Posted June 24, 2014 by Jeremy Jastrzab in Feature

E3 2014 Preview: The Evil Within

When The Evil Within was announced, it created a lot of excitement for one big reason – it was being directed by Shinji Mikami at his studio, Tango Gameworks.  Initial trailers and media buzz hailed a return to more traditional survival horror titles; something naturally assumed given that Mikami was one of the progenitors of the genre.  Hands-on previews have been doing the rounds recently and we got to take the same build for a spin at this year’s E3.

Prior to our play time, publisher Bethesda had a video screening in their theatre that explained some of the intricacies of the game.  However, even with this explanation, the play time was highlighted by some very difficult gameplay passages, not helped by being thrown in rather far into the story for the play demo.  The problem with this is what while the game starts off scary, it becomes monotonous when you’re dying at the same spots and have begun memorising enemy placements.


Otherwise, the gameplay feels like a conglomeration of the all the ideas that made up Resident Evil since the re-release of the original game on the GameCube in 2002.  However, the main difference seems to be that Mikami has at least taken some creative license from being able to create a fresh story from the ground up.  The result looks like a morbid cross between classic Resident Evil (up to RE4) and Silent Hill, before Konami messed it up.

The Evil Within features similar controls and movement to Dead Space, hence completing the full ‘modern’ transition, but from the time that we played the game, ammo was extremely scarce.  Even if you did down an enemy, efficiently or inefficiently, you could only be sure that they wouldn’t come back to life if you set them alight – similar to disposing of crimson heads in Resident Evil on the GameCube.  Additionally, there was an enemy that would appear at random in some rooms and could not be beaten with conventional weaponry – leaving your only option to run until it went away.


These factors combined along with some shoddy mini-game controls made the game rather difficult.  The game environment was trap-laden, including bombs that would set off if you got too close.  You could sneak up to them and try to disarm them, which would yield parts that you could use as a makeshift weapon.  Unfortunately, the quick-time mini-game was rather shoddy, meaning an essentially instant death if you failed it.  And it was failed by a lot by E3 attendees…

Probably the biggest worry with the game is that it all feels like its a few years too late.  Neither the Xbox One nor PS4 versions looked too much better than their preceding generations.  The gameplay and puzzles feel like it would have been fresh at the beginning of the last generation, rather than at the end and after titles such as Amnesia have been redefining how horror games are played.  However, you don’t have a track record like Shinji Mikami for no reason, so there is still every possibility that the final game will be totally awesome when it releases in October 2014.

Jeremy Jastrzab

Jeremy is the former executive editor of PALGN, and freelance journalist.


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