My roommate was raving all summer about this video game called Evil Within. He wouldn’t shut up about how scary the trailer looked. Evil Within is the latest foray of Shinji Mikami in the genre of horror. Gamers know the man for his work on a handful of early Resident Evil games. I really missed how horror was subtle in older games wherein it was all about playing tricks with the mind. Modern survival horror titles tend to think that better graphics are advantage as they try to scare players overtly by making the most grotesque creatures ever. I don’t know about you, but I find the unknown a lot scarier. The Evil Within appeared to be a promising survival horror title. It’s not a bad game as a whole, but it fails to scare players in a memorable way that’ll make it an all time classic.
Read on for more.
I was quite immersed early on in the video game until the first time I died in the game. I was freaking out that a guy with a chainsaw was running after me. However, a bug in the game took the fear out of the experience. I was being flung from side to side as the chainsaw was stabbed through the protagonist’s chest. The problem was that I was being flung through walls left to right. I didn’t want to be seriously dismissive of a game because of one clipping problem. I gave the game the benefit of the doubt that this was just an isolated incident. This didn’t turn out to be the case after I died a couple more time. I will admit that this game is quite difficult though. Anyway, the clipping issue persisted every time I died in confined spaces. Sometimes you’re so immersed in a video game that you think that you’re actually the one in it. It’s things like this that remind you that it’s just a video game and you have nothing to be afraid of.
In another instance, the same guy was chasing after me again around the village. In this situation I was desperately climbing a ladder to escape. I was quite nervous because I was actually scared and frantic. However, things suddenly changed midway through my climb as the sadist stood motionless at the bottom of the ladder. You would expect that he would saw the heck out of that ladder to get me. It might be an unrealistic expectation to have that kind of advanced AI, but it was strange that he didn’t have any other behavior. We could have both just stayed in the same position for hours. It turns out that the best way to survive is to stay still midway climbing a ladder.
I think I’m one of the few gamers who is bugged by the fact that the protagonist acts so chill throughout the events of the game. I’m not saying that the characters have to be scared out of their minds. I just want to see a realistic reaction to the events and environment. The character’s demeanor would have been appropriate during the latter part of the game when he’s used to all the messed up occurrences. A friend pointed out to me that protagonists designed by Japanese developers tend to be unaffected. However, I feel like I’ve seen contrary examples in some survival horror titles by Japanese developers. One writer from IGN even had the same gripe early on during the initial previews of the game.
I also feel like the game is trying so hard to scare me with overt tactics. Grotesque creatures here and there are made to elicit shock scares. I truly wished that the Evil Within would have the type of horror that would send chills down your spine and make you actually think twice about walking through a dark corridor in real life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and you have to look elsewhere if that’s what you want.