Review By Alexandra Ferguson
If you’re a gamer or a horror fan, I imagine you’ve been bombarded with the hype surrounding The Evil Within for at least a couple of months. I first heard about it what feels like an age ago, and was instantly giddy. And now it’s here.
I’ll immediately admit I’ve only played this game for a few hours with two close friends, and so can’t comment on the game in its entirety, but I’m here to tell you: it’s worth the wait.
Fans of Japanese games, anime or manga will love it. The story makes no sense. Shit happens with no reason and without explanation. There’s a conscious effort to take players to all the cliché horror locations (forest, asylum, hospital, haunted house, basement etc.) and you move between them with absolutely no clue what the hell is going on.
The Evil Within is the brainchild of Shinji Mikami, and you will instantly see the Resident Evil 4 resemblance.
This is in no way a bad thing; Resident Evil 4 remains one of the greatest horror games ever made. This time, however, there’s no Leon (sadly) but instead Sebastian Castellanos (voiced by Anson Mount), a detective who appears a little too at home in the bizarre set of events he is thrown into.
Yes, that’s just the prologue.
Now to explain myself. It’s a great game because it’s the right balance of fun, exhaustion, scares, disgust, challenge and ridiculous. I jumped out of my skin many times, and gasped at the down-right rank amount of blood or gore, but enjoyed it. I read reviews from critics who tested the game back in August, protesting that some players passed out or threw up from the intensity of it. We’re adults. It’s not THAT intense.
What works is that you have no idea where to go or what to do at any point. There’s no map, no real hints, you’re just in a horrendous place and you have to get out. You know you’re going to watch Castellanos die in the most disgusting ways before you figure out exactly what to do. That’s what makes it stand out. No hand holding – just get in there and kick some ass.
Those who have played Fatal Frame or Blood Siren Curse probably won’t even flinch at the horror, but you’ll enjoy it. The ‘Japanese-esque-ness’ of it is just adorable. The script is hilarious at times, with lines you would only hear in a Japanese game. For me, it just adds to the charm.
There are a few negatives to share: it’s a shame that it wasn’t just a Japanese game. Detective Castellanos is clearly a Japanese man, so I don’t know why they gave him a bizarre Western name. The characters clearly belong in Japan – so set it in an imaginary Japanese city! The controls are also pretty sloppy and the graphics are trash. I played it on the PS3, not PS4, but even for PS3, the graphics weren’t nearly what you expect from a late 2014 blockbuster game.
Obviously, none of this shit matters. If you’re up for it, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be enthralled by the prospect of collecting green goo, shoving your knife into a villager’s skull, and having a chainsaw violently rammed into your torso. The Evil Within is just gorey, mental, and awesome.
While I’m on the subject of horror games, those of you (lucky bastards) with a PS4 must play P.T. which stands for ‘Playable Teaser’. It’s a playable teaser or demo-type-thing for the next instalment of Silent Hill, aptly named: Silent Hills. P.T. is the future of horror gaming. It’s not a game, it’s a controllable nightmare and absolutely terrifying.
I’m ashamed to admit it’s something I don’t think I could play on my own with the lights off…
If you care, and you don’t have a PS4, YouTube it. It’s the future, and it jaw-dropping.