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Release Date: October 14th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

The Evil Within

Overview -

Survival horror purists have been clamoring for a resurgence of the genre for years. Games like 'Dead Space', along with the more recent entries into the 'Resident Evil' franchise, have not met their standards of what a survival horror video game should be. Fear and tension have been replaced with explosions and an arsenal of weapons. While there may be some amount of truth here (I, for one, adore the 'Dead Space' trilogy), fans of survival horror have not been forgotten and are seeing an abundance of titles that better fit that mold. From 'Amnesia' and 'Outlast', to the more recent 'Alien: Isolation', terror, in all its glory, is on the rise.

In the midst of this resurgance comes Bethesda's 'The Evil Whitin.' Video game designer Shinji Mikami, godfather of 'Resident Evil' and proponent of the survival horror faithful, along with his new studio Tango Gameworks, have promised the next chapter of fear. This ought to mean survival horror and in turn, a focus on confined spaces, limited resources, and an emphasis on running and hiding over engaging in combat. These trademarks of a true survival horror game have certainly been promised, but does blood, gore, and an elevated heart rate equate to an enjoyable game?

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p
Audio Formats:
7.1 LPCM
Release Date:
October 14th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

A game like 'The Evil Within' demands a high level of nightmarish visuals, and I'm guessing the artists at Tango Gameworks were set loose to create anything that came to mind. As a result, the M-rating is both justified and applicable. Blood and gore are in abundance and the creature designs would make even the most recognizable names in Hollywood creature effects envious.

The Evil Within PS4 review

Just as important (and impressive) is the environmental variety and effects. Whether an abandoned village, decrepit mental hospital, or sewer system flowing with blood, the locations are nearly as unsettling as the creatures that inhabit them. The use of light and shadow – flashes of lightning, flickering lights, fires burning in the distance – is brilliant and reason enough to cause hesitation when exploring. And while there is the occasional texture pop-in, most noticeable during cut-scenes, it was never enough to detract from the rest of the game. 'The Evil Within' delivered a terrifying world that I'll not soon forget.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Campy dialogue aside, 'The Evil Within' does a fantastic job with its sound design. Whether using a quality headset to localize the audio experience, or enjoying the game through high-end 7.1 surround sound, I was consistently impressed with the level of audio detail the game offered. Creaking doors, drips of blood, and creatures sneaking up on you are all realized with near perfect directional accuracy.

The Evil Within PS4 review

Adding to a high level of sound effect realism (you'll never look at a cantaloupe the same way again), is a musical score that seamlessly heightens the tension occurring on screen. Haunting violins and a somber piano signal your proximity to a save point, and the opening credits song, 'Long Way Down', perfectly sets the mood while rivaling the beautiful guitar work of Gustavo Santaolalla and the incredible recordings he did for Naughty Dog's 'The Last of Us'. The audio of 'The Evil Within' has raised the bar for sound design and will be a challenge for future games in a similar genre to meet or exceed.

Final Thoughts

I've been a fan of the horror genre for the majority of my life. From books and comics, to movies, video games, and board games, I'm always on the lookout for something to give me a good scare. However, I've never been a huge fan of the survival horror style of video game. Don't get me wrong, they're good fun, but I've always enjoyed those games that attempt to balance horror and action set pieces more. 'Dead Space 2', in my opinion, is nearly perfect. I was even a fan (albeit, in the minority) of 'Resident Evil 6'. While 'The Evil Within' walks a tightrope that straddles these two types of horror games, it occasionally leans a bit more toward the survival horror side of things. By mixing in some frustratingly difficult boss battles, the games veers off in the other direction. Although both styles of gameplay can be exceptionally fun and exciting, I would have ultimately preferred the game remain exclusively focused on one or the other. The gore and violence reaches a boiling point very early on and people who either take offence or have a weak stomach for such experiences should avoid 'The Evil Within' at all costs. Those looking to test their skills and enjoy an all-out blood bath need look no further.