My Review of The Evil Within...

(Discuss the game)

My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby Rikitatsu » Oct 16, 2014 5:39 am

So yeah, after years of hyping this up since it was Project ZWEI, I finally beat the game yesterday... (14 Hours, around 100 deaths).

Let's begin with the pros, since I'll be a bit harsh with the cons.


Pros

Combat:
While the aiming is nothing special, the bullet feedback and impact on the enemies is just superb! This game has the best headshots of ALL TIME! I was planning on replaying RE4 after finishing this, but man I think I'll feel a downgrade when I pop someone's head off.

The Traps, Agony Crossbow, and Matches add a sweet layer of strategy to every encounter, I love how I can throw one match and watch a whole mob of Haunted burn to death, very satisfying and a great crowd control tactic. And every bolt with the Agony Crossbow felt like it served a purpose, I used all of them extensively and they were very useful and offered different tactical benefits.

I also liked how I could use the traps in the environments against the enemies, and that will lead me to the second point:

Level Design:
... Is mostly excellent! Especially evident in levels like Ch.7 and Ch.10, enemy and trap placement is also great. The game is at it's best when it throws at you an open level filled with enemies, traps, and multiple ways to tackle it.

Boss Fights:
Pretty much the majority of those were excellent, but my highlight would be
Laura's fight in Ch.5, it was intense and fun, one of the best boss fights I've ever played.



Art Direction:
Yeah, Naoki Katakai delivered, as expected. The Atmosphere and art is pretty damn good, very oppressive, but sometimes beautiful. Even locations such the city which I thought would be bland, turned out looking great.



Cons


Shitty pace-breaking "AAA" tropes:
Excuse the language, but this is the area where I felt Mikami has betrayed my faith in him:

-Crappy "forced walk/forced limp" sections.
-Shitty NPC Companion sections, not only do they ruin the sense of isolation, but also the atmosphere.
-Some unskipable cutscenes, and there is a lot of them. I nearly threw my controller at the part where
Joseph stops every 5 minutes to cough and you can't even move the character

-PRESS FORWARD TO WIN setpieces that are prevalent in games such as Uncharted. Boring, very boring.

All of the above combined soured me on the game, especially on a second playthrough. I tried replaying a chapter but turned off the game because it keeps taking the controls from me with all these boring setpieces. By far my biggest complaint. Now compare this with every Mikami game has done in the past, the moment the opening cutscene is finished, the game instantly begins, no filler, no entire chapters focusing on just stealth or limping away.


Lack of Polish:
This effects pretty much every part of the game, but what I hated most was how the game sometimes doesn't recognize the button-prompts for burning enemies or picking items, so I try to re-position myself around until I can pick the item up, but the worst part in burning... Sometimes I tried to burn enemies but the prompt won't appear, and the enemy went back up. It was very frustrating.


Awkward Camera:
The zoom and position of the camera changes depending on the level. Ch.3 had the camera zoomed and made the whole thing a bit nauseating for me. But the worst thing is the sneaking mode camera. I struggled with it a lot, especially when trying to peek from corners. This has made stealth not enjoyable for me.


Bullshit Trial-and-Error deaths:
Basically the reason I died a lot on this game. I'm against hand-holding, but at least the developer provide audio-visual cues to help the player understand what's required from them to beat this gameplay scenario. There are a lot of times in TEW where I had no idea how that thing would kill me.

Let me give you an example, you're being chased by something and you have to run (With the camera showing what's behind you, not infront of you). And there is what seems to be a puddle of liquid infront of you on the left side, but it turns out it's not a puddle but something deeper so Sebastian had to wade through it until he was caught. How do they expect me to avoid it if they didn't communicate to the player that it's deep? Why would something that deep be in a place like that anyway?

Disjointed structure:
This the first thing I feared when they announced the game, that the mental hospital would serve as a kind of hub, and instead of a connected and cohesive adventure, you'll just be transported to different locations randomly... And that's what happened, unfortunately. When I finally get immersed in a location the game decides to just throw me back to the Mental Hospital (Which I got bored of it's aesthetics by the end of the game). As a result the game feels "all over the place" and random.

OST Is Bland:
Not a single track in the game stands out. It's just... bland.

Not pros or cons, but some thoughts on what I think were missed opportunities:

When I heard about the Morphing Environments element in the game, I thought I'd be used subtly to mess with the player, like "Where did that door go?!" and integrate it in the gameplay. But it's use has been superficial and cosmetic, just to transport you into different locations or to showcase story elements/setpieces.

Also, I wish the game had more variety in locations, especially when they were going with the "random transpositions from hub" route instead of a connected adventure. I mean look at these concept arts:
phpBB [video]


Almost none of them made the cut, and that disappointed me personally. What we've got was good, but I still would've liked more.




Final thoughts:
Overall, The Evil Within is a great game, but it doesn't reach the bar of quality I expect from Mikami (RE4, Godhand, Vanquish). It feels as Mikami is trying to appease to the AAA crowd by putting story and setpieces over gameplay. I certainly hope that this won't be Mikami's last directorial gig, I don't want his career to end with a whimper.

8/10
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby Krusiv » Oct 16, 2014 6:45 am

I'm surprised you still give it an 8/10 despite all of those important Cons. I agree with your pros/cons list almost to a tee, but the cons are too big for me to ignore personally. I'd give TEW a high 6 or low 7, myself.

I do enjoy the game for what it is but they marketed this all wrong with lines like "the savior of survival horror." To me it's like a linear shooting game with good atmosphere and story. Bonus points for having slightly limited ammo, ammo crafting system, and the way traps work. I never felt "lost" in the game and I don't think a chapter system works well in survival horror titles.
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby DeHeerser » Oct 16, 2014 6:54 am

What I noticed is this: when you reload your revolver for one bullet, Sebastians animation/sound still puts in more than one, and the same is true for Shotgun (I mostly use double barreled).
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby Rikitatsu » Oct 16, 2014 8:34 am

Krusiv wrote:I'm surprised you still give it an 8/10 despite all of those important Cons. I agree with your pros/cons list almost to a tee, but the cons are too big for me to ignore personally. I'd give TEW a high 6 or low 7, myself.

I enjoyed the combat far too much to give it below 8. It's really well done.
I'm planning on a second playthrough on Nightmare, but each time I remember the first two chapters my will to play vanishes.
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby DizzyWithin » Oct 16, 2014 10:24 am

I agree with all the points other than the "bland" OST, I really enjoyed a few tracks on it, which is unusual for me.

Oh and I felt they overdid the "trail-and-error" deaths a bit as well. If they had toned it down on those insta-death moments, I think it would have added to everyone's enjoyment.
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby Goochbot » Oct 16, 2014 11:47 am

Good review. About the same score I'd give it myself. The trial and error nature of the game was my biggest gripe, as well as having partners every now and then. Very capablewith a gun, too, much more akin to Sheva from RE5. A great game, frustrations aside, just not quite as great as I was hoping it would be.
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby Rikitatsu » Oct 16, 2014 12:52 pm

DizzyWithin wrote:I agree with all the points other than the "bland" OST, I really enjoyed a few tracks on it, which is unusual for me.

Can you post tracks that you found noteable or enjoyable?
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby ghostcall » Oct 16, 2014 3:05 pm

agree you should put it on bethesda thread as feedback.

you should also add the lack of horror the game not once tried to scare me and few jump scares are very weak.

i am at chapter 7 right now.
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby DaveOfTheDead87 » Oct 16, 2014 3:11 pm

I love every part of the game, keeps me on edge, good story, AI is good as Joseph saved my butt many a times. Only issue I have is the swimming animation.. I started flying as I came out the water lol.. but thats a minor issue. otherwise I thought it was an epic game. feels like I'm in a horror movie, nightmare. very mind fudging
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Re: My Review of The Evil Within...

Postby yourfrag » Oct 16, 2014 4:48 pm

I love this game, but Im just sad about The Evil Within didnt scare me more, just few times. But I guess its hard when Im 26 and its not easy like when I was 12 and played Resident Evil 1 for first time. Im in chapter 14 now and I have less than 50 deads, its easy for me on survival so my next playthrough will be probably Akumu. I wish Shinji pushed harder and make it REALLY scary like focus only on survival horror, not sure if I can say it about The Evil Within, you dont get lost, ammo everywhere, puzzless are too easy and enemies with fucking guns really dont work in survival horror game, knife, axes etc. are fine, they cut your neck, but not fucking guns, please no more Resident Evil 4! I love this game, but its easy for real horror fans
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