E3 2013: The Evil Within Preview

June 13, 2013

When Shinji Mikami first unveiled The Evil Within under the codename Project Zwei last year, he expressed his desire for it to be a “true survival horror game”. Indeed, after playing the demo (introduced by the man himself) it seems like it is on the right track to becoming just that.

The demo begins with the playable character, who is a detective, and his partner, entering an asylum. Everyone inside is dead, with one survivor. A look at some security monitors shows a ghostly figure killing some guards, then looking at the camera.

The detective wakes up in a dungeon, hanging upside down, where he can see a deformed psycho butchering other prisoners. He manages to wriggle free and slowly and stealthily, makes his way out of the dungeon by sticking to the shadows. The game not only makes heavy use of sound, but also gore scattered around the level to imply the awful things that have happened or are happening to other captives. Unfortunately, the detective activates a trip wire, which summons a chainsaw-wielding psycho who chases him into a room full of rotating blades. There is no HUD to speak of, but we can see that this severely injures him, causing him to have to limp around… but the chase isn’t over. The psycho is on the hunt again, which leads the detective to hide in a nearby locker, a little like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. You can also throw objects available around the environment, such as bottles to distract enemies. Eventually, we manage to escape the hospital, only to find that the city has been destroyed.

We then got to play another demo level. This demo saw the detective inside an old house, with various creeps trying to get in. We were able to set mines around the house in order to prevent them from making progress. There are more HUD elements in this demo too, with a single red line at the bottom for health as well as ammo counters and contextual prompts, such as for execution moves. Naturally, this meant a taste of combat. Shooting takes place from a third-person over-the-shoulder style, much like Resident Evil 4. The execution move we were able to pull off involved burning enemies with a match.

After the fight, we headed downstairs, only to find the environment shifting, extending and transforming around us. The detective then comes across a female enemy reminiscent of the infamous Sadako from the Ringu films, with long hair but spider-like with lots of arms. Unfortunately, our time with the demo came to an end when the detective was killed.

The Evil Within will be released next year for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

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