If you don't know already, Shinji Mikami, creator of the universally known Resident Evil franchise has a new studio - Tango Gameworks. And their first game heads back to the genre that Mikami originally found success in back in the mid-1990s. Bad news out of the way first, The Evil Within has been delayed slightly, missing it's original August release date and now terrorising our screens on October 24th.
The Evil Within whys away from the style of almost comic horror found within the recent Resident Evil titles in favour of a more traditional poop-your-pants-and-dispose-of-them-quickl-type affair, probably better known as physiological horror. You'll step into the shoes of Detective Sebastian Castellanos, a dapper cop with a blatant disregard for fear or even his general wellbeing. While investigating the scene of a particularly gruesome, mass murder, Sebastian and associates are ambushed and knocked unconscious. Upon awakening, he finds himself in a pretty spooky world, full of deranged creatures and the sort of things that would keep you up at night.
And that's where I come in. Bethesda kindly invited us down to have hands-on experience withthe E3 demo of their upcoming nightmare simulator. The Bethesda rep even described the room that we'd be going hands-on in as "smelled of fear". Two portions of the game taken from Chapters 4 & 8 were available for us to endure.
Our first taste had us scouring a disturbing village for a patient belonging to the doctor I was with. Why we were looking for him, or even partnered up wasn't explained. The village was extremely detailed, mist covered the ground lightly, creatures wandered and shuffled around generating an air of discomfort. Once spotted, they'd attack you with crudely made hatchets, scythes and any sharp object that they'd happen to be holding. Sebastian can collect matches, which are dotted around the world, it's essential to keep a ready supply of them handy as it's the best way of ridding the land of the evil that ambushed you. A few shots from your trusty revolver and the creature is knocked off their feet and can often look dead, at this time you're able to light a match and ignite them, evaporating them from the world.
Our Bethesda representative really emphasised how important scavenging for loot was and boy, was he right. Ammo, on anything other than the easiest difficulty, is in seriously short supply and health packs, which take the form of syringes, are few and far between. It's really worth looking around, items can be found in the most unlikely of places. Cupboards, cabinets, boxes, under beds and even inside things. I accidentally sliced one of the village pigs open, only to find two precious bullets inside. Grim.
Our second section appeared to be a less than subtle nod towards Resident Evil 1, taking place within an similarly iconic, grand mansion. The objective was pretty clear, gain access to the large double-doors that slammed shut as we entered. Strangely, above the door was three, large, empty syringes, which on closer inspection appeared to be the key to the unlock. Searching the mansion found the usual sort of unsavoury characters that seemed determined to ruin my day as well as a few puzzles. Perhaps the most gruesome thing I encountered was how to activate the syringes. The mansion had been home to all sorts of disgusting and downright terrifying experiments and the only way to open the door in the grand mansion hall was by inserting electrodes into had disembowelled heads in order to gain a reaction from a certain part of the subject's brain. Yeah, that's right. It really made me feel a little queasy.
The Evil Within really isn't for the faint of heart. The jump scares, ghoulish monsters and just remarkably unsettling atmosphere are pulled off with ease, the first boss fight encountered is that off a freakish spider lady who spawns from a pool of blood with her limbs flailing wildly. Attempting to shoot her was not advisable as she appeared to be almost indestructible, so, I ran and didn't look back.
The Evil Within gives you nightmares on October 24th 2014 releasing on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.