Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023
Preview: The Evil Within is the new old Resident Evil

The first two or three times we got to see a hands-off demo of it The evil within—the new survival horror title from the man who practically created the genre, resident evil creator Shinji Mikami – we were clearly unimpressed with the game’s extremely slow pace and lack of real suspense. So our first chance to actually play an early build of the game came with low expectations. And while the experience exceeded those expectations, it contained enough issues to still make us wary of the final product.

Our demo immediately threw us into missions that represent the fourth and eighth chapters of the game without much context for the eerie happenings around us. The first demo chapter started with an attempt to find a doctor’s missing patient, Leslie, but quickly turned into a standard escape from the encroaching undead with little clear storyline. The second chapter featured a number of ghostly flashbacks about Leslie’s own lonely descent into madness and the good doctor’s attempt to keep him in check. just badly written.

Immediately, The evil within much more reminiscent of the slow, cerebral early resident evil games than the shootings that followed in the aftermath of Resident Evil 4. Ammo is extremely scarce and the design favors players who are able to sneak around and avoid confrontations rather than run into them. The game’s undead enemies are generally the slow, shuffling kind that charge right at you with enough opportunity to line up a headshot, assuming you’ve got a bullet to spare (and, ideally, a lit match to ignite the corpse and prevent it from resuming). -animate).

Even if you’re in front of a room full of these zombies, the difficulty is in killing them all without wasting too many bullets rather than avoiding their slow, methodical approach. There’s some strategy to luring these zombies into explosive tripwires and other hazards that help you do the work for you, but for the most part we weren’t impressed with the slow combat and choppy, staged animations of the undead threats . The only exception in the demo was a hair-raising Spider-Woman hybrid, all red swinging legs with cutting pointy tips, which sets off a thrilling chase down a creepy hallway.

Aside from that, the tension mainly comes from a hooded apparition named Ruvik, who seems to appear randomly just when you’re starting to feel safe. It’s not that hard to run out of the way when Ruvik methodically marches at you with an outstretched, killer arm, but doing so often washes you out of hiding or into one of the many death traps dotted on the walls. placed. easy to switch off in quieter conditions. The demo levels we played through were extremely unforgiving, with just one or two missteps enough to earn a trip back to a checkpoint saved up to ten minutes earlier. This makes the smallest mistake feel particularly costly, and it raises the stakes in even the simplest of encounters.

Footage from a demo shown at last year’s Tokyo Game Show.

The evil within also very reminiscent of the past resident evil in the arcane puzzles that you often have to solve in order to progress. One chapter in the demo was set in a large Gothic mansion (sound familiar?) and required a lot of slow exploration through the cavernous chambers to unlock an intricate three-piece lock for a huge vault-like door at the back of the lobby. The find-the-pieces-of-this-key and the search-for-the-secret-room-unlock button gameplay felt hopelessly dated or charmingly retro, depending on how you look at it and how you feel about early survival horror games these days .

outside the game, The evil within raises the creepy factor through frequent, hard-to-digest bouts of madness in the world around you (“We must collectively go mad,” the protagonist helpfully and directly explains at one point). Doors explode open with a torrent of hip-high blood, Appears-style. Terrible Sarlaac-like with teeth will appear out of nowhere and drag you to your death, unless you have the presence of mind to shoot the door opener button. At one point, while falling down a seemingly endless corridor, the world around you suddenly fades into an orthogonal corridor, pushing you down with a shrieking thud on what was a wall a second before. Some of these surprises come across as trite, but overall it gives a strong impression that you can’t really believe your own senses in this world.

The game is certainly not above the brutal school of horror either. In addition to the room-o’-blood discussed above, one of the main motifs in the demo was puzzles that involved electrically prodding and prodding specific areas of the exposed brain on semi-living cadavers that had their skulls removed. Recovered audio recordings seem to revel in the screams of these anguished subjects alongside eerily clinical descriptions of the mad scientist who initially set up the experiments. At one point, an obviously deranged butcher begins literally tearing chunks off his face due to a persistent itch. Both zombie and player deaths are rendered with a maximum amount of creepiness, reminiscent of The last of us (it was a bit much for me personally).

It all adds up to a game that’s much more intense to play than previous hands-off demos led us to believe, but it’s also one with some downright dated gameplay choices that still feel pretty rough. With the release date for the PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows just pushed back to later October (just in time for Halloween), hopefully the developers have plenty of time to refine this into a seamless, slick survival horror experience.

By akfire1

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