Hindsight: The Evil Within

So, with The Evil Within having hit the shelves not too long ago, it’s time to take a look and see if it was worth all the hype that led up to the release.

Now, horror games aren’t for everyone. Some of you may like being scared in your free time and having trouble sleeping soundly at night, and, some of you don’t. Then there’s the misconception between horror and gore, as well as scary and weird, and it looks as though The Evil Within slipped up, to an extent, in both of these instances.

To begin, the game is bloody – we’re talking about wading waist-deep through stagnant blood and a body count that could rival the worst of Surgeon Simulator. Granted, this deluge of blood and guts does serve to give the game that foreboding ‘you’re not going to make it out of here alive’ feel. However, by the end of the first level – let alone the end of the game – the player is so desensitized to it. This tactic would have been much better done if there had been some break between the violence. Maybe take an Allen Wake approach to it and have one mission with the viscera and the next without it, and continue to flip-flop between the two. Sure, that may get stale after some time too, but at least the revulsion factor the developers were going for would have lasted further into the game.
Next, touching on the second issue, there’s the oddity of the game. For some reason, the lead art designer thought that each and every enemy had to be disfigured in some way, shape, or form. Just as with the blood, it gets old after some time. Not only that, it can be down-right impractical. Take, for example, the common ‘zombie’ enemy that the player dispatches at every turn of the game. Nearly all of them have some sort of wound on them – and some have items jutting out of them. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem, except of the placing of some of the wounds. As we all know, the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain, right? Well then, how are some of the baddies walking about like they haven’t a care in the world when they have something massive protruding from their skull – it just doesn’t make sense.

To clarify things, we’re not saying that this game is some abomination like the freak-show that goes on inside that hospital. It’s just that sometimes the team that made the game went a touch over the top, or didn’t think it quite through every so often. At times, the gratuitous violence felt perfect – like, in the beginning of the game, when you have to escape from the wack-job that’s butchering the corpses. Also, the disfigured enemies sometimes create such a sense of dread – such as the spider-woman – that any non-monster villain would kill to have it.

Overall, it’s not the horror game of the year; yet, it’s not something to dismiss entirely. The game has come out at a perfect time for what it has to offer with its blood and creatures. Also, for the Resident Evil fans out there on the web, it works with some of the same mechanics from that well-loved and feared series. In the end, it’s not a game for everyone, but something that would come in handy if you’re in the mood for something scary.