Survival Horror is Creeping Back (E3 2013)
The survival horror genre has been dangling by a thread for years now, with only a few games here and there to keep the genre from plunging away into the dark abyss of history. Many folks felt Dead Space 3 wasn’t survival horror enough for them (personally, I loved the game), but now we can all rejoice because Tango Gameworks and Bethesda are bringing us what looks to be a potent entry into the survival horror genre with The Evil Within.
During the Bethesda booth tour at E3 nobody explained much of what exactly was happening, but the playthrough did show off the elements of what I was looking for in a great horror game. The Evil Within looks like its encompassing all of the horror genres from Victorian horror, to Gothic, to the horror films of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s up... to now.
Our preview began with a group of detectives stumbling upon a murder scene at a mental institution. Right off the bat, I can tell that the devs and writers are working towards a more player-integrated and less FMV experience (relies less on cutscenes). Nobody is talking too long, nobody is explaining hours of exposition. You’re thrown right into the scene.
Finding your way through the bloody mass of bodies, you eventually end up unconscious. You wake up hanging upside down with mutilated bodies dangling all around you. A "leatherface"-like character walks in, takes one of the bodies (talk about visceral sounds here! As you can’t really move but a few ways each direction, you only hear his chainsaw and the splattering of guts right behind you), then he walks by you with half a torso and proceeds to cut it up on a medical table.
Finding a way to escape, you then have to SNEAK RIGHT BEHIND THIS GUY and take a key to escape. But an alarm is tripped, and the chase begins. You love being chased by a chainsaw-wielding maniac, especially while you’re LIMPING, right? Plowing through doors, through a maze of halls, knocking tables and stumbling to get away, you finally find yourself hiding in a locker while this guy looks for you. It reminded me of the pyramid head closet scene in Silent Hill 2. From there, it’s now a game of cat and mouse as you sneak away to your freedom… all while this chainsaw leatherface monster is looking for you… Bloody hell.
In the next level we saw, you were shacked up in an old house, and of course, outside there is a hoard of zombies coming for you. Here the action / fighting was highlighted a bit, and it looks a lot like Dead Space or RE4: tight, focused, and accurate (the game runs off the id Tech 5 engine). The monsters here are crazy as hell: zombies with knifes jabbed into every part of their body, through their limbs, their heads, their necks, and still coming at you like your a bloody steak and they haven’t eaten in years.
So you head down into the basement, and then we get a little The Shining here: you start hallucinating walls of blood flooding the hallways. At the end of the hall, you find a mess of guts on the ground and suddenly you have something that looks like it came out John Carpenter’s The Thing. Right there I was sold: George Romero meets Kubrick meets Carpenter? Hell yes!
For any horror fan, this looks like the game we’ve been waiting for. It’s hard not to get too excited about The Evil Within, but with a TBA 2014 release date, all we can do is wait and watch.
Three things describe Rando: Good beer, good food, and video games. On occasion, Rando flies a zeppelin through time seeking power crystals.
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