The Evil Within begins with you as cop Sebastian Castellanos, called to a dilapidated hospital with your colleagues, and having to solve a crime, yet before long you’re chained to the ceiling by some freaky nutjob with a chainsaw.
With a busted leg, you have to creep about at times – although it’s not like you can run at this point. Once you’ve escaped, the titles play out and then you find that the whole world has gone to hell in a handbag, and as you take a ride in a stolen ambulance with one of your colleagues and a few randoms, including a weird woman called Leslie, who looks like she’s suffering from Ebola, the world starts falling apart like Roland Emmerich’s movie, 2012.
The basic premise is that there’s a mysterious force that’s causing all this, and you have to get to the bottom of it all, but basically, you’re running from one fantastic – and fantastical – scenario after another, and it’s fascinating to discover what’s going to happen next.
It took me a little getting used to the controls as I don’t play a lot of PC games – I prefer to use a joypad and for reasons best known to itself, my PS3 joypad just won’t configure with my PC, despite trying numerous times with (get name of DS3 app). While almost all the keys are user-definableable, I mainly stuck with the arrow keys for forward, back and strafing left and right, using the mouse to turn around and also shoot a weapon. I would’ve preferred to reassign turning to the left and right arrows, but the arrow keys are the only ones which can’t be changed (grrr!)
That said, movement around the levels is fairly intuitive, even though at times it feels like I’ve no idea where I’m going initially, and there are also also moments of scariness – as I’m being lumbered after by zombies – which I haven’t felt since the early days of Resident Evil. This is clearly thanks to the interjection from main developer Shinji Mikami, who created said survival horror series.
The Evil Within – example gameplay footage with booby traps! (1080p HD)
Some annoying things about the game:
- The game won’t go fullscreen initially. I’m playing on a 50″ full HD Panasonic TV in 1920×1080, and have to use ALT + Enter each time I load it up. This worked fine for the first time I played the game, but the next and subsequent times, it was going into 720p resolution for no apparent reason, even though I have the PC hooked up by HDMI to the telly. This happened because it was forcing my PC into 640×480 mode. God knows why. I haven’t had this issue with any other Steam games. Somehow, going back to the desktop, going into resolution settings and clicking ‘detect’ sorted it out. I might’ve had to do another ALT + Enter, but then I was all set. What a palaver! Did this get missed in the game testing?
- Graphically, I’m only getting 15-20fps on this game. Steam has been perfectly fine for other games, and I’m using a PC with an Intel i7 core with 8Gb RAM, so what gives?
- Also, while I like the cinemascope look for films, I don’t think it works for games as you want the full screen working for you. It’s a shame I can’t change this.
However, overall, The Evil Within throws some really freaky shit at you including, early on, zombies even setting booby traps for you! (These also don’t help with your gammy leg). Hence, despite the dodgy frame-rate, it’s still an engaging and essential game to play.
The Evil Within trailer
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Players: single player campaign
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: No
- Spoken language: English
- Subtitles: English
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.