And so we come to my last review of 2014 and my last video game review before I list the best and worst video games of 2014 that I reviewed. Quite personally I cannot pick a better video game to review that represents a true mix of emotions in my mind. For you see the video game that we are looking at today is the latest ‘survival horror’ video game from the mind of B-Movie gorehound Shinji Mikami, the mind behind the classic video game Resident Evil 4. For you see reader, I have come to a true conflict in my reviewing. On the one hand I love Resident Evil 4 and if you remember, gave the game a perfect 5/5 during my Resident Evil Retrospective and claimed it to be the best game of the series. Now when I look at The Evil Within, I personally have to say that this is the best remake of Resident Evil 4 that I could ever hope for… Only it isn’t a remake of Resident Evil 4. Same basic premise. You take on the form of Sergeant Gruff Manbody of the Stubble Chinned Machismo Precinct, get thrown into some random backwoods where you are chased by a man with a chainsaw and a handful of farmers whose sole goal in life is to introduce your face to their sharp and pointy objects collection. I mean, god love Shinji Mikami. The man puts out quality. But it seems with The Evil Within was simply smashed together with concepts from his old video games and the idea of, eh people will buy it. But I do get ahead of myself. Let’s leave a lot of my opinion for the review.
So in The Evil Within we take on the role of Sebastian ‘Seb’ Castellanos (Anson Mount). He is a straight faced veteran cop who has seen his fair share of shit and is now investigating a murder at a local hospital with his rookie partners Kid and Joseph (Jennifer Carpenter and Yuri Lowenthal). After a few minutes of some genuine horror as you are in a hospital being chased by a chainsaw wielding cousin of Leatherface, the game propels you into a fleeing ambulance and into the middle of the woods where it is time to kick as and take names Resident Evil 4 Style.
And in RE4 style, you learn that there is an evil mastermind behind it all named Ruvik (Jackie Earle Haley) who is putting our chiseled protagonist through several trials for his own twisted ends. The story then follows Sebastian as he tries to unravel the plot set up by the evil mastermind.
Mikami brings something to the table, it is going to be good. That is just how that works. The gameplay, action, and graphics all look phenomenal. It has that next generation feel to it and some of the graphics add to the horror elements of the game. Excellent points for Mikami here.
A Great Remake of Resident Evil 4
Once again, this is almost a jab at the game for this. But if you are going to blatantly rip off a game, then you might as well pick a good one and make sure you do it well. Most of the first parts of the game is nothing more than RE4 with a different coat on. It isn’t horrible, everything is done in a way that is scary and builds good suspense. But at the end of the day after playing all it made me do was look to my shelf of PS2 games and yern to play RE4 instead of its cheap knock off clone.
Does Everything Need to Have a Level Up System?
Minor nitpick and not even really one at that. But does every game nowadays need to have a level up system in order to be considered in the big boys club? This wasn’t always the case. Several years back only a handful of games had a level up system, it wasn’t a necessity for every game to be able to enhance your character with various power ups.
The reason I bring this up for The Evil Within is that the level up moments where you teleport into your own brain through a mirror and sit in a freaky looking chair to have brain juice injected into you is cool and freaky and all… But it feels very out of place. It seems to absolutely kill the pacing of the game as you stop it for several minutes to go sit in a chair in your own mind and get leveled up before moving back into combat. I know that leveling up is popular and it is a way to make sure you can play the game your way. But you need to find a better way to integrate the level up system that does not bring the mood and pace of your game to a grinding halt and since this is a survival horror game where mood and pace are at its most crucial, this is a bit of a problem. It isn’t a major problem with the game as the mechanics and balance are handled relatively well… But man is it painful to get leveled up.
Can we please have a game where we don’t play a muscular white dude with an aversion to razors? Just once. Can we play an action game where this isn’t the norm? And also could they have another job besides ‘detective’, ‘cop’, ‘soldier’, or any combination or retired version of the former? My lord, from now on when I see a white faced hairy dude, I will have to struggle on whether or not to play the game or just turn it off and go back to playing Civ V, Papers, Please, or FTL.
The supporting cast is no better. The villain is this larger than life psychopath, his two partners are rookie cops and need to be watched after by good ole papa Seb, and we have to kill endless waves of zombie variants to mow down without consequence. You name it and the cliches are there.
Overall The Evil Within is not very good. It is certainly forgettable in my mind as nothing stands out of to me as unique about the game. The best that it made me do was make me play Resident Evil 4 again. Other than that the graphics are good, gameplay is good, and if you like Resident Evil 4 then you need to check out this game to get a different play through.
Final Score 2/5
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Coming up we still have the best and worst of 2014 to look forward to later in the week.