Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Evil Within: Surprisingly Disappointing

The Evil Within (2014) is one of the most notable survival-horror games of the last decade for the simple fact that it was directed by Shinji Mikami, the man responsible for bringing us the original Resident Evil in 1996 and its beloved sequel Resident Evil 4 in 2005. With the man responsible for popularizing the concept of survival-horror games directing his first survival-horror game in almost a decade, there was a lot of hype surrounding The Evil Within, especially considering its strong similarities to Resident Evil 4. Promising a return to "pure survival-horror" that would become "the new face of horror," The Resident Evil Within certainly looked like the sequel Resident Evil 4 deserved, but ultimately never received.

The similarities are unmistakably present, from the slower-paced survival gameplay that has you exploring environments in search of hidden ammunition and healing supplies to the over-the-shoulder third-person combat system, but The Evil Within spices up that familiar formula by throwing in a stealth system, a more robust system for upgrading your weapons and abilities, and by generally emphasizing horror and tension more than action. It takes a little time for the game to get going and fully open itself up to you, but for a while during the early levels I was prepared to declare The Evil Within a worthy successor to Resident Evil 4 that was actually better in many ways. But as I got further into the game, my awe and optimism turned into detachment and frustration.