Preview: The Evil Within

From what I had seen The Evil Within looked absolutely terrifying, as I went in for my hands on in a dark room in the corner of the EB expo.

It began with an exceptionally in depth overview from Bethesda’s PR representative that explained too me that our demonstration takes places quite far into the game among a few other hints and tips required for me to progress.

The demo spawned me on a path in the middle of the forest, that lead to perhaps one of the eeriest estate houses I have ever seen. As part of the briefing I received it was mentioned that this game’s horror was strongly atmospheric. They couldn’t have been more right, as I panned the camera I studied what I was about to jump head first into took a huge breath, braced myself and entered the house.

As I entered the house a strong room was closing as two pivotal characters to the story were entering it. Quickly sealing itself behind them, my task was clear, I had to brave this horrific house to pass through the door but where do I begin? I hesitantly went upstairs and entered a study. This dark, creaky room just spelled out trouble. Books were scattered on the floors and tables as I wandered through the room small candlelit lights were definitely playing tricks on me with the shadows. I had to get out of here as quickly as I could.

I found a small ladder that took me into a small nest of book shelves. I circled around to inspect a portrait only to be ambushed by two undead beings, one with a severe limp and an axe and the other with barbed wire wrapped around its head. My shot gun took care of them pretty quick as the spread shot left piles of flesh flailing from their body (melee attacking doesn’t damage these enemies, it only acts as a space buffer to buy you precious seconds). I made it to the portrait to analyze it, only to receive one part of a safe locking wheel. As I went to leave, I had forgotten perhaps the one most important piece of advice I was given. To truly eliminate those undead beings you need to set them alight, so once again I resorted to the scarce ammunition I had for my shotgun and after decimating my enemies again, I finished them off with a match and that ended that problem. Or so I thought.

As their bodies singed to ash the room light up with a auric blue, I was confused as to what it was until it ended. The light dispersed and reveled its self to be another pivotal character of the game, an enemy that cannot be killed or stopped. As he chased me I found myself down the ladder and headed up a dark corridor of the run down building, enemy in pursuit. I rounded a corner and was tripped off my feet and being jarringly pulled into a human sized mincer at a rapid pace. As I was being dragged across the floor I was automatically clued to shoot a switch and in doing so spared my life, for the moment. I kept heading the way I intended too and reached a suspicious looking fire place. Realizing I could enter it, I did only to find what could only look like the creepiest and dodgiest looking home science experiment.

It was a fleshy torso of a human with one half of its brain exposed. As I entered the room a recording began to play, it listed the various regions of the brain and which region the voice was trying to get stimulated. I worked out that I was to probe the point of the brain that the recording was talking about, listening to the  recording again and aligning the probe with the aid of a diagram on the bench to the front of the bust. As I moved back and forth between the bust and the diagram aligning the probe, I got the fright of my life. The face of the torso blinked! This human was still alive! It had been blinking at me and probably gargling for help for all I knew and there was nothing I could do as the game forced me to probe that section of the brain.

Probing the brain unlocked one third of the initial safe door, continuing to do them all in similar fashion braving terrifying aspects of the house and probing the brains finally got me through the door. Upon crossing the threshold I was greeted by the un-killable enemy only to be transported into what I assume was another area of the house only years and years before all the decaying and the horrors took over. Here in a gory path of blood I followed a figure which connected the dots to the story that goes hand in hand with the chapter and the house. In an explosively gory and terrifying fashion I was treated to a teaser video of more to come as my reward for successfully completing the demonstration.

I really enjoyed my hands on experience with “The Evil Within”; the game wasn’t exceptionally jump scary but set the atmospheric tone perfectly. I was on edge the entire time as noises and shadows played on my mind. Elements to the game play are perfect such as the burning of corpses, scare materials such as ammunition and matches, even a leveling system is present but that was locked for the demo. Even though I was essentially thrown in the deep end in terms of story, I still felt I had a solid idea of what was going on and the chapter provided to us was a perfectly contained chapter in terms of story.

I found it to be a well executed game with a unique twist on the survival horror genre. I totally respect it for what it is and understand where it is coming from and its goals, I wholeheartedly wish it every success, it just isn’t for me. But for fans of the genre or more importantly the Silent Hill or Resident Evil series, this game is right up your alley and is definitely worth a purchase come release day.