The Evil Within: The Assignment is the first instalment of a two part DLC, released in March. This DLC is quite a radical departure from the original game both in gameplay style and the way story is told. How does it fare when put up against the original?
This time you follow the story from the perspective of detective Julie Kidman, Sebastian’s colleague. As a double agent she serves an organization shrouded in darkness, simply called Mobius. Her mission is to retrieve Leslie, treating all other members of her team as expandable. In order to do this she will be inserted into the STEM system. From there on we are given explanations of what happened in the main game and learn quite a bit about Kidman as well.
Gameplay differs greatly from the main game. Here the accent is on stealth, which transforms the game quite a bit to fit this new approach. It now features a full cover system, which helps you to not get noticed as easily. While in cover you can call out in order to confuse your enemies and run the other way. Gone is the eye icon which signals when there are enemies around. Instead you are left to analyze sound cues they make as to assess where they are.
The Assignment features all new environments, but also rethreads old grounds from the original game, including the graveyard, the village and sewers. There are new enemies to evade and a brand new boss character which is quite a nightmare to behold.
Most of the environments are quite dark, but Kidman stumbles upon a flashlight early on. New to this DLC is the ability to aim the light, similarly to Alan Wake. You will use this to solve puzzles and reveal hidden passages and doors. The puzzles here are mostly environmental. For example there is a part where you will have to ring a bell in order to distract zombies to get Leslie to open a gate for you. Or you will have to rotate statues in order to make a shadow into a certain shape.
It took about four hours to play through game’s two chapters. Thankfully there are many optional puzzles. As part of new collectables those puzzles will each grant you a piece of a mysterious letter. Also littered throughout the world are records that allow you to access music in the main menu. After completing the game once you unlock the Kurayami mode. In this mode you play the game in pitch black, which makes the game even creepier.
There are no weapons, no upgrades and no safe rooms. This game is all about your ability to survive with as minimal resources possible. For the most of the game the only weapon you have is your wits and ability to stay out of combat. This part of DLC ended rather abruptly teasing the finale in the second DLC, leaving me wanting more.
I welcome this change towards more of a true survival horror experience. The game feels much more thought out and it manages to do a lot more with minimal resources. It is a short but sweet experience the fans of survival horror will have a blast playing through, even those who weren’t totally satisfied with the original game.
The next DLC – Evil Within: The Consequence will follow this spring as well.