Horror game fans where mostly left in the dark during the last generation of consoles. This is about to change with the highly anticipated title The Evil Within scheduled to come out this year. I was fortunate enough to play through the entirety of chapter 9 during Gamescom and I have to say what I saw really left me impressed.
The Evil Within was directed by the father of Resident Evil himself, Shinji Mikami, and it shows. After Shinji Mikami finished Resident Evil 4, Capcom took the series in another direction, featuring less exploration and more action. The Evil Within is trying to recreate what made Resident Evil 4 so popular by adding an emphasis on horror elements, exploration and puzzle solving.
During the hands-on I played through chapter 9. The goal of this chapter is to make your way through a large door in the middle of the mansion, opened only by collecting clues and completing three hidden puzzles. While you do this you will slowly unravel what horrors exactly happened in this abandoned place.
The game never takes the control away from you, making everything even more terrifying since you know that only you are to blame if you die. The visuals are extremely detailed and add a lot to the whole atmosphere. The Evil Within is really gory, featuring decapitation, pools of blood, and even probing a brain of a decapitated head.
Enemies are nimble, dashing toward you and attacking whenever they have the opportunity. They do a lot of damage and take quite a few hits before being brought down. Even then you never know if you killed one until it’s too late. The only way to make certain an enemy is dead is to burn him with your matches or torch, each of which is a limited resource. Aside from standard enemies, there is also Ruvik who is the main villain. He is immortal and can instantly kill you the second you get too close, with your only hope being running in the opposite direction.
While not every room will have enemies it that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down as many rooms are rigged with explosive traps. The only way to disarm them is to sneak up to them and do a simple mini-game. If you miss the timing the trap will go off hurting you in the process, but if you success in disarming it you will get additional parts which can be used to make more ammo for your bow.
You can enter mirrors to reach a safe zone. These areas allow you to use points you collected to upgrade skills, such as more health, being able to do more melee damage, or even carrying a couple of more matches. You will also be able to look at a map whose pieces you will collect through the entire game.
The controls mimic those of the newer Resident Evil titles. Just like in Resident Evil 4 it can be quite hard to hit something, but it’s this kind of imprecision that makes you feel a lot more vulnerable, as you will never feel safe taking on even the weakest of enemies. During the entire chapter I had a total of 15 bullets for my handgun, out of which you usually need two head shots to take out a single enemy. You can use a melee attack to conserve ammo, but this attack does so little damage that it serves more as a means to buy time, before you either aim for the enemy or run away.
Just like in Resident Evil 4 you have the option to slowly open a door, or kick it in so that you can hit anything on the other side. Running consumes your stamina meter making it even more difficult to escape your bloodthirsty foes. Thankfully you have the option of hiding in closets or underneath beds.
Puzzles also made a comeback. While rudimentary, they serve as a nice way in order to push you forward and urging you to explore the surrounding area for clues. One particular gory puzzle had me listening to a voice recording while probing a man’s brain with needles in order to recreate the same emotion in the decapitated head.
The entire chapter lasted for about one hour and by the end I was left with sweaty palms, feeling a little paranoid while I made my way out of the dark booth. This title manages to successfully add the elements that made Resident Evil 4 such a great game. The Evil Within is just around the corner, coming out in just under two months for both last gen and current gen consoles as well as Windows.