The Evil Within has one mission. To scare you.
When I last saw Shinji Mikami’s The Evil Within at E3 in 2013, I was the farthest thing from scared. The game felt more like an action-based, anti-zombie kill fest filled with horror cliches' that had me yawning and rolling my eyes.
One year later, I get my shot at The Evil Within yet again at E3 2014. Minutes into the gameplay experience, I've concluded that everything about the game is sick and twisted which had me out of the demo room spewing bile and profanity from my mouth. That's not a bad thing at all. I was scared.
You play as Sebastian, a detective whose life turns upside down after some crazy incident at an insane asylum. Suddenly, you wake up at the entrance to some creepy mansion.
"I know I've seen this place before," Sebastian mutters at the start of my playthrough.
'Let's leave then?' I kept thinking to myself.
The setting spawned straight out of my darkest nightmares. The mansion was big, elaborate, and set the tone for death; I already wanted out but NOPE, got to go in. Of course once I was inside, there was some creepy dude escorting a patient through a sealed door that wouldn't budge. The contractor that decided to put 7-inch steel blast doors inside a mansion is either crazy or genius -- that's dependent on the person.
This evoked the need to explore the mansion to find a way to open the door. I'm a detective so naturally, I went upstairs and went through as many doors as I could, without knocking of course. As you walk, everything is so creeky yet you can hear sounds that implies you're not alone. Sometimes, these sounds will prompt you to turn around only to find the nice, clean family portrait now has slashes through the faces of its contents. I already want out.
Going deeper into the halls of the mansion, door-to-door, you'll encounter the undead walking around with knives ready to jump out and end you
r misery. To ward of them off, you are given a shotgun, a knife, a pistol, and a crossbow. While you have a decent arsenal in your possession (likely for demo purposes), your resources are incredibly limited; bullets are scarce. The thing is, you're not entitled to kill anything since you can try and sneak past most monsters. But that's where the fear of the game draws from -- your vulnerability.
Everything that's walking side the mansion is alive simply because they don't want to die. These wretched beings of the underworld don't stay dead despite the desperate attempt to layer their innards with bullets or apply a healthy dose of flesh wounds. They were vastly more powerful than me so I did everything to avoid them. When I get the best of my opposition, I opted to cleanse their soul (and physical well-beings) with lots and lots of fire in hopes that they stay dead forever.
Every so often I enountered an evil being that simply cannot be killed like a ghost. You have to run. To escape, you must utilize space you can hide in like closets and try and get them to move past you. When inside you're given a first-person view where you can see through the cracks in between the wood much like your typical horror movie. You then wait for anything chasing you to pass. Step out too soon and your toast.
Eventually I ended up in a creepy lab with a severed head on a table since that's normal, right? This was a puzzle mechanic where I had to insert probes and drill into its skull to tickle a pain receptor. Once the challenge was completed, I was one step closer to opening the sealed blast door. Of course, now things got real and monsters and ghosts showed up more frequently.
On my way back to the mansion's main room, I ran into something disgustingly ugly waiting for me at the end of the dreaded hallway.
Nope, I'm out.