Ben's Top Horror - #7: The Evil Within

And now here we are with The Evil Within. Instead of repeating things I've said in the past about it, let's talk about my actual experience with the game.

The first time I realized that The Evil Within was the "Project Zwei" I heard about many years ago, I lost interest in it. The box art didn't catch my eye, and the discussions I had seen online were mostly complaints. It didn't seem like many people liked it, so I didn't care to give it a chance. In fact I didn't even bother looking into it too much until a lady at work asked me about it. "My grandchildren want this game, do you know anything about it?" I knew very little, but after a little bit of research I was able to tell her one thing. "Do NOT buy this for your 4-9 year old grand kids!" So she didn't, and instead her daughter bought it for them herself. And it scared the crap out of them.

Anyway jump ahead a few years and PlayStation's Halloween sale is going on. I'm not seeing too much that interests me, but the low price of TEW was just too good to pass it up. So I downloaded it, put on my VR head set to try out it's cinema mode, and jumped in. Man, was it a trip.

The thing about The Evil Within that makes it so special, is that it feels a lot like a follow up to Resident Evil 4. You have a linear story with areas to explore, and very limited supplies. Stealth kills become your best friend, and the upgrade system forces you to choose between what's useful and what's not. While having more health might sound like a good thing, in reality it's better to be able to run for longer periods of time. Attack power increase? Nah, you want to hold more ammo instead. It's choices like these that added a lot of tension to the game, and actually almost turned me away. However I stuck with it, and I was not disappointed.

Each time I entered a new area in the game, the feeling was... Strange to say the least. I never knew what to expect, and I felt as if I could hit a road block at any moment. What if I used too many shots in that last area? What if I shouldn't have burned that "corpse" with my last match? Could I have lead the enemies into a trap instead? What's that over there, could I find something good in that house, or will that be the death of me? Should I sneak around back and look anyway? I was always questioning myself, and always looking for ways to do better. I wasn't afraid of what I might see in the game per say, but I was scared of what might happen. Each new section was a challenge to work through, with you often grasping at straws to stay alive. Bosses dying with the last shot of your gun, and mobs of enemies cornering you when your checkpoint is easily 20 stressful minutes back. Moments like these kept you on edge non stop, and gave you a reason to fear death. Something horror games in modern times have failed to do.

Sure the game wasn't perfect. Glitches, bad framerate, some meh graphics, etc, but that didn't stop it from being a lot of fun. By the end of this game I felt like I actually accomplished something -- a feeling I hadn't felt from a game in years. It was an amazing horror game, and I couldn't wait to play the then upcoming sequel. But then it came out and... Well, a lot of things happened in my life. I'll get back to it eventually though!

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