My thoughts on The Evil Within

(Discuss the game)

My thoughts on The Evil Within

Postby ProgenitorCastle » Feb 24, 2017 1:46 am

Hi folks, I am ProgenitorCastle. You may remember me from the early days on here. I anticipated The Evil Within/ Psychobreak heavily, speculating how the game would turn out. I purchased the game twice! The first time was on Day One, Steam digital copy, for $60. I bought that copy on my friend's account, which I lost access to, prompting me to buy another copy for my own account. The second time, PC physical copy, was $10 to my surprise!. It came with a lenticular cover, The Fighting Chance Pack (gives you Double Barreled Shotgun, Medical Kit, Green Gel, and Incendiary/Poison darts). It came on 4 DVDs. However, it still needed to be linked with Steam and the remaining 10gbs were downloaded from Steam.

Anyway, now about the game itself! I was with my buddy when I first started playing the game. It was thrilling to watch the intro cutscene set up the scene for the gameplay. The controls felt fluid to me, although it was clear the full moveset was locked down at the time.

Now, I will talk about what I liked and disliked about the game in general (I played and re-played the game on Survival difficulty)

Things I liked:
-The controls. They were fluid, but felt grounded enough to fit a survival horror game. Running around in circles with the analog stick, along with the analog stick sensitivity (tilt a bit to walk, more to run [different from sprinting, which is faster and uses stamina from the stamina gauge]) reminded me of a 3D platformer's ease of control. You can move and shoot. The sprinting acts like a dodge move, and are encouraged to use it to evade enemies frequently. If you move the camera and just press shoot, you can shoot without aiming with L2/LT. Aiming and shooting in that zoomed-out perspective can be useful for dealing with up close enemies, as zooming in with L2/LT to aim can cause your aim to be too zoomed in to combat them effectively. The zoomed-out aim can be used whilst walking, and animates greatly as well.

-The chapter select feature. You can pick and choose to play your favorite parts of the game, with ease after beating the main game! Don't like the forced stealth of Chapter 1? Skip right to where the game effectively begins for real at Chapter 3! A great feature is you can do this with New Game+, so your equipment and upgrades carry over to the selected chapter if you so choose. IIRC, you can start the selected chapter without New Game+ if you want. Don't worry though, even with upgrades, the game is pretty well-balanced and won't feel like your cheesing your way through with them!

-Variety of tools/options to use against enemies. You got weapons with limited ammo for starters. You got the Agony Crossbow, which enables you to fire special bolts that function in various ways (Flash bolts blinding enemies, which creates an opening you can exploit to assassinate them with a one-hit kill with a knife!, Explosive bolts which can be fired at the ground or wall to be set to detonate when an enemy is nearby, etc.). You got bottles around the environment, which at first seem useless...until you find out they can be used to stun enemies, setting them up for knife assassination! You got matches...pretty useful way to finish off enemies. You can shoot an enemy in the leg, knocking them down, and them use the match to finish them off...a great way to save on ammo. Careful though! The knocked down enemies often lash out at you with their arms and legs, which can hit you and cancel out the match...wasting it with no result. If enemies are close to each other, one match can burn multiple enemies...its great when it happens, but feels random in its implementation...sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

-The limb-targeting system. In Resident Evils 4 and 5, you can target the limbs of enemies and the enemies would react appropriately...shoot them in the hands, and their weapon will drop. Shoot them in the leg, and they'll stumble. The Evil Within has this feature (notably absent in Resident Evil 6), and it's essential to survival. You want to make every bullet count, so knocking weapons out of enemies' hands and knocking them down to the ground to finish them off with a match comes in handy to save ammo.

-Traps. Both you and the enemies can use them against each other! Deadly as they are, they can provide you yet another way to save on ammo if used properly. Luring an enemy into an explosive trip wire is quite satisfying!

-The ability to use an enemy's weapon when dropped! Let's say an enemy drops an axe. You can pick it up and use it to deal major damage to an enemy once (often one-hit-kills common enemies). After that, the weapon is gone.

-The fading HUD...allows you to soak in the atmosphere outside of combat when exploring. Forgot if this is the default or a setting in the Options

-Certain parts of the game have different camera. Cool way to add variety to the game...glad this feature made it in to the NA versions of the game....in Japan, Resident Evil 4 (Biohazard 4 over there) had panning camera angles for Ashley's segment of the game...a great callback to classic survival horror imo. A shame that feature never made it to other versions of the game...but I digress.

-Hidden statues throughout levels. When shot at, they give the player keys to use at the lockers in the Save Room hospital...when a locker is opened with a key, inside it could be a goodie for a player (ammo, Green Gel, etc.) or nothing at all! It's rewarding to find a hidden statue in a place you never thought you'd find it.

-Going into the inventory slows down time. A nice compromise between not pausing at all (REs 5-7) and pausing entirely (REs 1-4)when accessing inventory. Gives you time to manage your inventory, but still not entirely safe from enemies, as they can attack you still...but their attacks are delayed due to the slow motion.

The dislikes:

-Forced walking/running at certain parts. I prefer to be in control at all times, not to have certain controls forced on me as a player. I don't know where this trend started, but it's ridiculous to me...like I get I should run as fast as possible during a chase scene. Don't force me to run automatically just because it's a chase...I want to be able to walk if I wanted to during a chase.

-Story. It was something hard to follow imo. I've seen various discussions and interpretations of the story on here, so I guess the community building aspect was cool...but I wish there was an official explanation offered for what order the events took place in. Sebastian was such a dull main character. I remember the story being billed as one of the big features of the game...and yet to me, it feels like an afterthought. Just look at how the game ended...IIRC,
Sebastian is STILL trapped in Ruvik's world...after all, he still heard the high-pitched noise that indicates he's under Ruvik's control. What a disappointing ending.


-Abundance of one-hit deaths...very grating on a first playthrough. The trial-and-error gameplay feels like a cheap way to extend the playtime of the game...a game can be legit challenging without resorting to that (see how RE REmake handled it)

Other thoughts...things that were so-so/uncertain about:

The atmosphere/music. At certain times, the atmosphere can be incredible. Others...meh. The music, however, I found suits the atmospheres well. I wish there were more varieties to the atmospheres...there was a concept art leak that showed castles and such! What we got was great, but it left me craving even more.

The inconsistency of the chapters. On paper, they're supposed to add variety to the game. However, I felt some chapters gone too far to change the experience...some chapters feel like separate games from one another. For example, Chapter 3 is an open level with traps and houses...Chapters 5 and 6 are a callback to RE4 style gameplay...etc.

So those are my thoughts on the game...I have a love/hate relationship with it. It's got alot of good and bad elements to it. I do replay it from time to time, but sometimes the flaws get to me...picking my favorite chapters helps me enjoy the game more than slogging though the parts I don't like. I hoped this game would be more like a successor to REmake...but for what it is, I like it more than I dislike it.
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Re: My thoughts on The Evil Within

Postby Autoignition » Feb 24, 2017 5:24 am

Welcome back! :D Always hungry for more love around here.

I'm sure we'll get a more solidified view of the game's story in the sequel. When the DLCs came out, it threw the community through a loop because of how much of our previous thoughts and theories were proven to be flat-out wrong when we were given concrete answers. A further expansion of the story via means of a sequel is more than likely to do that again.

One thing I will point out, though, is that Sebastian's not still stuck in STEM at the end of the game. Probably the most important file that you pick up in the game is all the way back in Chapter 1, where it's logged by Mobius scientists that people who have been unplugged from STEM and are interacting with the real world still have a connection to Ruvik. That's where Sebastian is right now; he's trapped between worlds. The ending takes place in the real world (confirmed by DLCs), but Sebastian maintains his brainwave link with Ruvik, causing him to see things that aren't really there. The sequel's likely to be hella trippy.
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Re: My thoughts on The Evil Within

Postby ProgenitorCastle » Feb 24, 2017 5:58 pm

You seem to enjoy the story alot...more power to you! I personally didn't like the tone of the story or the delivery of it....one of the things that threw me off were the files.... they felt odd in their implementation I felt. I don't quite know how to describe it...but they didn't help me understand the world of the game any better. In old RE games, 4, and even Bayonetta, files explained details about the world...they kept me invested in the story in a certain way. The Evil Within's didn't do that for me...they confused me actually.

Autoignition wrote:
I'm sure we'll get a more solidified view of the game's story in the sequel. When the DLCs came out, it threw the community through a loop because of how much of our previous thoughts and theories were proven to be flat-out wrong when we were given concrete answers. A further expansion of the story via means of a sequel is more than likely to do that again.


A story in video games, I feel, should be conclusive enough on its own, while leaving room for a sequel in a way that doesn't make the first game feel incomplete story wise. With The Evil Within, it felt like the story was an excuse to make paid DLCs...they shouldn't be required to understand the story of the first game.


One thing I will point out, though, is that Sebastian's not still stuck in STEM at the end of the game. Probably the most important file that you pick up in the game is all the way back in Chapter 1, where it's logged by Mobius scientists that people who have been unplugged from STEM and are interacting with the real world still have a connection to Ruvik. That's where Sebastian is right now; he's trapped between worlds. The ending takes place in the real world (confirmed by DLCs), but Sebastian maintains his brainwave link with Ruvik, causing him to see things that aren't really there.


Thanks for clarifying that! It's a relief to know Sebastian isn't trapped in STEM anymore. It still sucks he's under Ruvik's control :(

The sequel's likely to be hella trippy.


Hoping for this! Go full out crazy with this idea...hallucinations of things that aren't there and the like
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Re: My thoughts on The Evil Within

Postby Autoignition » Feb 24, 2017 10:57 pm

ProgenitorCastle wrote:You seem to enjoy the story alot...more power to you! I personally didn't like the tone of the story or the delivery of it....one of the things that threw me off were the files.... they felt odd in their implementation I felt. I don't quite know how to describe it...but they didn't help me understand the world of the game any better. In old RE games, 4, and even Bayonetta, files explained details about the world...they kept me invested in the story in a certain way. The Evil Within's didn't do that for me...they confused me actually.


I don't have a problem with file-based storytelling typically. Fatal Frame is an example of a game series that does it extremely well. I think the problem with the way The Evil Within implemented it was in the area placement of them in-game. Too often, you found files that were completely unrelated to anything that was currently happening on screen. The SUPER IMPORTANT FILE that you find in Chapter 1 about STEM patients should have been found in Chapter 15 instead, in order to prepare players for the ending. Things like that. So you had to look at the files separately after the game was over in order to piece them together, which most people either didn't think to do or weren't willing to do, and it turned a lot of players off.

They did get it right sometimes, though. The audio recording of Ruvik talking about Laura before her boss fight in Chapter 10 was really good. The recording in Chapter 6 about the church was good foreshadowing. I think if they kept it more consistent in the sequel, it would play out a lot better among fans.

A story in video games, I feel, should be conclusive enough on its own, while leaving room for a sequel in a way that doesn't make the first game feel incomplete story wise. With The Evil Within, it felt like the story was an excuse to make paid DLCs...they shouldn't be required to understand the story of the first game.


This is something that isn't entirely uncommon among horror games, though. I think the earliest example of it was all the way back in Silent Hill 2, when you had to rebuy the ENTIRE GAME to get the Born From A Wish campaign, since it was on the Greatest Hits version of the game only and there was no such thing as DLC back then. RE4 did it too with Separate Ways (and you had to buy an entirely new CONSOLE for that if you didn't already have a PS2), even though SW came out after Mikami left Capcom. I know that "Story DLC" are dirty words in today's landscape, but it's something the genre has been doing for a while.

Thanks for clarifying that! It's a relief to know Sebastian isn't trapped in STEM anymore. It still sucks he's under Ruvik's control :(


It does suck, but I think Seb will be okay. :) I honestly hope that it causes the sequel to better establish the relationship between Seb and Ruvik as the protagonist and antagonist. TEW is the only story I can think of that has a conflict of man vs man wherein the protag and the antag never, at any point, hold a back-and-forth conversation (silent protagonists in games not withstanding).

Hoping for this! Go full out crazy with this idea...hallucinations of things that aren't there and the like


I also kind of hope that it opens the door to a Dark Souls-style invasion multiplayer system too... :twisted:
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