The Evil Within TLDR Review

JCAHO will be so pissed

JCAHO will be so pissed

Creating a next-gen version of Resident Evil 4 in 2014 whist being lauded for genius-level game development the likes of which the world has never seen.

Game informer calls it: “A masterwork of Absolute Insanity!”  You want to know what’s insane?  The plot.  Can anyone out there honestly tell me what the fuck is going on in this game?  I get it that it’s Japan and they’re totally nuts.  It’s an island cut-off from the rest of the world and their culture has developed in a vacuum that has created an environment where it’s okay to think you’re going into a spa but in reality you just placed yourself in a rocket chair.  I think it’s great for them as it’s clearly worked out for people like myself who love marveling at a society where crazy shit is the norm.  That said, this plotline is completely nonsensical even for Japan.

The game starts off with our character exploring a hospital where everyone is dead.  Okay, creepy.  We check out a security camera and notice some maniac with god-tier speed killing 3 cops in 3 seconds.  Said psychopath then appears behind us and injects our body with an unknown substance.  We “wake up” in the basement of the hospital only to find that we’re literally hanging from a meat hook.  A chainsaw wielding maniac then chases us through an elaborate maze of terror only to escape in an elevator that seemingly heals a chainsaw injury we previously sustained to our leg.  And that was the part that made sense.

After we leave the hospital we jump in a moving ambulance that’s attempting to escape the hospital grounds which are now churning like my insides after eating some waldodude rosarita santarita mountainman chile.  Phew, that was close.  Wrong!  The driver of our ambulance spontaneously sprouts a variety of pustules and growths from his face before driving our ambulance off a cliff.  Once again, we “wake up” in what appears to be a hospital.  Luckily this facility comes stock with a nightmare chair that bores into your brain and upgrades your abilities with brain juice  currency you’ll find scattered around camp nowhere.  Worried you wont be able to find your way back to the action?  Not a problem because the “demented” mind of Shinji Mikami has you covered by means of teleporting mirrors.  Still following me?

Here’s a reality check; Shinji Mikami did something brilliant in 1996 when he released Resident Evil.  It was a game that no one had seen before.  It was scary, gripping, and it even had a plot that non-mensa members could follow.  You had extremely limited resources to work your way through the mansion.  In addition to limited guns and ammo, you even had to contend with limited inventory space AND limited saves!  It all gelled together and created an environment  that I’ll never forget and had far too much fun with.  Flash forward to 2002 and I’d argue Mikami did it again with Resident Evil 4, however this time the game was far more action oriented and placed a greater focus on combat whereas previous titles (especially Resident Evil) had prioritized puzzles over combat.

If we’re going to call Resident Evil the survival horror title that started it all, I just don’t see being able to cram The Evil Within inside that same category.  Evil Within feels like a spiritual succesor to RE4 which seems driven home by means of chainsaw dudes, cultists, and the overwhelming importance placed on combat versus storyline and puzzles.  I’d classify Evil Within in a genre closer to the action side of things.  It’s a story driven action game that takes place in a multitude of nonsensical environments.  I think if Shiji Mikami really wanted to make a scary game or solidify Evil Within’s place inside the survival horror genre, he should’ve done so by means of a plot line that doesn’t have the player teleporting through mirrors and constantly waking up in new environments.  That’s not remotely scary or spooky.  It actually comes off as a bit lazy because we aren’t watching a multi-faceted story slowly come together over the course of a game.  Instead we’re taking the Lost approach where nothing makes sense but that’s okay because they were dead and it wasn’t supposed to.

I really can’t close this page without a special mention of the locked frames at 30 FPS and the skewed god knows what aspect ratio that somebody supposedly thought lent a cinematic feel to the game?  Bullshit.  Total and complete bullshit.  We all know it was done to make things easier on consoles and they skated by shat out a mediocre PC port.  You can modify your launch parameters in steam which allows access to the console and unlock frames and aspect ratio.  The frame fix does seem to work although I’ve been getting occasional stutters even with a high-end GTX 970.  Modifying your aspect ratio doesn’t work because the character takes up 3/4 of the screen and there’s no FOV slider to adjust accordingly.  10/10 IGN.

TLDR: Fun game despite it’s technical problems and story incongruities.  It plays like a modern day RE4.  If you liked RE4 and have $60 to blow, I say go for it.

14 comments

  1. Why do all the “next gen” games keep sucking ass? It’s really dampening my hopes for DA:I and other upcoming titles. Anyways thanks for the review, glad I waited for you to play it so that I didn’t waste 60$ on it (sounds kinda selfish but oh well). Also grats on the sub button duder, you know I’ll be subbing asap.

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  2. Lazy ports steam my fucking beans like no other. PC players shell out good money for quality PC equipment such as monitors with low delay and high refresh rates. And these ignorant game devs have the gall to insist on only utilizing half of the screen area for the sake of “cinematic feel”? Go make a damn movie if that’s how you feel! This type of garbage has no place in video games which are an inherently interactive experience.

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  3. Cizzymac:
    Lazy ports steam my fucking beans like no other.

    My beans are also steamed… with maybe a lil salt and pepper for taste. I’m miffed enough by the shitty PC port that I’ll hold off on buying this one. Then again, I wanted ‘scary’ too. When I want survival horror, I want to be scared or at least weirded out a little, and I can’t say I find TEW particularly scary. A few jump scares here and there, but not the kind of scary I was expecting. I wanted something that gets under your skin with ambiance like the original amnesia; where as this feels like a cross between Resident Evil and the original Dead Space to me.

    I agree with your idea that it’s not scary with your constantly waking up in new environments too. Part of what makes some other games (P.T. for example) scary is letting you get comfortable with your surroundings then breaking that comfort zone. TEW has monsters fighting over who gets to be up in your face next and I have a hard time finding anything actually scary when you have enough ammo to murder them all into the next zip code.

    ._. I just wanted some scary.

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  4. Amy: My beans are also steamed… with maybe a lil salt and pepper for taste.I’m miffed enough by the shitty PC port that I’ll hold off on buying this one.Then again, I wanted ‘scary’ too.When I want survival horror, I want to be scared or at least weirded out a little, and I can’t say I find TEW particularly scary.A few jump scares here and there, but not the kind of scary I was expecting.I wanted something that gets under your skin with ambiance like the original amnesia; where as this feels like a cross between Resident Evil and the original Dead Space to me.

    I agree with your idea that it’s not scary with your constantly waking up in new environments too.Part of what makes some other games (P.T. for example) scary is letting you get comfortable with your surroundings then breaking that comfort zone.TEW has monsters fighting over who gets to be up in your face next and I have a hard time finding anything actually scary when you have enough ammo to murder them all into the next zip code.

    ._.I just wanted some scary.

    Not that you can’t have alternate dimension scary but at this point in time the whole parasite/genome strain/zombie thing has been beaten to death. I much would’ve preferred something far more rooted in realistic day to day life. IMO there’s nothing more scary than the fringes of humanity because it’s so plausible. Regardless of the scenario, in order to make anything truly scary you have to be able to picture yourself there at the time.

    Continually waking up in another place and teleporting by means of mirror just sucks me right out of the moment.

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  5. You can fix the framerate cap and aspect ratio on the pc (FoV should be possible too with cvaradd g_fov to increase or decrease it from the default low value). But the port is crap nonetheless. Rage ran at 60fps non-stop on a potato and the new Wolfenstein was decent too, but this can barely reach 60fps even on a R9 290X or 980GTX. :

    http://gamegpu.ru/action-/-fps-/-tps/the-evil-within-test-gpu.html

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  6. Yeah, so far this year’s games have mostly been disappointing. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that some of them are over-hyped, our expectations are naturally set too high, or that game developers are still trying to get a feel for how best to use the current gen consoles. Now, this applies to graphics, frame rate, and the like, but when some of these games lack story, depth, or purpose of doing ANYTHING (Destiny *cough cough*), then it’s inexcusable. So yeah, I’ll agree with everyone in that this year’s games mostly suck ass, but 2015’s lineup is looking pretty impressive, so I have hope yet.

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  7. Gundogan:
    You can fix the framerate cap and aspect ratio on the pc (FoV should be possible too with cvaradd g_fov to increase or decrease it from the default low value). But the port is crap nonetheless. Rage ran at 60fps non-stop on a potato and the new Wolfenstein was decent too, but this can barely reach 60fps even on a R9 290X or 980GTX. :

    http://gamegpu.ru/action-/-fps-/-tps/the-evil-within-test-gpu.html

    the aspect ratio fix doesn’t work because theres no FoV slider. your character ends up taking up 1/3 of the screen. Not worth it.

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  8. Forgi:
    Yeah, so far this year’s games have mostly been disappointing.I’m not sure if it’s the fact that some of them are over-hyped, our expectations are naturally set too high, or that game developers are still trying to get a feel for how best to use the current gen consoles.Now, this applies to graphics, frame rate, and the like, but when some of these games lack story, depth, or purpose of doing ANYTHING (Destiny *cough cough*), then it’s inexcusable.So yeah, I’ll agree with everyone in that this year’s games mostly suck ass, but 2015’s lineup is looking pretty impressive, so I have hope yet.

    Clearly we’re set up for failure with the disingenuous advertising on these games versus the reality of playing them. I also want to differentiate between hype versus the aforementioned disingenuous advertising. Anything has to be advertised in order to get the word out. Putting on flashy shows, superbowl commercials, and attaching your game to soft drinks IMO = hype. The difference is we were clearly lead to believe something that blatantly wasn’t true OR the reviewers cherry picked the shit out of the titles in order to sell them.

    I don’t know what the solution is to this problem other than doing what we’re doing here and attempting to create a community of critically minded people who will eventually have a large enough presence to make themselves heard and let the larger gaming community know that this is totally unacceptable behavior and ends up hurting everyone in the long run.

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  9. WaldoDude: Clearly we’re set up for failure with the disingenuous advertising on these games versus the reality of playing them.I also want to differentiate between hype versus the aforementioned disingenuous advertising.Anything has to be advertised in order to get the word out.Putting on flashy shows, superbowl commercials, and attaching your game to soft drinks IMO = hype.The difference is we were clearly lead to believe something that blatantly wasn’t true OR the reviewers cherry picked the shit out of the titles in order to sell them.

    I don’t know what the solution is to this problem other than doing what we’re doing here and attempting to create a community of critically minded people who will eventually have a large enough presence to make themselves heard and let the larger gaming community know that this is totally unacceptable behavior and ends up hurting everyone in the long run.

    Creating and having a “community” of like-minded, critical thinkers in terms of gaming/media is all well and good, but unfortunately, these groups will always be drowned out by the moronic cretins that out number the rational thinkers. It’s why you get that feeling when meeting another like-minded gamer, or someone with a similar opinion. “Great!”, you think, “Someone who isn’t a complete retard when it comes to mechanics of a game and the cohesion of a narrative”.

    But, society, in all it’s forms, has to move along according to the slowest among us. Want to drive a little faster? Nope, little Jimmy was driving too fast and ditched his care = Speed limit. Want to do drugs and drink? Nope, Little Tammy got carried away and went to hospital with liver failure and died shortly afterward = Drugs are illegal… You get the idea.

    It’s just par for the course now that the majority of games are poorly executed and then lapped up by the cretins. It’s fucking disgusting, but it’s something the sane and rational have to live with. We might have over population to blame for the root cause :/

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  10. WaldoDude: the aspect ratio fix doesn’t work because theres no FoV slider.your character ends up taking up 1/3 of the screen.Not worth it.

    The fov commands don’t work? Bummer. :(

    Also, http://www.guru3d.com/news-story/ubisoft-engineer-says-microsoft-sony-pressuring-them-to-force-30fps-on-pc.html AC Unity is going to be awesome on pc. :E

    And here I thought x86 architecture on every platform would benefit the pc ports. I guess not if the next gen consoles continue to disappoint performance wise.

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  11. While I agree that this is basically RE4 for this generation and this game doesn’t do anything new, I still found myself having a shit ton of fun playing it. I think this game is based more around managing your resources and the gunplay which is think is fantastic, and less about scary stuff. In the end, I wouldn’t call this game a masterpiece like IGN and Gametrailers have because it doesn’t do anything new, yet I’ve had more fun with this game than I had with any other game this year so far, and that is the whole reason why I play video games in the first place.

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  12. Also I personally wouldn’t call Mikami a genius, I just think that he knows what gameplay elements make a game bullshit and what makes a game fun. I would recommend trying out he’s take on both the beat em up genre with God Hand and his hardcore action 3rd person shooter game Vanquish. They are both INSANELY fun and the gameplay elements he adds here and there just make it even better. Not only that, but he will take bullshit elements like escort missions ala Ashley in RE4 or Joseph in The Evil Within, and make them at least bearable and not hair pullingly awful like most escort missions are.

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  13. robflee23:
    While I agree that this is basically RE4 for this generation and this game doesn’t do anything new, I still found myself having a shit ton of fun playing it.I think this game is based more around managing your resources and the gunplay which is think is fantastic, and less about scary stuff.In the end, I wouldn’t call this game a masterpiece like IGN and Gametrailers have because it doesn’t do anything new, yet I’ve had more fun with this game than I had with any other game this year so far, and that is the whole reason why I play video games in the first place.

    I agree the game is still fun despite its convoluted storyline and lack of scare factor. Easily the best when compared to Alien Isolation or Shadows of Mordor.

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  14. TEW definitely did not blow me away, but i will give it credit for being the first game i’ve had enough interest in to buy in over a year. The gameplay, albeit nothing new, was fun enough to suck me in and want to play it for hours on end. Its not a 10/10 game for sure but it deserves a pretty good score in my book. Taking a look at all the other stuff thats been released lately, I do not regret purchasing this game one bit.

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