The Evil Within Game Hands-On Experience Impressions
Originally Published on the Official Blast Away the Game Review Facebook Page
Written by Aaron Johnson
Before Quakecon, I had been told that I would be able to play The Evil Within demo from E3, plus a newer demo that hadn’t been played before. I was chomping at the bit to play the newest game from the Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, (RE4 is one of my top five games) and rumors were floating around he was going back to his survival horror roots like RE and RE2.
Right after I arrived, and picked up my press badge, I pretty much went straight for The Evil Within demo and luckily there wasn’t a line to wait in, on either the PS4 or Xbox One, so naturally I went for the PS4, due to the gamepad feeling more natural in my hands. I was shown to a booth by a helpful Bethesda volunteer and told to watch the Introduction to get familiar with the story, but I wasn’t interested in the story yet, just because I don’t like to spoil the story for myself before my first full run through of the game. I just skipped the intro and went right into the first demo but was quickly directed by the Bethesda staff that that demo wasn’t running as it should and to switch to the E3 2nd demo.
Once I started, the correctly running, demo, we’re introduced to the game in the 8th chapter, in a haze of grey that gradually transitions into reality. Once everything looks normal, you gain control of the protagonist on the outskirts of an old mansion that has the feel that something supernatural, dark, and evil is at work. You open the gate to the courtyard of the mansion, and see a doctor with a patient on his arm walking into the mansion that looks abandoned, the mansion itself is seemingly a nod to RE and the mansion it takes place in. You open the mansion door trying to catch up to the doctor and patient you saw, and you see the same doctor and patient enter into this large mechanical door that closes behind them, before you have a chance to speak with them.
Now this is where the first puzzle starts pretty much because on the door the doctor walked through has three empty vials with tubes leading away from the door in three different directions. So in following the tube on the left brought me to this desk with a half a human skull and brain in a mechanical base (this puzzle has three different desks with brains and a probe), upon approach a command prompt pops up and in goes into some audio and you control a probe and can look around, which was very important because there is a map of the brain with pins in certain parts already and the audio that is playing gives you clues as where to probe. I don’t know if this was supposed to happen but while in the puzzle you’re invincible and if there are enemies on you before the puzzle prompt, right after that piece of the puzzle is solved the enemies were on the ground, dead. After hitting the right area of the brain the probe injects a nail into the selected spot and blood flows through the machine, through the tube and into one of the empty vials on the door you’re trying to open, now only two other brain probing stations to figure out. After two of the brain stations that aren’t too hard to find, is another puzzle to get to the third and final probing station, which involves finding two safe dials and again paying attention to the environment where you found each safe dial. Once you crack the safe you’re on the way to the last probing station. Depending how fast you do this, the protagonist will show up around the2:20 minute mark but will appear ghostly and attempts to just touch you, and if he succeeds, well it doesn’t matter if you’re at full health or half, you will be at almost zero health. While running away from the ghostly protagonist seems like a great idea, it’s not the best due to you only have a set amount of stamina that runs out quickly, so finding a closet to hide in is much better, if you are lucky enough to find one in time. He will appear several times throughout the demo.
All throughout the game play, there are a few different types of enemies I happened upon, one that threw sling blades (at least it looked like a sling blade) another just mauling with they’re hands, and I swear one was shooting at me. Hand to hand combat is not effective at all, it just knocks back enemies. Unless you are able to sneak up on said enemies, then you perform a takedown and while you have a decent arsenal, you don’t have much ammo, so aim wisely. Most of these weapons would kill mostly anything, they don’t quite finish the job, but a single match will. Once they are burnt to a crisp they are permanently dead, another nod to RE I believe, and if you don’t burn the enemies, they get right back up and attempt to kill you again and again, also matches are in short supply as well and could only carry five at the time. The weapons wheel only slows time instead of stopping the game play, like in the Mass Effect series at the weapon or power wheel game play just paused, and I am happy at this implementation, because it adds a sense of urgency. But this was an alpha build the Bethesda staff kept saying, so everything could change, but most likely there will be minor changes here and there.
As for the graphics, it’s not the most beautiful game I have ever laid eyes on, as the demo had a grainy filter that added to the survival horror environment but none the less, I am more excited now for the release than I was before Quakecon. Also The Evil Within is for previous and current gen, and it’s a Bethesda game. What I mean by that is during Quakecon, at the Geoff Keighley panel, Pete Hines, Bethesda’s VP of Marketing and PR, was saying that Bethesda worries about its consumers first and they have fans on all platforms, so they don’t play favorites, they maximize the experience to how they feel it should be and they make it equal across the board. Of course PC has the upper and due to better gpu’s than consoles, have modding programs from the developer, and many other things that I wish was available to the average PSN/Xbox user, instead you need a modded console, which can earn you a lifetime ban on either network. So in all, I am very excited for the game, as I have mine pre-ordered already. If you have doubts about The Evil Within just watch the new game play footage on YouTube and all worries will be put to rest.