PREVIEW: The Evil Within [XOne / PS4 / PC]

It really is a very strange world, we spend the first few years of our lives trying to avoid being scared and we can’t help it. We are afraid of the dark, afraid of creepy crawlies, afraid of the unknown… hell, we grow up trained to be scared of everything that might have most remote potential to us (you know, like hot dogs and drop bears?). So why is it that we love it when computer games scare the living snot out of us, and why do we worship the games that do?

[img_big]center,11045,2014-04-17/online_asylum_wheelchair_1397466501.png,The Evil Within[/img_big]

On August 11, 1965 a man was born in the south of Japan. Since then, this man has made it his sole purpose in life to get our adrenaline pumping and send shivers down our spine. Who is this man? Shinji Mikami.

His name might not mean a lot to some, but his legacy is known to almost everyone, thanks to the two words that strike fear into all who love the horror genre: Resident Evil.

He’s been away from horror for a little while, but now, Mikami is back, with his new title The Evil Within. You play detective Sebastian Castellanos, who finds more than what he was bargaining for, while investigating a mass murder. Dragged into a deranged world full of evil by a mysterious force, it is your job – as Castellanos – to work out what is going on, while everyone around you is mutating and trying to kill you.

The Evil Within is one of the few games that has been developed exclusively for the latest generation of consoles – you will only find this one on PS4, Xbox One or PC. Simply put, nothing else has the grunt to show the game as it is meant to be seen. And where is this game meant to be seen? On a large screen with a even bigger speaker system. This really is survival horror, and it will make you jump and it will put you on the edge of your seat.

We were able to check out two chapters from the middle of the game – about two hours worth of gameplay. Now I have to admit something here, I suck at console controllers. Really. You’re probably better off giving me a set of knitting needles and asking me to make a sweater, so I didn’t progress nearly as far as I should have, and I died… a lot.

The selected chapters focused on a couple of areas of the game. The first: A small village where we were sent to find Leslie, a female patient and the sole survivor of whatever hit the asylum. Of course, this wasn’t made easy. The Evil Within isn’t the type of game where you can find crates of ammo sitting on every corner. If you do find ammo it is off the beaten track hiding in a drawer, and when you get it, you discover there are only six shells.

There are two must-have items in The Evil Within: Shells and matches. Why matches, you might ask – well, the mutants you’re fighting have a habit of not dying when you shoot them. Firing at them will slow them down somewhat, however the only way to guarantee they won’t come back and use your head as a stick holder is to turn them into flaming corpses.

In the world of survival horror nothing comes easy, and thanks to the level of Silent Hill-esque psychological horror, the rules of reality are simply thrown out of the window. I mean… Where did that wall appear from? Who is this guy who keeps killing me with one punch? (I’m pretty sure he would end up in jail in many parts of Australia now…) Why does that girl kinda look like a mutated crap? WHY THE HELL CAN’T I KILL THEM?

That’s right, there are actually enemies in The Evil Within you can’t kill, well at least not in the early part of the game. So what can you do? Run, because your life depends on it.

In case you hadn’t guessed, this game is all about surviving. Sure, you might say that’s a goal of most games, but surviving is the sole goal of The Evil Within. Your time in-game is all about making sure you have enough ammo and matches for the next bad guy, making sure one punch doesn’t kill, and making sure all the mutants with half pulled-off faces don’t try to kill you.

[img_big]center,11045,2013-12-03/TEW_SS_0606_11_1382606610.png,The Evil Within[/img_big]

Now look, I don’t scare easily. I did look in the mirror once, and that was pretty scary… but games don’t really do it for me. So I have a simple rating: Did I get a shiver down my spine?

This rating is reserved for games that are truly scary. The best example of this for me? The original F.E.A.R. games. They sent shivers down my spine constantly. And now, I can happily put The Evil Within into this very small group of games.

Atmosphere is the key here: Dark and shadowy with plenty of surprises and noises, just you and your small collection of firearms, and of course your trusty matches.

Blood, screams and shivers down the spine. Who else but Shinji Mikami can deliver on this? If you have ever been a fan of the Resident Evil series, or just of having the living bollocks scared out of you, then you must check this out. A beautifully evil world where everyone is out to kill you, it will scare you more than a politician in Speedos.

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