Imagine this: your mind is not yours anymore. Your thoughts, your dreams, and your desires are all left wide open to see. The Evil Within delves into one man’s brain, whose thoughts and demons roam free to taunt, harm and laugh at the weakness that is your fragile humanity. Welcome to STEM.
Review by Arielle Danan
The Evil Within
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: Oct 14th 2014
Price: $19.99 USD
The Evil Within is a third person psychological horror game that delves deep into the barren wastelands of a mad man’s mind, an alcoholic cop, and a corrupt doctor. This game is centered around protagonist Sebastian Castellanos who is trying to protect and find the psychiatric patient, Leslie. I should also mention that this game was directed by the same director for Resident Evil, Mr. Shinji Mikami. So, there are a lot of sprinkling of that game throughout this one. The game has a beautiful, yet creepy atmosphere with a thoroughly executed storyline. Yes, there may be a cliff hanger at the end, but it’s the kind of cliff hanger that makes you think instead of leaving you in complete despair.
In this game, one of the unique things that I found was how Gameworks created the save points. When you are past the first part of the game which is a battleground of chaos and question marks, you make it to an abandoned hospital collecting these strange jars of brain juice and having a nurse (who is a little too calm for my taste) escort you to the treatment room. It is here where you will get acquainted with a machine that hooks up to your head and allows you to up the ante on your abilities. You know that brain juice I mentioned earlier? This is where you use it to strengthen yourself and your weapons. After you experience this “Brain machine” for the first time, you are sent into chapter two of the game. The game is divided into fifteen chapters, so while it is a longer game, it will be worth it to play.
I won’t be going into a chapter by chapter review – if I did, it would be ten pages long. In consideration for both your time and mine, here’s a condensed version:
In the beginning (and throughout the game) you will have two partners, Joseph Oda and Juli Kidman. Throughout the game you will have to save them repeatedly, so be prepared for that, plus a lot of boss fights, disgusting creatures, and a beautiful landscape. Seriously, the amount of “Oh my god’s”, and “holy sh*t’s” I said over the beauty of the game, has been too many to count. From the first chapter to the fifteenth chapter, the intensity grows and the story goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. As usual, the beginning of the game will give you a tutorial, then it will move on to regular game play. One thing I should prepare you all for, for those who have yet to play the game, your heart will race in the beginning of the game — but don’t let that scare you off! If you are an adrenaline junkie like myself, you’ll thank me later. In the first chapter of the game, you will be responding to a call that was sent from Beacon Mental Hospital, where we see our protagonist Sebastian (or Seb,as Joseph calls him.) He meets Joseph at the top of the hospital staircase, and this is where we see our first glimpse of a Resident Evil easter egg. Where Joseph says “stay sharp,” my Resident Evil fans out there know that Wesker says that to Jill and Barry as they enter the dining room of the mansion at Arkalay Mountains.
Now, if a guy in a mask carrying a chainsaw wasn’t enough, imagine running from said guy covered in blood and human bits. After that part is over, the nightmare truly begins. In chapter two we are greeted with fire and our first zombie, like Resident Evil, and we have the famous zombie head turn.
The Single Player
While the gameplay is a bit tedious to learn in the beginning it’s easy to get the hang of and useful when done the right way. You have your standard crouching mechanism, melee, and something really cool that made me feel like a spy/assassin, a stealth option where you can sneak up on the zombie or monster and attack them without being noticed by other creatures. Very handy when done the right way. Honestly, I never used the stealth option more than a few times because it was never really needed, but none the less, a cool feature to have! While this game is not a multiplayer title, I can see multiplayer potential in it with such an expansive map; so many items to grab it would only seem logical. But then again for the story’s sake, I can see why they did not make it multiplayer.
Moving on to the meat of the story we encounter this character named “Ruvik” who has to be my favorite character of the entire game. Yes, Sebastian is good-looking, fast thinking, and good with a crossbow, but Ruvick’s character is genius, and so well written that I was mesmorized and enthralled with his performance. In my opinion, Ruvick carried the story, period.
Now let’s get into the psychology behind this game…In the history of my playing videos, I have not found a game that has used as much psychology as far as use/ terms/ideals as this one. The one that truly brings it all to life is the character Ruvick.
You truly see the madness of the game come out through him. It’s his mind that everyone’s experiencing so it’s only fair that Ruvik is selfish in his endeavors and in what he wants people to witness. Funny how he is showing people the ugly side, the side is damaged and frozen in what if’s. One thing that I really did enjoy is the tune Claire De Lune that played at every save point, it was actually a song that Ruvick would play later in the game. Yes, I did nerd out alot. In Ruvicks many tape recordings that you will find throughout the game, he talks about trying to understand people, dissecting their brains understanding what is their pain, pleasure, fears, and hopes. A very intricate character and one that tied in terms like dissociation where the patient will disassociate themselves from their body and believe they are dead, or they can disassociate from their surroundings. As someone who has a degree in Psychology, this character, and the way Gameworks’ developed him and his scripts, was nothing short of amazing!
As we continue into the game we come across the one character that defines boss fights as we know it. one character that makes our world as the player a living hell. This character is “Box Head”, the character that made me rage and sass to a whole other level – this is the enemy that NEVER DIES! Seriously, I thought he would just be in one chapter. NO, get ready for a world of hurt because this character is here to stay until the very end. And just a fair warning– for those who want a quick kill for the “double team Box Heads” near the end of the game, use a few explosive rounds on your Agony Crossbow, and some shots with a shotgun and you should be good.
As for the end of the game, (depending on what difficulty it is) is very easy. You get to go head to head with Ruvick as the monster and you will get to shoot a butt load of “explosive rounds” in him. There is a cut scene at the end that suggests that Ruvick invaded Leslie’s body, but we will never know. As Leslie walks out of the asylum Sebastian is left with a furrowed brow and more questions than he’d like to have answered.
Like I said , If I were to cover everything in the game the review itself would be ten pages. But, in all honesty, was this game good? Yes, this was a very well crafted game. Gameworks’ could have done a bit better in flushing out the ending and making it more understandable to the viewer, but then again maybe they wanted to give us that drastic cliffhanger. Hopefully all of our question and qualms will be answered in The Evil Within two, which comes out October 14 2017.
The only other issues I had with the game was that it was louder in certain sections than others, but overall I would replay the game in a heartbeat!
- Great Story
- Amazing voice acting
- Solid bosses
- Louder in certain sections than others
- Story wasn’t flushed out in the end
- There is a bit of lag in switching between guns