The Evil Within: Review Round-Up
Two top games reviewed in 24 hours. Here’s a review round-up for Resident Evil mastermind Shinji Mikami’s latest game, The Evil Within. While the reviews aren’t as overwhelmingly positive as they were for Bayonetta 2, The Evil Within certainly seems like a game worth picking up for fans of the survival horror genre and Shinji Mikami’s previous work.
“Horror fans shouldn’t let the disappointing story deter them one bit, however. Few Paranormal Activity fans care how these malevolent demons come back again and again – what truly matters is that the audience’s nerves are frayed until they’re raw. The Evil Within excels at keeping your palms sweaty while delivering a harrowingly rewarding gameplay trial. Watching the credits roll with a sigh of relief doesn’t feel like winning; it feels like surviving.”
“The Evil Within is a brutal, challenging, and remarkably fun game. Its eerie world and imaginative enemies are genuinely frightening, and the scares are heightened significantly by the scarcity of resources at your disposal. It keeps the odds stacked against you to the point that they often feel insurmountable, yet it’s finely tuned to ensure that they never really are, as long as you can keep a cool head and a steady aim in the face of building panic. While its story ends up buckling under its own ambition, there is little here that takes away from the joy of experiencing survival horror under the steady hand of a master of the craft.”
“Evil Within just plain doesn’t give you a fair chance to succeed. It doesn’t provide enough information for you to make good decisions and it handicaps your ability to fight well. It requires so much repetition that it can’t possibly maintain any sense of tension or unease, and its story is told so aimlessly that you’ll likely forget the plot between scenes. It manages a few moments of inspiration, but their scarcity makes them feel like fortunate accidents rather than deliberate elements of the overall design. It’s covered in blood, but the only thing truly horrifying about The Evil Within is how disappointing it is.”
“The Evil Within has great moments where the excellent combat and creepy environmental design come together. But those moments are fleeting, inevitably sapped of their delightful terror by design choices that feel trapped in the glory days of a decade ago. There’s something to be said for respecting your past successes and building off of them, but The Evil Within is only ever completely successful at half of that equation.”
“At its controller clutching best, The Evil Within evokes memories of Silent Hill’s high points – but it’s the Resident Evil comparisons that are most consistent throughout. Unfair difficulty spikes swap out the title’s pervading sense of fear for outright frustration at times, while technical issues undo the developer’s outstanding art direction. Thankfully, legendary director Shinji Mikami doesn’t disappoint in the gameplay department, forcing you to get creative with your plentiful combat options due to an unending absence of resources. It’s here that developer Tango Gameworks finds the breathless brilliance within.”
“Despite borrowing a lot of well-worn themes from other games and movies (Hello, creepy shop mannequins from Silent Hill), The Evil Within feels fresh and exciting. It’s easy to recommend to fans of the original Dead Space and the earlier Resident Evil games.”
“At times it feels like a Mikami megamix: it has the village with the chainsaw-wielding dude, another mansion, etc. But Mikami does this so well it’s difficult to get annoyed. It’s not unusual for directors in either film or games to recall past glories, and few do it better than Mikami. Even though this isn’t his best, The Evil Within has enough magic to make it a worthy investment.”
“Yes, The Evil Within is a determinedly old-fashioned game (even the washed out, near-monochrome visuals don’t exactly scream “next-gen” at you). But it’s a rare treat in a fast-twitch world for those who view themselves as survival horror aficionados.
“And beyond the gameplay, it serves up a more than respectable helping of pure, if at times rather off-the-wall, horror. If that’s what you seek, and are prepared to accept a bit of clunkiness as a trade-off, you will love it.”
“Rather than the future of survival horror this is merely a retread of its defining moments, and even then it rarely manages to equal what has gone before – let alone exceed it.”
“While certainly not reaching the great heights that this wonderful director has reached in his past, he has certainly taken the elements that have worked for him over the years and placed almost all of them into The Evil Within. The result is a very enjoyable, terrifying albeit muddled experience which I would still highly recommend to fans of horror games or of the world of the great Shinji Mikami.”
“Evil Within grafts Resident Evil 4’s gold standard survival action to a far less forgiving world. That it even comes close to matching Capcom’s masterpiece is cause to celebrate. And sweat. And quiver.”