Due to the nightmarish qualities of the levels, it was hard to gauge whether these were actual glitches or purposeful irregularities, but they certainly appeared to be immersion-breaking visual issues.

Each area is unique, and exploration is highly rewarded. With ammo at a complete minimum, each extra room with a few spare bullets is highly appreciated. Of course, with extra exploration comes the possibility of death as most areas are riddled with traps and enemies. It comes down to risk management each time you open a door or go down a new hallway. In the quieter levels, the tension is excellent as you sneak around in the dark, disassembling traps in order to get parts for your crossbow and stealthily taking out as many enemies as you can to conserve ammo.

Unfortunately, that tension simply can’t be maintained. Outside of those quiet moments that encourage stealth, there are other times when the game devolves into a run of the mill third-person shooter as you need to kill hordes of enemies in waves before you can move on to the next section. After skulking around in the dark, these combat moments break the tension and turn the game into an average action game.

The Evil Within Keeper

Things get worse when it comes to boss battles. While the bosses themselves are terrifying, the fights against them are ridiculously hard. It generally boiled down to me entering boss fight, dying. Trying again, finding the first set action to move the fight forward, then dying again. Due to long load times after each death and the repeated visuals making me desensitized, the horror of boss fights soon devolved into a form of trial and error instead of trial and terror.

The game features an excellent upgrade system, allowing players to improve Sebastian’s health, combat and stock carrying. I still don’t understand how games justify that a character can carry a range of weapons but only seven spare bullets, but at least that can be improved with upgrades. This RPG light aspect adds some investment into the character, and could increase the odds of players making use of the New Game+ option in order to replay and fully upgrade Sebastian’s options.

Unfortunately, neither the upgrade system nor the various collectibles and background on Sebastian are really explored. Everything seems to be a red herring and even the main storyline is poorly handled. The whole game ends up feeling like a meander through various creepy environments with the excuse of it being nightmarish – sure, it’s justified with the bizarre story, but it ends up feeling like a cop out. With a psychological experiment gone horribly (predictably) wrong, the game fails to resolve or explain things in a way that justifies the experience.

The Evil Within jaw

The enemies start to feel copy and pasted, without any real variety. There is the crazy knife-wielding woman, the wild and screaming torch-bearing man, the fatter men who absorb more bullets than a famous rapper and the same guys repeated but this time with masks. I’m sure there are a couple more, but having seen so many of these ones, it seemed that there were only a few variations of run-of-the-mill enemies. The only thing clunkier than enemy design is actual combat. Despite having a knife for stealth kills, Sebastian can only flail wildly at enemies if attempting any form of melee attack; weapons used in melee fights are powerful, but only last against one enemy before disappearing. Fire rates are abysmally slow, making close quarter combat unrealistically difficult. Add to this the ridiculously close up camera angles (that can’t be modified) and the game becomes artificially punishing. Unlike the difficult but rewarding Dark Souls, The Evil Within simply doesn’t give you the information necessary to succeed without trial and error, which instantly kills the tension and minimizes the horror.

The Evil Within watching

It seems that The Evil Within is trying to play on our enjoyment of classic horror games. Unfortunately, archaic design choices kill any form of nostalgia. Similarly, the punishing nature of the game isn’t rewarding ala Dark Souls, instead it feels designed in such a way to seem unfair to players. When it gets the horror, gore and tension right, it has excellent moments. Unfortunately, those moments are simply too few and far between.

While a noble attempt to bring a new survival horror game to the table, The Evil Within relies too much on previous horror tropes instead of innovating and creating something new and truly terrifying. Unable to sustain the fear, the game ends up falling flat, feeling like a gory action game instead of a fight for survival.

Last Updated: October 27, 2014

The Evil Within
When the game works, it is fantastic. Unfortunately, the rest of it feels average and frustratingly built to make players fail. While obsessive collectors might see replay value in New Game+, the story and gameplay simply aren't compelling enough to warrant more than the original 20 hours for completion.
The Evil Within was reviewed on PlayStation 4
75 / 100


  1. Jac7

    October 27, 2014 at 15:38

    “I have lived in this locker for quite some time now. I don’t eat, therefor I don’t need to excrete waste. All I do is stare out through those tiny slits. That’s about all I can do. There is no courage, only fail. I will die in here. My name is Amanda Ripley.” Honestly, Alien Isolation is the only horror I can handle at the moment.


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew

      October 27, 2014 at 15:43

      It is so very good. Loving it. Glad I went Alien instead of Evil Within


      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 27, 2014 at 15:47

        hur hur hur!


    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      October 27, 2014 at 15:46

      It’s also a much, much better game.


  2. Hammersteyn

    October 27, 2014 at 15:40

    The more I play this the more disappointed I feel. If I don’t finish it by the time FC4 is available I might not bother at all. It will be worth something when I trade it in fortunately as BT Games doesn’t care that much about review scores.


  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 27, 2014 at 15:44

    Sounds like they took what’s really a niche genre game & tried to make it “accessible” with silly action.


  4. Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

    October 27, 2014 at 16:12

    “The Evil Within relies too much on previous horror tropes instead of innovating”

    My following comment isn’t anything personal Zoe (or against your opinion). But I’ve seen this statement a lot in reviews for The Evil Within.
    These guys did it with TEW and it turns out as a negative against the game. Now tell me WTF does gamers actually want? I am thoroughly enjoying this game because it reminds me so much of the old school horror genre,it doesn’t hold your hand and the game is quite challenging. Sure the game has its flaws but what game doesn’t have any? Anyways,I’m done ranting.
    If you like survival horror you must play this game.


    • Her Highness the Hipster

      October 27, 2014 at 16:15

      i wanted old school survival horror, without old school control issues 😛 also, the game gets far too action based to be called survival horror for me, but glad that you’re enjoying it.


      • Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

        October 27, 2014 at 16:26

        Yeah just my opinion no biggy. <3


    • L

      October 27, 2014 at 16:19

      I am also really enjoying the game. But i do agree with the review score. I would have given it a 7.


    • RenegadeVictim

      March 2, 2015 at 18:37

      With Ammo being ridiculously hard to obtain, Melee attacks doing nothing but momentarily stunning the enemy, enemies turning around at the last second as you try to stealth kill them and Sebastian’s Lung Capacity being that of a person who’s been smoking for about 30 years, it becomes less “Survival Horror” and more “Surviving Gamer Rage”. While the Environments are certainly nice, the enemies feel too much like some weird mash-up of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Having played Resident Evil, I can say that that game was Survival Horror. Ammo wasn’t ridiculously scarce and Enemies posed enough of a challenge in groups. It had me fearing for my Character’s life. The Evil Within didn’t have that same effect. It felt like it was trying too hard to be the next DOOM.


  5. Quo Vadis?

    October 27, 2014 at 16:32

    The problem with this game, was the marketing of it. For a very long time, when it was in development, prospective buyers were touted with tag lines such as “Survival horror going back to its roots” or “designer on the original Resident Evil franchise developing this game” etc. It was overhyped, overmarketed, and rode on the coat tails of an established franchise. Then came the battles – too hard and complex, almost as if inspiration was taken directly from Dark Souls and re-engineered and given a make over to fit in with the overall mechanics of the game. I, for one, was hoping for a game that “looked” and felt like Resident Evil 1,2 and 3, but didn’t. And that is my fault unfortunately. Bought it, played a bit, hated it, turfed it.


  6. Cadis Etrama Di Umar

    October 27, 2014 at 23:21

    Only recently started this game. Recently as in 2 hours ago. Really enjoying the overall look and feel of the game, but it is evident just what issues are gonna arise later on. This is definitely old school survival horror. I hope this game and Alien will do well enough so that we’ll see more AAA horror games.
    TEW is in no way, shape or form, a perfect game, but as a horror fan, am glad to see we’re finally getting some lovin.


  7. cyleb

    October 27, 2014 at 23:41

    Amazing game looks good feels good… Almost as good as the last of us. Don’t nitpick a great game. 9 stars


    • Ty Solonynko

      October 28, 2014 at 08:19

      I am enjoying this game as well…but gimme a break, almost as good as the last of us? Not even the same planet. The incredible and impassioned story that made the last of us so great will probably go down as one of the hardest things to out do in single player gaming history. To even compare this game to the last of us is just not fair. And you know it.


      • dextroamph76

        October 28, 2014 at 22:32

        Well, they’re on the same planet, I’d argue, but The Last of Us is standing proudly on the summit of Everest while The Evil Within is still anxiously checking its oxygen supplies down at Camp III.

        Not that reaching Camp III isn’t an amazing achievement in and of itself, and a tribute to the ambition, dash, and excellent health of the climber.

        My brother recently completed The Last of Us for the first time after purchasing it for his brand-new PS4, and I’d say it has ruined gaming for him for at least six months. Nothing is the same after being with Joel and Ellie. It saps your enthusiasm for every other game. It’s like binge-watching SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica and then immediately going back to the original. All the air blows out of it with a big wet raspberry.


        • fablemad

          October 29, 2014 at 01:51

          I’m just gonna add my grain of salt here and some are not going to like it.

          The Evil Within is not on the same planet as The Last of Us. You know why? Because TLOU is not a game. It’s a movie that gets “bonus” gameplay, and it’s bad one at that.

          I know you’re probably fulminating but hear me out. There are precisely 4 types of ennemies in the game. It’s a dumbed down Uncharted. The AI is horrible(soldiers stop to look at a wall and will stay there forever if you let the game go on).
          It does have its moments, but it’s definitly not what a VIDEO GAME is supposed to be. AKA an interactive movie.

          The Evil Within mixes with success Resident Evil, Silent Hill and TLOU, without getting lost in its own story. It’s primarily about spooking you, without relying on cheap jump scares. And I think that’s what people expected from this game: being scared a-la-Slenderman. That’s not what I’m looking for in a survival horror game. I’m looking for a whole world in which I go: god damn, I’m glad this is just a Video Game.

          In no way am I “dissing” TLOU btw, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I would compare it to heavy rain.

          I’m gonna compare orange with bananas. I’m a proud Wii U owners and I often see people crying over Mario reviews. Because they’re supposed to be rehashes or because they don’t have a detailed story.

          But that’s not what Nintendo is aiming for: they’re aiming for thight, excellent and fun gameplay. That’s why Mario keeps renewing itself and that’s why they’re still good games(I’m talking about the 3D ones mind you).

          That’s what The Evil Within tried to do. Give you challenging, spooky and great gameplay.

          I’m mad that some people are like you guys, claiming TLOU is the Everest, because it shows where video games are heading. Simple interactive movies from Western developers. It seems everyone forgot the gameplay because of the excellent story. That’s what movies are for. Not Video Games.

          tl;dr : The fact that people are claiming TLOU is the Citizen Kane of video games is a grim indication of the video games industry’s future.

          Peace yallz


          • dextroamph76

            October 29, 2014 at 05:59

            You’ll get no fulminating from me. I’m with you completely regarding The Evil Within–I think it’s brilliant from top to bottom. I find it frankly unbelievable that so many of its low-scoring reviewers cited “unfairness” as a major part of their verdict. Talk about grim indications. It’s been a long time since a boss fight in a game has literally intimidated me; a certain final confrontation in Chapter 10 of The Evil Within had me setting the controller down to walk around for a bit just to calm my nerves. Even then it took me at least an hour and a half to succeed. The payoff was a euphoric sense of accomplishment that I haven’t felt since I was a kid. It’s discouraging to see experienced players give in so quickly to frustration, or, worse, to interpret their frustration as a sign of weakness in a game and not themselves.

            Regarding The Last of Us, I understand what you’re saying about its being an interactive movie. Its intensely linear, all-pervasive narrative cripples its replay value even as it makes for an unforgettable first experience. I believe the Everest analogy holds, however, because of the sheer scope of its ambition and how closely it came to pulling it off. The almost seamless blend of exciting action and compelling story, the sophisticated dialogue performed by first-rate actors, the utterly believable (and utterly gorgeous–especially in the remastered version) world, the combat whose controlled chaos often had you feeling you were somehow surviving an actual brawl–The Last of Us combined these qualities in a pioneeringly magnificent way. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but if it is indeed a sign of things to come I’d argue that on balance we have more reason to rejoice than despair.

          • redseanation

            February 18, 2015 at 03:48

            @fablemad, took the words out of my mouth. Evil within is a much better survivor/horror than TLOS. Maybe not from a storytelling or cinematic type of way but for pure horror, I’ll take Evil within.

    • redseanation

      February 18, 2015 at 03:46

      Thank you sir, someone that actually makes sense.


  8. dextroamph76

    October 28, 2014 at 04:14

    Why does it feel as if every negative review of this game kind of lazily rehashes the same criticisms–story confusing, bosses too hard, etc.–whereas the positive ones offer more specificity as well as an overall tone unique to the reviewer? (See Game Informer, IGN, and Vandal Online, for example.) It’s almost as if a significant portion of the naysayers rage quit the game at some point and then composed a generic little essay based on another generic little essay based on yet another generic little essay, and so forth. If the game is indeed “fantastic” aside from its difficult bosses (seriously?) and a few chapters somewhat too reminiscent of Resident Evil 5, it deserves a far higher score than 6.8. The great majority of the game takes place in the dark, and the boss fights are exceptionally satisfying precisely because of the patience and brains required to beat them. Grace under fire, baby.

    I wish that the hypersensitivity of our times didn’t require an apology/disclaimer merely for disagreeing with someone, but I hope that everyone understands that my comment reflects no ill will toward Zoe personally. I found the bipolarity of the reactions to Alien: Isolation almost equally flabbergasting until a friend pointed out that literally crawling from table to table for fifteen hours while being hunted by a single preternaturally intelligent enemy that also happens to be unkillable isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The Evil Within, on the other hand, is so richly diverse, and conforms so beautifully to the venerable tradition of survival horror (while simultaneously offering plenty of new thrills), that dismissing it as mostly a failure just beggars belief. If you love Resident Evil 4, if you love Dead Space 1 and 2, if you love to be creeped out and challenged and to cause countless gooey explosions in the cranial regions of repellent monsters, then you’ll love The Evil Within. Plain and simple.


    • Sageville

      October 28, 2014 at 13:03

      “dismissing it as mostly a failure”?

      I bit harsh considering it was given a score of 6.8.


  9. Nikola

    October 28, 2014 at 13:23

    I actually agree with your review 100% it’s not that the game is hard I enjoy a challenge and a difficult game but it is just plain irritating hard, setting is awesome and the feel of the game I like but it really does not draw me in like old RE game’s or Silent Hill something missing. However I will still finish the game it might just take me a while since it is such a frustrating game!


    • dextroamph76

      October 28, 2014 at 21:53

      Lower the difficulty if you have to. The game is plenty challenging even on casual, but the extra ammunition provides a confidence boost and there are far less traps during boss fights, enabling you to focus solely on the fact that Laura is once again crawling up your a** without worrying about steel pincers crushing your delicate ankles every ten seconds. Once you thoroughly learn the game you can try it again on a higher setting. I’ve beat it once on casual, once on casual new game +, and from there I jumped straight to nightmare and am having a blast.


  10. Justin Gabany

    October 28, 2014 at 21:48

    Boss fights are…..hard? That is what everyone is complaining about….If that is the case, this gaming generation is sad. I LOVED the game….I played through it, and it was not until midway through that I decided to purchase the DLC. I am not familiar with this site, but I just can not believe that Zoe played through the game. The story is a bit confusing, but the gameplay is challenging and engaging. Very unique in many aspects of the the horror genre. I feel as if the amount of common enemies did diminish the scare value of the game, but the boss battles are terrifying. Probably the most intense boss fights I have ever played.


  11. Jimijam

    November 22, 2014 at 07:42

    I’ve been playing this game for the last week or so I cannot get past the box head boss, The camera angles are so horrific he regenerates before I can even leave the room, And kills me before I can turn around and run ugh! A new game that is totaly infirior to resident evil 4, I started out on survivor but changed to casual and the game got on slightly easier, I spend more time cussing in frustration at the sloppy controls and loading times not to mention the penalties that make you start back at the begining of the chapter for getting killed, its just not worth the aggravation, I just had to put the game back in its case and will return it to game stop and trade the damn thing in at a loss, its in my opinion more frustrating then operation raccoon city I will never by another game by this director unless I play it before hand !


  12. redseanation

    February 18, 2015 at 03:46

    Man are you people coddled and spoiled. This game is no masterpiece by any sort but it is a solid game and very entertaining. When the writer said the boss battles were “ridiculously tough”(as in a bad thing), I lost interest in reading then and there.


  13. RenegadeVictim

    March 2, 2015 at 19:03

    Boss fights are supposed to be ridiculously hard. They’re supposed to make you want to rage quit. What isn’t supposed to be ridiculously hard is finding ammo. In a game, certain things need to be balanced. If Ammo is to be scarce, then make Melee damage more of a priority. The Evil Within does not do this however. It tries to be many different games and fails at it rather than simply being it’s own game with balanced mechanics. I played on the “Normal” difficulty. Survival Horror is all about the Survival Aspect blending seamlessly with the Horror aspect. You want to be scared. You want to enjoy the game thoroughly and you actually want to fear for your character’s life. But The Evil Within does not do this. Instead it makes you incredibly frustrated rather than scared. While TEW pulls off many things quite well, it does not pull off essentials very well. Running is not an option, Melee is almost completely undesirable, and Ammo is ridiculously scarce. This is not balance. This is ridiculously unfair. This makes people rage quit. This creates a frustrating experience. Which leads to negative reviews. 6.8 is generous for this game. I’d give it a 6.0 based on my experience.


  14. vasss

    April 22, 2015 at 07:32

    What a retard. He obviously never actually played the game.

    I bet he never even made it to the Ring Girl. I know horror games and this is the scariest game ever made. No boss has ever been more terrorizing than that screaming multi limbed ring girl.


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