My CV is shit.
It mainly consists of GCSE grades that I tried to remember off the top of my head, Jobs that I've overly embellished to make 'Barman' seem more important and I think I said I can speak French.
It's basically the polar opposite to Shinji Mikami's. He probably just lists a bunch of legendary games and sticks his phone number at the bottom. And when you run your eyes down the list you'll find yourself already dialling before you reach the end.
Resident Evil 1
and the incredible 4
, Devil May Cry
, God Hand
. It's enough to make you feel sick. And when I was researching him I noticed he'd played a part in games I never knew he had any involvement with. Viewtiful Joe
, Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorny: Justice for All
Screw you Shinji, you employable sod.
When his name is on a game, you have to sit up and take notice, and when I immediately got the Resident Evil 4
vibe from The Evil Within
, I was excited.
One of the main things Shinji got right with RE4
was the shooting. It made you feel as though you were constantly scrambling, and that every bullet counted. You couldn't just quick aim and shoot while looking around the screen for the next enemy. You had to back off, plant your feet, hold your gun up and fire. To survive you had to focus.
For a survival-horror game, that's important. Once it's in my head that I can't just take down an enemy and move onto the next, they become more significant. This is what's been brought forward to The Evil Within
and its wonderful to feel those feelings all over again, because no one has matched it since.
It will have you searching every corner for bullets, assessing whether you actually need to confront a monster or not and constantly make you question what you're doing as you're doing it. You'll even make a mental note of bullets you've had to pass because your pockets are full for a return visit. It takes the 'survival' in survival-horror literally and you come out of every encounter feeling as though you've just scraped through.
Sometimes, though, it's best to avoid combat altogether. With bullets in limited supply, stealth must come into play, and the stealth here feels pretty hardcore. There are no radars, or seeing through walls. You have to use your enemies' shadows and sound to judge where they are. You have to use distractions and the environment to work your way around them before either finishing them off with a knife or sliding past and progressing.
It's a frustrating learning curve at first. Especially when it opens with an instant-fail stealth area that seems impossible to pass. But once you get used to the fact that the game seems to be on the enemies' side more than your own, you start to appreciate the challenge it has to offer.
As you get acquainted with the game, you'll pick up some tricks that will find the checkpoint restarts less frequent. Traps are your tool to mess with the AI, leading brainless enemies into proximity bombs is very satisfying. That is, if you haven't gotten too close to them yourself.
I can't fault the combat, and that's the main focus of The Evil Within
. It knows what it wants to be and although it heavily relies on Resident Evil 4
, it still feels fresh with the new additions only adding to the experience. The enemies are fun to fight and taking them down is incredibly satisfying.
As for the horror? Well The Evil Within
sets out to unsettle you first, before tensing you up and whipping you into a frenzy. I'm not the most brave of people (that's on my CV too) so I found it hard to play for over an hour at a time. It's just so damn tense. The fear of what is around the corner is constantly playing on your mind, and when the game randomly messes with your head you never know what's going to pop up next, be it an empty room or a lady limb spider that'll haunt your nightmares for the next week or so.