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Hands-Off Preview: The Evil Within

by on April 13, 2014 3:00 PM 25

Bethesda had a pretty huge booth dedicated to the Shinji Mikami directed The Evil Within. I’ve been curious about this game for some time, especially since information on it has been scarce to say the least. Also, big, elaborate booths draw me in like a moth to a flame so I had to see what this game was about.

This was yet another hands-off demonstration which, in and of itself, isn’t bad. However, all we got were the two demos being screened without any narration from a PR person or developer. After the presentation I spoke to the solo rep in the booth and he told me that the development team is located in Japan and neck deep into development so they couldn’t fly out to the States to talk about the game. They’ll be at E3 to field questions about the game but for now all I had to experience was the stuff shown at PAX.

The first demo took place in a city that was falling apart. Buildings were toppling over and cracks formed in the streets. The entire world was ever changing and the main character had to navigate through perilous streets, allies and sidewalks. After trying not to get killed by the city, the protagonist then had to face a new danger… the undead. This is a Shinji Mikami game so I can’t exactly say that I was surprised by this. The game already had a Resident Evil feel to me but the instant those zombies showed up it became RE to me in all but name.

The second demo took place in the sewers. Here, the main character was trying to evade what I called a “super box head” zombie. It was big and lumbering and could take you out in a few hits. It had a metal box on its head so, while it made it look silly, also made it hard to easily dispatch. The protagonist had to close down huge doors in order to slow it down but eventually had to face the large undead creature. He pulled out a crossbow and shot some kind of ice arrow that froze the zombie. While in this state, the foe was easily killed with a few shotgun shots. This kind of deflated the threat but it was effective.

Zombies can be killed in one of two ways. Like most traditional undead, they could be dealt with permanently via a good old fashioned headshot. The other way is by roasting them alive. When a zombie is downed, an icon indicating that it could be lit on fire appears. When they burn they screech with a high pitched noise that’s really disturbing. They also make a noise when you shoot their heads off which is weird considering that they have no more vocal chords (or throat, or mouth or jaw) to make noise. Zombies could also be stealthily dispatched as well by sneaking up behind them and stabbing them in the head with a knife.

The zombies themselves were of the George Romero type: Slow and lumbering. Some did move faster than others and one even had a machine gun. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are even more zombie types in the final game.

The demo had a limited amount of weapons. There was a handgun, shotgun, sniper rifle and crossbow. While a shotgun is good for completely obliterating a zombie’s cranium, other weapons such as the handgun were good for shooting out their knees to slow them down and make them easier to kill.

This is a survival horror game and the graphics do a good job of presenting a dark and oppressive world. Both demos took place in environments which had different types of lighting (day and night) but both were equally as disturbing feeling. The game has a film grain quality to it and is also presented in a widescreen format. The sound complimented the visuals and they had an appropriately creepy feel to them as well.

At this point in time I’m not really sure what to make of The Evil Within. It looked nice and I respect the man behind it but I don’t see how it will distinguish itself from other survival horror games, especially Resident Evil. I have so many questions about the game, such as what inspired it and what it hopes to introduce to the survival horror genre. I guess we’ll just have to wait until E3 hits to find out more.

Join the Discussion

  • Delsin Row

    1- we just have to play this type of games on the night time , when all the lights is off and also with a headphone. i’m sure i will like this game alot. like the previous titles of mikami. the man knows what to do and i really like him. but please , delete the zombies with the guns. i really hate them. like resident evil 5 when a zombies comes in you’re face with a rpg or submachine gun.

    • Raven Nafariea

      As a fellow Zombie who just happens to be a gun owner, I take offense to your post. =(

      hehe :)

      • Delsin Row

        you like zombies with guns ? if you do , just let me know and i will give you a good reason that you should’nt :D

        • Raven Nafariea

          Actually, I never played any game where Zombies had guns. The last Zombie game I played other than The Last Of Us was COD World at War Zombies, I use to be awesome at that! =)

          • Delsin Row

            i thought you were a fan of zombies with guns. :)
            so you play shoote games ? i thought you are just a girl who loves games like tomb raider , little big planet or inFAMOUS. :)
            turns out , i was wrong. so i think you”ve just leveled up to become “my favorite person”. :)

      • Dr. Manhattan

        As a fellow gun owner I kinda see where he is coming from though, zombies and guns do not belong together as they are visceral creatures. Now, give me my guns so I can waste them please.

    • madbads

      there wont be zombies with guns in this game.

      • http://www.twitch.tv/MC_A_DOT A DOT ASANTE

        “The zombies themselves were of the George Romero type: Slow and lumbering. Some did move faster than others and one even had a machine gun. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are even more zombie types in the final game.”


        • madbads

          huh, i guess should read the article next time ? lol but anyways remember RE4 , RE5?

          • Tony Polanco

            Womp womp.

          • http://www.twitch.tv/MC_A_DOT A DOT ASANTE

            I loved most RES games until I saw RES6….looked to easy.

          • madbads

            same , i even like 5 first it came out , but now not as much. classics up to 4 are best for me. evil within will be somewhere around RE4 but also it will have something on its own i believe.

    • Dr. Manhattan

      That’s the only way to play this type of game, at night with all the lights off! The RE4 zombies were the best which bodes well for this series obviously.

  • Jecht_Sin

    This is on 3rd person view, right? Because I that’s how zombie/horror games must be played! Although I do allow first person view in some cases, like watching through a camera in Fatal Frame/Project Zero, sure. :)

    • Delsin Row

      no sir. this is a third person game.

    • Tony Polanco

      Yup it’s third person.

  • Fersay Ferrera

    I wanna play this on pc, although I own a ps3 and I can`t affordd a ps4. It is way too expensive here in f***ck Brazil.

    • madbads

      PC will look best anyway , also might even get modded , who knows

  • madbads

    I can’t wait this game , this and Dark souls 2 on PC are my most wanted this year.

  • http://www.twitch.tv/MC_A_DOT A DOT ASANTE

    I wanna play this game but I hope the horror isn’t too breathtaking lol I’ve still not finished outlast ($hit myself)

    • Dr. Manhattan

      I could only play Outlast for 30 mins at a time, easily the best horror game I’ve ever played and the DLC was far scarier.

  • Jessenia Lopez


  • Michael Cardwell

    Keep reading a bunch negative press about the game at PAX… Not looking good. The graphics look kinda of last gen as well!

  • PrinceHeir

    Can’t wait for this :)

  • Dr. Manhattan

    This is a must have on my list for this year, I don’t care about the few negative gaming outlets that have knocked it since the second gameplay review for being action oriented. #Shinji Mikami Rocks


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