With his last few projects consisting of titles like Vanquish and God Hand, Shinji Mikami has been away from the survival horror genre for some time. The Evil Within, Mikami’s latest project being published by Bethesda Softworks, marks his return to the survival genre since his departure with Resident Evil 4. Prefacing the E3 presentation, Mikami said, “We are making a truly terrifying game and taking survival horror back to its roots.”
Adding to that, Mikami stated the importance of older mechanics that made survival horror titles actually scary, including limited resources and ammo, truly fighting for survival, along with newer mechanics like sneaking and stealth killing, while abandoning industry-wide QTEs.
The presentation starts as the game’s protagonist, Detective Sebastian goes into an asylum where there have been a couple of murders already. There is a western look here, something that has been a trademark of the Resident Evil series for a while now, and ominous music as they enter. They walk into the building to find a couple of dead bodies before seeing a surveillance tape that shows the cops shooting off into the distance helplessly as something supernatural stabs and kills them. He turns around afterwards only to have the same figure knock him out.
As Sebastian wakes up, he’s being hung upside down in what appears to be a meat locker. A large, masked man comes into the room with a chainsaw, cutting up what can only be another person next to him. As it happens, all we hear are a mixture of screams and the chainsaw slicing through flesh. As the hulking monster leaves the room, the detective looks for a chance to escape, swinging himself forward and grabbing a knife to cut himself down. Slowly and strategically, he escapes detection by the man as he’s seemingly butchering a carcass. Quite expectedly, he trips an alarm on the way to the next room and alerts the mysterious monstrosity, initiating a chase segment filled with narrow escapes, stealth, and hiding. It’s clear how powerless Sebastian is in this scene. At the end, he narrowly escapes being cut up and rides an elevator up, walking outside only to discover that the entire parking lot had collapsed. The feeling of powerlessness here is something that gamers have been pining for. Something that all survival horror games have been lacking as of late.
“The feeling of powerlessness here is something that gamers have been pining for. Something that all survival horror games have been lacking as of late.”
The presentation then skips forward to a segment called Perth House, where Sebastian has some inventory at his disposal. Injured, he limps his way into the house, eventually finding some health items and restoring both his health and walking speed. It’s clear that he has very little ammo, though the game provides various ways to take out enemies. While he takes out one of them in the basement with a head shot, the other notices him and Sebastian takes out his knees instead. With the enemy downed, he simple lights a match and sets him on fire instead. After he finds some mine traps, groups of enemies rush in from the outside. As they come in, though he’s able to fight off a few, it’s clear that there are neither enough bullets or mines to finish off the wave, so he retreats to the basement. Though he keeps running, the hallway only keeps repeating until he reaches the end of the hall and a wave of blood rushes over him ala The Shining. Once he is engulfed, the hallway suddenly goes back to that of the Asylum, where there is a corpse waiting for him in the upcoming room. Slowly, a monster with multiple, sharp limbs crawls out and chases after Sebastian. He runs a bit, but decides to take a stand and helplessly fire at it. It doesn’t even flinch before it jumps Sebastian and stabs him, signifying the end of the presentation.
It’s clear already that the game will be returning to the survival horror roots as seen in the lacking ammo and overpowering enemies. Sebastian isn’t a superhuman STARS member, but he seems to be a mortal who is lost in some supernatural realm where human weapons and strength have apparently little effect. Be ready to play with the lights on again when The Evil Within comes in 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.