Last week your intrepid reporter had the good fortune to spend a couple of days at Britain’s biggest gaming Expo, Eurogamer.
At 5pm on Thursday I was one of a couple hundred people to get a spiffy new Evil Within tee shirt and the first proper look at Shinji’s Mikami’s first horror game since Resident Evil 4, apparently Shadows of the Damned Doesn’t count. Probably because its more Army of Darkness than Evil Dead.
Although the legendary games maker was not in attendance we did get to see a chap from Bethesda put an early PC build of the game through its paces, in two demos. the first comprising of the game’s opening, and the second, a little further in demonstrating The Evil Within’s combat.
Check out the video below especially the giant neck beard at 1:26 taking his seat in a spiffy Fallout tee, Ok that was me.
The game’s opening felt incredibly familiar, like a soberer less schlocky Resident Evil. A slower burn than the rush to find shelter Chris and Jill faced all those years ago as inspector Castellanos and his partner enter the asylum, and immediately find the intimidating structures lobby littered with corpses except for a single raving survivor, before being ambushed and drugged by what I can only assume is the games main antagonist.
The player then has to escape from a human abertoire in a desperate struggle against a grotesque chainsaw wielding cannibal. with absolutely no means of defending themselves after Castellanos’s tendons are cut after he catches you sneaking out of his meat locker.
The player is then forced to hide and use the environment to outfox this deadly opponent by hiding behind walls and at one point a locker as the furious behemoth tears past.
This whole section was absolutely horrific and conveyed a sense of nightmarish hopelessness and dread that few games manage to illicit, as such it couldn’t be further from the kill em all and let god sort them out mentality that has sadly taken over Mikami’s former franchise.
Eventually our hero escapes from the mad man, making a break for an elevator.
We were then presented with a scene from later in on the game in which you’re inside a shack that’s been over run by definitely not zombies. Pistol in hand the detective takes them out in a similar manner to Ganados in Resi 4, aiming for the legs over the head to cripple and slow them before flicking a match at the downed creatures, burning them alive in a similar manner to the Resident Evil remake.
What was most impressive about this section though was not the combat, which is all fine an dandy but it was pretty much just a more refined version of the mechanics used in Resident Evil 4 and Shadows of the Damned. No what really caught my attention was how the world morphed around the player, seamlessly changing from one area to another, creating incredibly long and trippy corridors that gave the scene a very dreamlike quality, like one of those horrible nightmares in which you are constantly running to absolutely nowhere, lost and disorientated.
Eventually after several swift changes of scenery Castellanos found himself outside a room with a corpse in the middle of it, which then exploded in a shower of blood as a new and horrifying creation burst forth. Part spider, part Sadako from the ring with razor sharp claws, this incredibly fast enemy quickly got the better of the detective and the demo ended just before it was about to make the killing blow.
Mikami has promised The Evil Within will take survival horror back to its roots, from what I’ve seen so far I’m more than confident that he and his team at Tango Gameworks will more than fulfill that promise creating a game that looks like it marries the best parts of Resident Evil 4, old school Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark with a tone reminiscent of Amnesia, if that doesn’t get horror fans excited, I don’t know what will.
The Evil Within is currently scheduled for release some time in 2014 for Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC.