Thursday, September 3, 2015

Game Review: The Evil Within

The Evil Within had the ingredients for a great game. Interesting characters, really nice graphics, and a genuine creepy atmosphere made by the creator of Resident Evil which certainly doesn't hold back on the amount of blood in a scene. So why is it just a mediocre game?

Because, unfortunately, it also has a problem of making zero amount of sense. You play as Sebastian, a detective who investigates a massacre at a mental hospital with his partners Joseph and rookie Kidman. Sounds simple enough, right? Well as it turns out, a select number of patients are hooked up to a program named STEM who are mentally connected and maybe that happened to the main characters before they entered because there is a missing poster for Joseph and maybe Kidman is involved somehow because she wants to kill one of the patients though I don't know what her motivations are as her memories were wiped by an evil organization and maybe Joseph died and maybe he didn't. Also, in the DLC you save your game by petting a cat.

You would think questioning reality would be a great feature in the game, and there are one or two scenes where this is executed extremely well, in particular when Sebastian falls and lands on the wrong side of a room. But ultimately, this game is trying to do too many things without explaining much of anything, and this space could have been used instead to develop the three main characters. There is a subplot going on where Joseph reported Sebastian to internal affairs for being intoxicated, but this is only mentioned briefly in one scene and handled badly. And Kidman is barely developed at all. A great deal of the backstory is found in reading material more than anything else.

Things are nonsensical and the characters do not react like normal people would at times. Sebastian suffers a devastating leg wound by a chain saw in one scene, and he is fine the next without questioning it (this is before he aware of STEM, by the way). Later he is also shot the head by Kidman and pretty much has a 'meh' reaction to the whole thing. It also really doesn't happen that the Ensign translation of this game is really, really bad.

As for the gameplay, it's all right but there is a steep difficulty curve. Resources to upgrade seem few and far between, and enemies need to be burned with a limited supply of matches or else they can be revived. Eventually it got to a point where I was simply overpowered and could not finish. Sometimes it was better to run instead of fight, but even then it wasn't enough.

FINAL GRADE: 3 out of 5. The atmosphere and visuals do not make for a storyline that does too much and leaves too many things unresolved. I even watched the DLC's to see if it made anymore sense, without success. It was really only the Wiki which made some of this mess bearable.

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