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E3 – The Evil Within Hands-On Preview

I love the horror genre, despite it often scaring me. I guess the masochist in me just loves to indulge in the terrifying, even if The Evil Within wasn’t quite as terrifying as I expected. A part of me was relieved, but another part of me was very glad, as it still leaves room for its core gameplay to shine. Still, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary. Above all though, The Evil Within is a pretty solid third-person action game. It seems to really be taking a page from the old-school horror genre by offering a vast experience rife with traps, danger, and mystery. In the beginning of the demo, for example, I was supposed to enter a particular house. Unfortunately, however, there was a whole group of creatures just nearby an area with a whole bunch of other places to explore. Given that, I wouldn’t have dared to encounter them head-on, not with the little ammunition I could gather.

It only intrigues me to wonder what could have been beyond those locations had I actually been brave enough to take them on. That fear of the unknown is something that is accentuated in The Evil Within, and it’s all the better for it.


I bet he's sneaking up to surprise tickle him.

I bet he’s sneaking up to surprise tickle him.

When you know what’s before you and where you must head to, The Evil Within is still good. Without playing up the jump scares too often, the truly scary moments don’t end up feeling cheap and are far more satisfying whenever they do appear. Just one very Kubrick-inspired jump got me. Still, it was a good one in a moment where the game stepped into the surreal, in a more disorienting type of element, not unlike the endless staircase in Super Mario 64. It was terrifying then, and it’s terrifying now. It could leave you thinking, “What if I had gone that other way?”

The Evil Within is very nice inside and out, especially. Its visuals offer a very acute insight into this horrific world, complete with some eerie yet elegant background music to slowly usher in the tensest moments. Its visuals are also a treat. There was one moment where I was out on a dirt road and I could see out in the distance, amidst the fog, and beneath a bit of light, just a small bit of a creature coming towards me slowly. It was a moment I thought could only be captured on film, but here is the technological prowess of modern technology being put to good use, to help thoroughly creep you out.

I'm sure he's okay.

I’m sure he’s okay.

One thing that left me hanging dry, however, was the fact that I couldn’t hold onto any other enemy weapons. For instance, I killed someone who had been attacking me with an axe. Naturally, after I beat the monster to a pulp, I took the axe, but switching to any other weapon, even my measly knife, made me drop the axe and go searching for it on the floor again. It feels like a lost opportunity when I must settle for the seemingly inferior items when there’s one that I could easily exchange it for right there.

In spite of that, The Evil Within seems to be shaping up to be a very interesting and ambitious third-person horror title, despite not necessarily being the scariest game ever. However, it doesn’t need to be utterly terrifying to still be a great game. Some questionable voice acting aside, the intricately detailed and designed world is easy to get immersed in, offering a slew of tense and memorable moments. Here’s to hoping the plot and protagonist are good enough to wrap everything together in a neat bow, making for an excellent return to the genre for game director Shinji Mikami.

You can look forward to trying out The Evil Within yourself when it’s released on October 21st for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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