Horror Game Masterpieces: The Evil Within
After the release of Resident Evil 4 in 2005, Capcom decided to move the series to a more action focus with Resident Evil 5 and 6. Although the two parts sold well for the company, they did not get positive feedback from the gamer community. Resident Evil has always been known for its mix of action and horror, and turning the entire series into action wasn't the right decision for Capcom.
In 2010 Bethesda's Tango Gameworks studio was founded and in just 4 years, they released their first game for us, The Evil Within. This game was the start of a strong series that brought back the feel and gameplay that we missed from the Resident Evil series.
Was The Evil Within the go-to game for this genre?
The answer is simply no, The Evil Within was inspired by many of the ideas that were integral for the first parts of the Resident Evil series such as:
- Mixing action and horror
- Ammo and resources are scarce throughout the gameplay
For Tango Gameworks to draw these ideas from the Resident Evil series does not mean that The Evil Within is a bad game, but rather that the game was able to offer players what Resident Evil has not provided for many years. The only gameplay mechanic that makes The Evil Within so different from Resident Evil is the ability to skip many situations by stealth.
The story revolves around a police officer, Sebastian Castellanos, who receives a distress message for him and his companions from the Beacon Psychiatric Hospital. Once they reach the hospital, they find that it has become a place of violence and blood; with only one person alive. Sebastian and his companions are drugged by the game's main enemy, Ruvik, who puts them in an alternate reality by connecting their brains to a device he built. In this device, Ruvik tortures Sebastian by projecting his personal fears before his eyes, and also manipulates the environments and the world around them for his own benefit.
The first part of The Evil Within managed to leave me in awe for the duration of my experience with the game. Tango Gameworks has created a terrifying and quirky world that focuses on scaring you as a player by presenting it with action, not just boring flicks.
The most terrifying thing about The Evil Within is the design of the enemies. There are two types of enemies in The Evil Within: the regular ones that you will encounter in the various stages of the game, and the boss fights. I want to focus more on 2 bosses of the game.
The first is The Keeper. The design of this enemy is notably inspired by the popular Pyramid Head in the Silent Hill series. The Keeper will appear in many stages of the game as a Boss Fight, and sometimes even chase you until you stand in front of him for a final confrontation.
The second boss is Laura. I won't talk much about its story because it's tied to the main events of the game and I don't want to burn the fun of the experience for you. All I can say is that you are not ready to stand up to this fishy creature. When I heard her scream in the game, I was actually screaming myself because it reminded me a lot of a poltergeist from The Grudge movies.
The first part of The Evil Within offered a great horror experience, but it wasn't flawless and got a lot of criticism from the gamer community. Only three years later, Tango Gameworks released the second part of the series, which is better than the first, but not better in every aspect
The Evil Within 2 and the Identity Loss Problem
In 2017, we got the second part of the series, and Tango studio has proven that it works from the mistakes of the first part, it has worked to improve the game in terms of:
- The design of the world is now relatively open and allows you the freedom to move and complete missions differently. A set of side quests have also been added that increase the fun of exploration and reward you for facing dangers
- The design of enemies has become more diverse from the first part, and facing the bosses in the game is more powerful and exciting
- This is a personal preference for me, but I think that the story of the second part provided me with better details and events than the first part
Although the game gave me a relatively better experience than the first part, it lost its basic identity and did not provide me with a horror experience that lived up to the level of the first part. The main problem with the second part is that the game focused more on survival than horror, and sometimes the game was heading to action confrontations that made me feel like I'm playing Resident Evil 5 and this feeling I don't like to get from any horror game.
This does not mean that the game is not worth a try, The Evil Within 2 still offers a very good horror and survival experience and outperforms the first in some ways including the level of graphics that is greatly improved. Unfortunately, do not expect the game to be as scary as you would like.
In conclusion, The Evil Within is a very special series and one of the best horror experiences of the last decade. Both games are not without bugs and problems, but they gave me a great experience that will always hold a special place in my heart. My only wish right now is that Tango Gameworks returns to work on a third instalment in the series after it finishes releasing its new game, Ghostwire: Tokyo, coming to PC and PlayStation 5 in early 2022.
You can watch the Evil Within on a Let's Play as part of our Streamhain halloween celebration over on our youtube.
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