Last April, Bethesda Softworks officially lifted the curtain off their latest project with newly formed Japan-based studio Tango Gameworks. Under the leadership of Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within was teased and instantly sparked the interest of any and every survival horror fan on the planet.
During PAX East 2014, I had an opportunity to take a deeper look at the game in the form of two new separate playthrough demos. Here are a few of my thoughts on the presentation and why The Evil Within may or may not be the bone-chilling survival horror title that we all have been waiting for.
For those who are unaware, the premise of The Evil Within revolves around the trials and tribulations of Detective Sebastian Castellanos and highlights what horrors await him after waking up in a mysterious world full of monsters. Mikami set out to create an old school survival horror game where players are tasked with using the environment as a means of survival. This particular vision was on full display in both demos that were shown at the event.
The first demo depicted Sebastian navigating through a dejected city in shambles. Damaged skyscrapers erupt from the ground and players are treated to a very unsettling environment that carries the exact same vibe as the previously released gameplay trailer from last week. Once the undead creatures started emerging from the shadows, I was immediately reminded of the threatening Ganados villagers from Resident Evil 4.
From here on out, the demo became much more action-oriented as we started to get a glimpse of the types of weapons that Sebastian will gain access to throughout the game. These weapons included a handgun, shotgun, sniper rifle, and crossbow complete with explosive arrows. Players will have the ability to take down an enemy and then set them on fire afterward to fully guarantee their demise. This portion of the demo concluded when Sebastian jumped into a flooded area of the city and was ripped to shreds by a huge creature that emerged from below. Again, this death sequence was very reminiscent of visuals seen in Resident Evil 4 and will be a welcomed treat for fans of the series.
The second demo was fixated on how puzzles play a pivotal role in the overall gameplay experience. Sebastian finds himself inside an industrial underground setting and has to turn a series of valves the right way to escape. While trying to figure out this puzzle, fog continues to rise and the player has to contend with a stalking Box-man creature that remains extremely persistent throughout. From this encounter we get a sense of how it feels to be trapped, yet we are armed with the right tools to easily get through the obstacle at hand.
On the surface, both of these demos are extremely different from the ones that Garrett Glass wrote about in his Quakecon preview of the game. The overall vibe this time around was centered squarely on the atmospheric tone of the game. It is evident that the studio wants to create a game where the environment will act as the perfect catalyst for anarchy and horror from start to finish. While many may have walked away with mixed thoughts on how the finished product will turn out, I personally was intrigued by everything that I saw and am looking forward to spending some much needed hands-on time with the game during E3 2014.
If you’re a fan of the action-oriented approach taken by most survival horror games today, then The Evil Within may be just what you’re looking for. The verdict is still out on if this game will truly be as scary as people have hoped for, but so far I would say that the road ahead still looks as promising as it’s ever been.
The Evil Within launches on August 26th in North America and August 29th in Europe for the PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Xbox One. Did this preview convince any of you that the game is worth checking out? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.