The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

(Discuss the game)

The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby SutterCane » Jul 20, 2017 2:27 pm

This goes on for a while, feel free to post your own take on the topic.

Hello I've been reading this site for about a week and have enjoyed reading the impressions of the community that visit the site. The up to date flow of information and story interpretations of the original game I found to be very well done. Wish I'd discovered it sooner, this post would've been smaller then at least. I created this thread to talk about aspects of the game that tend to go unappreciated or maybe just not talked about enough. In the knowledge that the sequel will likely not expand upon some of the elements I talk about due to their limited appeal and how they conflict with more mainstream ideas I think now is an appropriate time to discuss the less discussed elements of The Evil Within before they are forgotten in the wake of its hugely successful sequel.

I'm going to begin at the beginning with how well the game introduces new elements of gameplay. The game starts off at a slow pace allowing you to approach the enemies one at a time letting you get a feel for their behaviour and movesets. Connely, your first Haunted, even seems to be more restrained than most but more importantly he doesn't block the player's escape route. Chapter 2 contains every type of trap that will commonly appear in the game, beyond that the way they are set up is far more obvious than in future areas with the bear traps in particular being placed in a way that directly benefits the player. Three bear traps are strewn across a narrow area on the other side of which stands a Haunted, if the player approaches the Haunted notices them and moves in to attack becoming stuck in a trap cluing the player in to how traps can be effectively manipulated. This style of introducing new gameplay elements in a safe way first before having the player tackle them in more stressful circumstances is repeated with most drastically new features. It's noticeable in chapter 7 with the new traps unique to that area and it's noticeable with the Laura encounters where you are taught her weakness to fire and how the levers function before fighting her.

That's not something I think a horror game should have to do, surprise is more fun at times, I only brought it up because I love the bit with the bear traps.

When it comes to the older RE games my favourite aspect was counting the ammo I had left wondering if it was enough while knowing it had to be because otherwise the creature standing in front of me would rip my head off. The original Evil Within was that aspect of RE boiled down to it's essence, as games go I think it's the purest it's ever been. It's an ever present source of tension knowing that you need, no other choice, bullets to succeed and the relief of passing a section using a meagre amount is incredibly gratifying.

The entire game is constructed around that central concept which is something that I think passes many people by. When I see people say the game doesn't know what it want's to be, stealth, shooter or run from monsters it is frustrating to hear because I see the game as being very focused on resource management and those aspects are the tools it uses to exercise it's true core mechanic.

I love chapter 2,3,4,7,9,13 as much as the next person but their placement in the game's structure is very deliberate. These sections are heavily exploration oriented with a focus on player freedom in how they approach a situation. In a game like this when a player has freedom in how to approach a situation they are going to use the method that uses the least/no resources which is stealth. It's all in service of offering the player a chance to build up their resources. If we were to see nothing but these more player choice oriented sections then the player would never face a situation where they had to fire a bullet and eventually their inventory would be flush and the central source of tension would be lost.

So to counter balance those segments the game has chapters 5,6,10,11,14,15. These chapters are heavily combat oriented forcing you to use your hard earned resources. They serve a kind of dual purpose as a test of how well the player is using the resources they've gathered and a means of draining the player of those same resources. The player is limited to combat and then further limited by what ammo the player has or is willing to use, trying to get through these segments using as little as possible inspires creativity in a way pure freedom often can't manage. Facing one of these segments after another would get tiring but it would be at least mechanically sound so long as they fed you resources between fights which is what the more free chapters are best for.

Run from a monster segment is simply another means of offering resources to the player while changing the pacing of how that's done to be quicker and more threatening. If you aren't meant to shoot the monster then all the ammo the game gives you for these segments is purely for your benefit later. A boss fountain most of the time, like Laura chasing you prior to fighting Amalgam. Of course you can kill her too and I think that's a nice thing to offer people that have the means to do so.

All of these sections still make use of the same mechanics so that what the player learns in one sequence can translate into something useful in the next segment. Learning how traps function during the exploration focused segments is useful in both the chase sequences and the combat arena which feature those elements in a different context. Even if stealth didn't exist that button is continually repurposed as a means of manipulating traps and later on it proves useful as a means of avoiding gunfire. Chase sequences should offer a chance for you to practice how the game's sprint works as a dodge, start sprinting when the enemy's attack starts and then stop when the attack ends and before you run out of breath. You also get a chance to learn how to avoid traps while being pursued which comes in useful constantly in combat. Combat as I've said operates as a sort of test of all your skills but more than that it's always available, don't agree that all the segments work in synergy well fine shoot your way past it all.

It might not sound like much but there are a lot of games where when they switch up the gameplay to try something new it usually means dumping everything you are used to. Think Bayonetta, Shadows of the Damned, W101, Castlevania LoS2 where when the gameplay pivots to something new the controls do as well and everything you've learned goes out the window while the segment itself has no mechanical relevance to anything outside itself.

As an extension of talking about how well the sections fit together it's worth pointing out how multifaceted much of the tools you have are, as well as how the developers are aware of this and cater directly to supporting this cohesion. To the point where I intended this to be one paragraph but it got out of hand once I started to get into it.

Take something like the bottle which is first introduced to you as a means of distraction during stealth however it also becomes a very powerful tool in combat allowing you to glass Haunted in the face and follow up with a powerful killing blow. Even though it's first introduced as a stealth weapon the developers continually place the item in non-stealth encounters so that the player always has the option to glass, they even go as far as to place it in the segments with the invisible Haunted. If a player is unsure of their ability to disarm traps the designers typically have a bottle placed nearby all their motion bomb traps, though once more this serves a dual purpose as blowing up traps you intend to use against enemies is best done with a bottle if you want to save ammo. Sebastian may not have steady aim with a pistol but his drunken hobo lifestyle has empowered him with the ability to nail a crow in flight with an empty bottle of booze, yes you can even use them to destroy statues piggybacking on crows.

Matches are thoroughly useful in all situations. In the exploration chapters they can be used in conjunction with traps to eliminate enemies, they can kill sleeping enemies and also be used to solve strange puzzles. In combat knocking an enemy to the ground allows for an instant kill with the matches but waiting for more haunted to gather nearby before you light up can score you a group kill, fantastic risk reward. As Laura chases you around the matches are brought to the fore as an effective means of slowing her down by burning her as she passes over a corpse. Utilising corpses as impromptu traps is pretty much useful all the time really.

The crossbow's bolts are varied and have a multitude uses in a wide variety of occasions so I'll only list a few key aspects. The ability to set the bolts as traps allows you to plan and control a fight ahead of time. Bolts like the electric, flash or ice bolt allow you to either crowd control, easily kill a boss while stunned or offer time to escape or operate a device. The explosive bolt is a good trap weapon, boss killing tool and a crowd killing weapon to boot. Iron bolt is a useful elite enemy killing tool or a stealth weapon.

On top of all that the bolts have a few neat interactions in specific niche areas. Flash bolts reveal invisible enemies. Freeze bolts can disarm traps letting you collect them harmlessly. Iron bolts can be used in the area with explosive gas while no other weapon can but if they have been upgraded to be on fire they instantly cause an explosion. Electric bolts can disable robots. Explosive bolts can be attached to Joseph and stay on during cutscenes. It's not hugely useful but it is a nice attention to detail.

Traps are initially a threat but soon they become another tool for the player to use. The question put to the player with traps is simple but well worth deliberating over, use the trap now in it's current form or save it for later as parts? The trap as it is is more powerful than the parts it can be broken down into. It's a rather strange take on the usual concept of deferred gratification paying off where in TEW you sacrifice the superior option, in terms of power, for something that's more within your control. This aspect is why all the traps are reachable by the player as if they weren't they'd be more one note as just a danger. Of course traps are still a danger and you have to keep your wits about you especially when an enemy has you under duress.

I could go through all the guns as well but you get the idea there's little in the game that is designed to be one dimensional. It typically pushes you to makes tough decisions that tend to favour higher risks for a higher reward. The pistol is an excellent example with how the bullet spread pushes you into a closer engagement if you want to place your shots accurately.

It's probably clear by now but I love the combat in this game. It's an aspect that is often unfairly compared to RE4 as both games are going for two completely different things. RE4 is about killing enemies as stylishly and quickly as possible and there's little holding you back from doing that. TEW is about killing enemies as efficiently as possible while being limited by what you have on you at the time and what you might need in the future. One is about effectively using a powerful character, the other is about playing under restriction and limitations. You will never get the high octane fun action of RE4 in TEW, you will never be counting bullets in RE4.

Even after countless replays I still find it uniquely satisfying to go into a combat situation with a handful of bullets, formulate a plan around my pitiful means and then pull it off just barely by the skin of my teeth. It's a strange kind of action based puzzle where you have to work out the mathematics of which bullet needs to go into which zombie and chains of kill the axe guy to use the axe to kill the torch guy to use the torch to kill the fat man. It's the original concept of traversing the RE mansion figuring out which bullets to use on which zombies in which rooms boiled down and applied to a skill based combat arena. Of course as a puzzle there is unfortunately an ultimate solution where the least possible resources are used which I would say hampers the game's depth in a way that never happens with a straight action game and why using a guide for a game like this would really cheat you out of an experience like any puzzle game.

The combat arenas themselves are often intricately crafted but there are a few duds, notably in chapter 11 which to be fair has some good ones too. What's interesting about most of them is that you rarely enter a combat arena without first having a means to explore it or at least survey the location, chapter 6's fire room being an obvious exception. The earliest example of what I'm talking about is the earliest combat arena, the room full of blood that you can drain. The whole room is open for you to explore in peace and you can freely remove and place traps as well as test out lever functions before triggering the fight yourself. One of my favourites is in chapter 10 where you traverse the location one way using stealth but on your way back after turning on the power the whole area is flooded with enemies while hungry machines spin to life completely altering how you have to navigate your way back.

When I talk about the areas being intricate I'm talking about how much the developers managed to pack into the often times relatively small spaces. This is often accomplished by giving weight to elements of the environment that most games don't attribute to things like say a simple waist high wall. A waist high wall in TEW is a serious barrier to both you and the enemy, it takes a great deal of time to mount and as such it can be either a massive benefit or liability if it's your only means of escape. Verticality is a phrase that bandied around a lot with modern games but a great deal of the time that verticality has little value in games where enemies can fly or take perfect aim at you regardless of height, when you have a game like TEW where all the enemies are melee focused that height has real value. As well as giving added value to mundane elements these arenas are also packed with numerous traps that hinder your movement and allow enemies to close in but you know that if you can just pass by safely you can quickly turn the tables and use that trap against your pursuers. Most of these areas tend to feature a dynamic element bespoke to the fight arena, think the spinning blades of chapter 10 or the Ruvik made of blood in chapter 9 that blocks your movement, so many of the areas you can visibly see an attempt to ensure that the player was being offered something new.

A rather underrated segment in chapter 6 is the perfect example of everything I'm talking about in regards to arena design. Straight away you can explore much of the lower area before the onslaught of enemies is brought down on you. The arena is littered not only with traps but also with axes and bottles for you to use. There are multiple structures to enter and those structures have multiple entrances increasing the options open to you. There's an upper area that has a number of ways up to allowing you to survey the area and it also has numerous ways down for a quick escape. The entire area is split into two halves and up above a thin bridge connects them both allowing you to quickly cross between the halves at the expense of penning yourself in. During this segment you have two objectives. One is Joseph who acts as a bit of a double edged sword, he's very strong but at the same time needs protecting. The other is the gatling guns firing down on you. While trying to accomplish these objectives an endless amount of enemies will enter the area. Both objectives here force the player to move and act. If Joseph is in danger then the player will likely need to defeat his attackers. If enemies are nearby when taking a shot at the gatling guns then they'll need to be defeated. The faster the player kills the guns the quicker the segment ends. It's a change of pace from the typical kill everything objective while still requiring the player to pay some price in order to proceed.

Of course you can still kill everything but if you are struggling for ammo it's probably a bad idea. The pressure of killing the guns quickly knowing that the longer they're alive the more enemies will pour in makes sure you feel every missed shot. Also while killing the gatling guns is easiest with the rifle one round of anything will kill them, so it's a choice of an easy time saving shot of something valuable against a more difficult shot using something that isn't a boss killer like the pistol.

Nothing is scarier than the unknown, what a crummy cliche. Screw the unknown I don't know nothing about the unknown. Out of known, out of mind. The things I know about, that's the real cause of dread. Deadlines, bills, encroaching exam dates, the knowledge that all my favourite foods are killing me, space is only really pretty until some jerk starts explaining it. I'm not saying it needs to be a competition but if it was at least something would show up.

This game is pure dread for me around chapter 7 because of chapter 11. Chapter 11 in case you didn't know is the biggest drain on resources in the game. I don't even like chapter 11 but the effect it has on the tone of the game knowing that I have to prepare for it in advance and that afterwards I'll be left vulnerable is incredibly valuable. It influences everything I do leading up to it because if I get on that effing gondola with just a few pistol rounds left then I'm doomed. So in chapter 7 there are shots I don't take and there are increased risks I do take because I'm trying to stockpile trap parts for that stupid shutter door part. I've never fired a shot in chapter 8, I've used every bottle to smash in every face in chapter 9, in chapter 10 I've punched Laura to death for 5 trap parts. There's an easy way to approach most situations in TEW. The combat heavy parts of the game that absolutely require you to expend ammo stand threatening in the distance as a warning to chose the harder path that makes you sweat or risk failure later on for your excess.

As a fan of most of the games Mikami has put out it's fun to see mechanics from his earlier games twisted and repurposed into something both new and familiar. The game as a whole could be classed simply as the resource managing gameplay and character vulnerability of RE1 applied to the combat of RE4. In my head I can't help but see TEW as Shinji Mikami's own version of what Kamiya created with Wonderful 101.

As a mechanic matches replace the stun to melee from RE4. There's a higher risk involved with matches, they cost ammo, they are stronger at the cost of not having any I-frames. You could see it as revisiting the burning zombies from REmake too.

The sprint bar feels like another form of the boost management from Vanquish. It's changed into something of a vulnerability here as opposed to a power trip like it was in Vanquish, the penalty for failing in TEW is fittingly much more dire.

Black Bars, yes I'm calling it a mechanic. Limiting your field of view means that you have to manage your camera more judiciously, looking close to the ground for traps leaves you unable to see what's ahead. You can't spend as long lining up a shot at something up high because something you can't see hidden beneath the bars could easily attack you. It's the same principle as the one that has one of your main weapons be a sniper rifle with a zoomed in scope in a game that has almost nothing but close quarters combat.

As well as mechanics the game also pays homage to earlier Mikami games as well as Resident Evil in general and Silent Hill. At release when there weren't many survival horror games releasing it felt like a send off for the genre as well as a bit of a reclamation of the ideas and visuals by the original creators who have been divorced from their creations. As a fan of all of the games referenced, much like with the revisited mechanics, it was neat to be able recognise the homage while seeing it given a new interpretation and context.

When I say homage I want to be very clear, there is little that is reminiscent of another property that wasn't reworked a great deal to where beyond the surface similarity they actually play very different or are used in hugely different contexts. Chainsaw Haunted and the shutter door in chapter 11 are out of RE4 with little change though you still have to approach them differently due to mechanical changes.

Both RE4 and TEW open with a village but the village in RE4 quickly becomes a combat heavy encounter. In TEW the entire village section is a slow, methodical, exploration focused set up that consequently plays very differently.

During the church segment again I don't think any of it plays too similar but visually the robed guys recall RE4. The big thing is obviously the dual ogre battle which brings to mind the similar fights in RE4. The ogre's themselves have a moveset that is closer to something like a melee Romonov from Vanquish. Where this gets more interesting as a deliberate homage is the Sentinel boss fight. In RE4 you could rescue a white Alsatian that would later come to your rescue in the ogre fight, in TEW prior to fighting Sentinel if you look at the board with details relating to Sentinel you can see a black and white photo of a white Alsatian. The implications of the photo add an element of tragedy to the fight, as does passing by Sentinel looking pained before the glasses kerfuffle.

Amalgam Alpha turning into a dog thing with a big mouth in the car park has him strongly resemble the William Birkin fight in RE2 which looked pretty similar. Likewise in the DLC the fight with the Shade where you are waiting on and elevator to arrive bears similarities in the level design and objectives of the later William Birkin boss fights.

The Keeper is obviously an homage to Pyramid Head from SH2, it's not subtle. What's interesting is how far they take it with the boss arenas being shout outs to SH2 by themselves. The first fight has you fighting in a fog filled arena inspired by Silent Hill, the second has you fighting in a meat room like the boss fight in SH2 in the meat room and lastly the penultimate double Keeper boss fight is again a call back to the double Pyramid Head fight. However mechanically they play nothing alike, Pyramid Head did not walk around placing traps or die and respawn. Beyond a very superficial visual resemblance the two characters are very distinct.

The idea of TEW paying homage to older horror followed through into the DLC with the Administrators arms chasing you being taken right out of Sweet Home. Pretty cool thing too because that is a not very good movie with great ideas other things should feel free to take. I didn't want to go into references to movies but this one is a bit of a grey area.

It's extensive, it is and it would be an issue if all the game did was play these elements straight but that's not remotely what's going on here. There is an aspect to TEW where the game is reflecting on the survival horror genre and it could even be said to pervade through to the story. Ruvik's methodology for breaking people down discussed in chapter 9 could just as well be seen as a blueprint for creating a survival horror game.

The story, the story is a mechanic some people would argue because you have to find pieces of it in the world and put it together yourself. Debatable I guess but I do agree that you need to put in effort yourself if you want to get anything out of it and understand what exactly happened. In a game like this that is made for replays that kind of story telling is ideal because every pass through you'll pick up on something new that fires your imagination to chase down little story threads throughout that playthrough.

The way story is told consistently through the games mechanics, it's possibly one of the best executed aspects of the plot. The basic idea is that Ruvik is attempting to break down the personalities of the people trapped in STEM, they become less like themselves, more like him and eventually he can fully control them. At the same time STEM is in part a reflection of it's participants.

In terms of Ruvik breaking Seb down, making him more like him and Ruvik's presence in general there are a number of ways they've demonstrated this in game. First off rather comically you literally consent to having your brain unlocked, presumably so that Ruvik has access, after which you catch fire like Ruvik did. For the majority of the game your enemies are Ruviks enemies and your defeat them using similar means to how Ruvik would have done so, traps etc. The game's signature weapon the agony crossbow is Ruvik's own. The vast majority of the game's puzzles revolve around sacrificing people and often revolve around learning Ruvik's past or his medical techniques. Fire is a means of destroying enemies instantly as is fitting for creatures possessed by Ruvik who was severely burned. You play through and so share Ruviks past of escaping a burning barn caused by angry locals. It's not really gameplay but Seb's past already mirror's Ruvik's to begin with. When a lot of games are content to keep story and gameplay separate I really appreciate the attempts made to incorporate my actions into the overall narrative.

Plot wise the character of Joseph is supposed to be in danger almost all the time, it's a way of taunting Seb and drawing him into danger. People hate escort quests and that's what he is. It would have been convenient to make him invincible or invisible during gameplay so that the people that can't multitask never get frustrated. I'm glad they didn't do that because nothing leaves a game feeling more hollow to me than when it won't follow through mechanically with something it has established in the story, Joseph needs protecting. At the same time the amount of times he's saved me over a number of playthroughs of the game has endeared me much more to him than I otherwise would've been.

Unfortunately trying to put the story together and in parts succeeding turns you into a crazy person and for a week or so after gaining a rudimentary understanding of the plot certain phrases uttered by the ignorant will have you quietly seething. "What a predictable ending, I guessed they were in a machine halfway through.", "What a con I have to buy the DLC to get a story.","So it was all a dream and nothing happened.""There is no story, it never makes sense and nobody understands any of it. I've researched this.". You get the idea. Jesus Christ it says you are in the mind of a killer literally on the game's box, it's not a twist you "figured out". I don't know why that one still gets to me.

To close up I'd like to go into what I think are the more controversial elements, one hit kills and the lack of melee, stealth and one last thing that criticism toward seemed wholly nonsensical, the upgrade system.

One hit kills are everywhere in this game! Well no they really aren't, generally they are limited to bosses and then further limited by that boss having to be at low health or puzzle traps. The are a good amount of them all the same. The attacks themselves are highly telegraphed and have a wind up that is much longer than their other attacks, as far as I'm concerned they are absolutely fair, usually easy to dodge and add extra tension to the final moments of a fight. I would like to clear up that the Keeper trapping you then spiking your brain is a two hit kill, the move where he charges you is OHK. Laura is an interesting case in the she is intended as a monster that chases you through an area and that is immediately communicated by a one hit kill attack. Another thing with Laura is the focus isn't on fighting her but on completing a series of tasks during which her approach and one hit kill grab acts as a timer hurrying you to complete something that would otherwise be mundane.

Melee is part of a larger topic of offering a fall back strategy to the player. I don't think that fall back is necessary and it actively detracts from my enjoyment of the resource management if I have a means always available to me to circumvent it. It's something that that tends to bother me when a game attempting resource management effectively apologises for the attempt and sidelines those mechanics into irrelevance by having them exist alongside powerful non-resource using options such as a strong melee or having stealth always be available. I don't need every survival horror to have a melee that can stunlock or overpower groups of enemies, all the ones that did had absolutely abysmal resource management gameplay. If you don't like monsters up close then move back or use one of your many crowd clearing tools.

Punching a guy and having his head explode is better than using a knife also.

I didn't want to mention flaws which beyond undeniable technical issues are more of a taste concern but the stealth in this game needs work. I'm of the opinion that it is too good and needs careful curation which thankfully it received in this game. Things the stealth needed was more aggressive hunting AI like the Shade monster in the DLC, no free stealth kills like the DLC fixed again and a harsher punishment for being spotted. What it doesn't need is more powerful stealth kill options like over the wall kills, corner grab kills and so on. Seb is not the one who needs more options when it comes to a resource free gameplay approach in a game that should be about making decisions on how to use resources. I would rather stealth be made far harder and more likely to force you to use items. Outside of it being forced I think the Kidman DLC handled stealth perfectly during its later segments. Given how it's wisely curated my complaints aren't as severe as they would be had stealth been left open as an option for the entire game. It could've got out of hand, it didn't.

The upgrade system I'm not going to go into too much other than to say it allows for a wide variety of playthroughs, has a dramatic impact on how weapons behave and how many resources you ultimately end up using. What makes it even better is that the entire game is playable without engaging with it and you aren't left without any powerful boss killing tools as a result. What I'm getting at is that the game is well balanced at base stats. The upgrade chair allows you to shore up on the areas you are weakest in as a player or if you like it makes handicapped playthroughs more manageable.

Thank you if you read any of that, I'm sure a lot of it was redundant if you are a fan of the game. Evil Within probably contains every single possible gameplay element that someone might find objectionable, escorting npc's, timed sequences, one hit kills, an underpowered character, a story you need to discover, black bars, bad technical performance on launch/console, traps, but even still the negative reaction it got seemed over the top to me. I mention replays a great deal and that's when the game really gets good, it's one of those games where the better you understand the mechanics the more enjoyable it becomes. It took a while for me to accept that 98% of the people that play the game are never going to play a no upgrade run on Nightmare nor are they looking for that experience of which they are wholly unaware of the existence of. In the end it creates a bit of a divide in appreciating certain esoteric aspects that only The Evil Within offers.

I went a bit nuts there and veered all over the place but really I'd like to hear other people talk about aspects of the original that they enjoyed that they felt didn't get enough attention.
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby liontamer » Jul 20, 2017 4:20 pm

I decided to randomly watch a playthrough of the game last night and I was reminded again of all the things that the game pulled off masterfully. From the well-tuned combat mechanics to the constant resource management, and all the various elements of gameplay in between that you mentioned in your post, it proved to be a unique survival horror experience.

I'll add to this discussion by mentioning one particular underappreciated aspect of the game that I feel deserves a spot in this topic; the journal entries and the tape recordings. I remember how I would look forward to entering the next saveroom not just to upgrade Sebastian's skills, but also to find out more about his story. It's the kind of concept that fits perfectly alongside the sense of linearity in the game, and to me it's a very special part of the game.

Sometimes it's just a delight to see some clear emphasis on story and narrative, especially in a world where the videogame market is saturated with open-worlds and massive multiplayers. The idea of piecing together a story not just through cut-scenes, but also through notes and recordings, is a concept that I absolutely loved in classic Resident Evil games and something that needs to return in the sequel.
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby Autoignition » Jul 20, 2017 5:03 pm

SutterCane wrote:Unfortunately trying to put the story together and in parts succeeding turns you into a crazy person and for a week or so after gaining a rudimentary understanding of the plot certain phrases uttered by the ignorant will have you quietly seething.


Wow. Your first post, and I already feel personally attacked. :lol: I'm just kidding. Welcome to the forums, Sutter. It's always awesome to see new blood come in, especially people who are so passionate about the series.

I think I have something meaningful to add to this thread, but I just woke up, so I'll come back to this. :lol: I just wanted to extend a welcome first.
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby SutterCane » Jul 21, 2017 12:58 pm

Well I'm going through another time on Nightmare which is what spurred this on, I tend to forget how well crafted the whole thing is until I go back for another go. Watching other people play the game is somehow more stressful than playing it. I keep hitting the record button on PS4 by accident and later on giving them a watch before deleting, the added tension that comes from knowing I screw up at some point is far too nerve racking.

It seems like over time the reaction to the game's story has softened a bit or maybe the DLC helped people out. Early on if you understood or even liked it you may as well have been talking gibberish to anyone that didn't understand and everything they said was maddening. So I'm not calling anyone out in particular. It's not the draw it was for me now but piecing the story together when the game released was like playing detective and following new threads gave you a new objective each time through. It took a good few times through for me to start to notice all the 4th wall breaking stuff in chapters 9 and 11, so there's still little surprises that prick my attention.

Thanks for the welcome. I'm not the sort to post too much at least not until the sequel hits at which point I'll post far too much in intimate detail on all the enemies more than likely. Sooo many enemies in the sequel.
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby Rikitatsu » Jul 21, 2017 8:01 pm

Welcome to the forums!


I didn't have an experience close to yours with resource scarcity unfortunately, at my first playthrough at Normal, I never felt that I did NOT have enough. In fact, I feel as if the game has a hidden algorithm to make sure you always have enough (Enemies dropping them).. Keep in mind I hated stealth and loved the gunplay so I always took the combat route to encounters, yet I always had enough bullets... The more you upgrade your abilities, the more that ammo scarcity becomes less of a concern.

Nightmare difficulty, though, there are sometimes where I ran out of ammo, but it was very rare and only happened when I played recklessly (Like not using the agony crossbow).
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby SutterCane » Jul 23, 2017 10:32 am

Rikitatsu wrote:Welcome to the forums!


I didn't have an experience close to yours with resource scarcity unfortunately, at my first playthrough at Normal, I never felt that I did NOT have enough. In fact, I feel as if the game has a hidden algorithm to make sure you always have enough (Enemies dropping them).. Keep in mind I hated stealth and loved the gunplay so I always took the combat route to encounters, yet I always had enough bullets... The more you upgrade your abilities, the more that ammo scarcity becomes less of a concern.

Nightmare difficulty, though, there are sometimes where I ran out of ammo, but it was very rare and only happened when I played recklessly (Like not using the agony crossbow).


Well in the run up to TEW release I did a big replay of a bunch of different survival horror. When I did that I got the feeling that with some of them if you wanted to get the most out of their systems sometimes you had to do certain things like apply meta rules to the games for them to give me what I wanted. Others still no matter what I did would never offer up a satisfying resource management gameplay system. There's also a point with applying those rules where you can lose the heart, fun and variety of a game too. Sometimes you have to seek out specific ports but that's a different issue.

So when it came to TEW I never felt on Survivor with upgrades it was too testing but I did feel like there was potential there. For my second go at the game I decided to try simply no upgrades, no keys, no flash, no hud/cursor on Nightmare and that was perfect in a way that I think of it now as the definitive way to play. Ran out of ammo at the gondola part, maybe unsurprisingly, and finished the ride using my last harpoon crafted on the spot with my last trap parts.

Compared to some of what I had to do with other games that's really very little tweaking of gameplay systems that are mostly hidden in the background and I still play the game with nearly all my options open to me so gameplay variety isn't stifled.
I'll never get that same challenge again with the knowledge of the game I have now and since then I've been playing through with less and less to get the same thrill. I think If I were to go back I would still get some challenge out of no upgrade nightmare run though. It's a shame you couldn't because I count it as one of the best most testing of any in the genre, without the game being reduced to it's bare essentials at least.

The ammo drop system is a mystery to me. Certain things never seem to drop like matches,bolts,trap parts,sniper ammo, machine gun ammo. Pistol ammo and upgrade gel seems fairly regular. Sometimes you are low on ammo in your pistol but full on shotgun ammo and the shotgun ammo drops. It's like the game sees you are at low ammo but doesn't know which and even then ammo competes with gel. A good amount of enemies seem to have guaranteed drops. At any rate it left me for dead on that gondola so I don't take it as reliable and with no upgrades killing a guy and receiving upgrade gel is like taking a gob in the mouth.
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby ProgenitorCastle » Aug 16, 2017 1:51 am

So some time ago (a week ago or so I believe), I read the entirety of the OP...and I've gotta say...it feels like to me you REALLY understand many things The Evil Within went for!

I think Mikami stated something along the lines of his approach to pacing survival horror games...he likened the balance between roaming around and combat as a see-saw swinging or something like that haha. It reminds me much of your reflections in the OP on the pacing of this game...

I disagree and/or think several things in the OP are wrong though...too many for me to list tbh, but I'll call you out on one part that I remember vividly:

It might not sound like much but there are a lot of games where when they switch up the gameplay to try something new it usually means dumping everything you are used to. Think Bayonetta, Shadows of the Damned, W101, Castlevania LoS2 where when the gameplay pivots to something new the controls do as well and everything you've learned goes out the window while the segment itself has no mechanical relevance to anything outside itself.


Disagree with that (outside of Shadows of the Damned and Castlevania LoS2, because I haven't played neither so idk about them), ESPECIALLY in the case of The Wondeful 101. I can think of at least one example of a minigame that I feel reinforces what you learn in the standard gameplay even though it shifts into an isometric SHMUP for that section (you still draw the Wonder Liner the same way you would in standard gameplay, and have access to Unite Morphs [they behave differently than usual from the standard gameplay, and yet are still used in many ways like they are used in the standard gameplay]...I feel that you are encouraged to use the Unite Morphs alongside the blasters of the Virgin Victory/Immorta's bot)
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby ProgenitorCastle » Aug 16, 2017 5:20 am

thread bump because it got overshadowed by my latest thread...so you and possibly others could see my reply above this reply
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby SutterCane » Aug 17, 2017 1:44 pm

ProgenitorCastle wrote:thread bump because it got overshadowed by my latest thread...so you and possibly others could see my reply above this reply


I really wouldn't worry about bumping things, this place doesn't move fast enough and I intend to post in that thread anyway.
I think I had just started a playthrough after years not playing TEW and was surprised at how good it was. I guess I went a bit mental and wrote too way much, I'm surprised you read it all. Still I remembered things incorrectly in places, the Keeper's charge attack does not OHKO apparently.

I wasn't making a blanket statement about all the minigames in TW101 but some like when you have to fly two planes with an analogue stick each are completely different to anything you've experienced. Punch Out too is a fairly drastic departure and requires you to learn new inputs. I really enjoy those drastic departures and have always appreciated that they never made any of the one off genre switches easy to compensate for the player being given new tools. Big change ups like that require you to learn new skills on the fly though and learning for many people is frustration. Learning game mechanics is fun for me but trying to get other people to enjoy TW101 I've noticed that's not the common response.

Kind off spinning off on a tangent but TEW and TW101 have a lot in common when it comes to their willingness to throw in elements that they know some people are likely going to hate purely because they know a specific audience does love those elements.

If you wanted to make a criticism while still endearing yourself to me you made the right choice, I wouldn't change a thing about TW101.
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Re: The Misunderstood and Underappreciated Gameplay of TEW

Postby ProgenitorCastle » Aug 17, 2017 10:14 pm

SutterCane wrote:
ProgenitorCastle wrote:thread bump because it got overshadowed by my latest thread...so you and possibly others could see my reply above this reply


I really wouldn't worry about bumping things, this place doesn't move fast enough and I intend to post in that thread anyway.
I think I had just started a playthrough after years not playing TEW and was surprised at how good it was. I guess I went a bit mental and wrote too way much, I'm surprised you read it all. Still I remembered things incorrectly in places, the Keeper's charge attack does not OHKO apparently.

I wasn't making a blanket statement about all the minigames in TW101 but some like when you have to fly two planes with an analogue stick each are completely different to anything you've experienced. Punch Out too is a fairly drastic departure and requires you to learn new inputs. I really enjoy those drastic departures and have always appreciated that they never made any of the one off genre switches easy to compensate for the player being given new tools. Big change ups like that require you to learn new skills on the fly though and learning for many people is frustration. Learning game mechanics is fun for me but trying to get other people to enjoy TW101 I've noticed that's not the common response.

Kind off spinning off on a tangent but TEW and TW101 have a lot in common when it comes to their willingness to throw in elements that they know some people are likely going to hate purely because they know a specific audience does love those elements.

If you wanted to make a criticism while still endearing yourself to me you made the right choice, I wouldn't change a thing about TW101.


Re: it's not necessary for me to constantly bump threads, especially on this site's forums:

Aah! Thanks for telling me that! I shall keep that in mind for this site going forward :P

I'm glad you took my reply to my prev. post in general in a way I consider humble! For a sec, I was worried you'd get defensive, argue back, etc...glad that's not the case this time!

I re-read the part about genre shifts in some games you've played (I think they might be some of your favorite games?)...and I looked past the USUALLY word...sorry about that haha. That word alone changed that entire part for me...the examples in The Wonderful 101 you mentioned to me in this reply I quoted from you make sense to me as to what you meant initially! I'm particularly fond of these switch-ups in gameplay...as I liken them to "video game covers" (especially when the game switches over to a style of gameplay from another known franchise, like the Punch-out! esque boss battles)

Re: Kind off spinning off on a tangent but TEW and TW101 have a lot in common when it comes to their willingness to throw in elements that they know some people are likely going to hate purely because they know a specific audience does love those elements.

Yea...I love that tendency in The Wonderful 101, yet dislike it at times in TEW...like FORCED WALKING being kind of prevalent in it for example still rubs me the wrong way...I remember getting quite pissed at RE6 for having a lot of forced walking for beginning of Leon's game, and getting pissed that that's one of the things TEW copied from that game (alongside ENEMIES WITH GUNS IIRC :/ )

Re:
If you wanted to make a criticism while still endearing yourself to me you made the right choice

Thanks! :P

Re: I wouldn't change a thing about TW101.

I LOVE the game as it is, don't get me wrong, Kamiya and co. really nailed alot of the things they went for in this game imo...but I'd change a few things about it personally. For example, at least for Easy and Normal modes only, I'd change the Unite Spring (dodge move) to not consume energy from the energy meter (forgot the actual name for it), as I feel that's too unforgiving for players on these difficulties, myself included at times. I'd make it more similar to Bayonetta series' style of dodging, where I believe you can dodge up to 5 times consecutively before a "cooldown" kicks in...I'd think that tweak could help newcomers in general get into the game more easier
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