Examiner received a brief hands-on today at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 with The Evil Within, developer Tango Gameworks debut project slated for release later this year. The Evil Within marks the return of Shinji Mikami -- most known for creating the Resident Evil franchise -- to the survival horror genre. Unfortunately, the game just isn’t scary, and we can thank Sebastian Castellanos for that.
Detective Sebastian Castellanos is The Evil Within’s emotionless protagonist. No matter what horrific things he sees, what terrifying creatures he encounters, he never loses his marbles. Not just that, but he hardly reacts to them at all. At one point during our demo, he is swallowed by a tidal wave of blood and surfaces seconds later to find himself about waist deep in a pool of red liquid in the middle of a dark, strange room. He then calmly says “what the hell just happened?” And moves on.
It’s like those horror movies that are actually quite funny because the acting is terrible. It comes off as frightening at first and there were plenty of moments that made us jump, but we played The Evil Within for about 30 minutes and by that time the scares no longer phased us. We sort of just brushed it off and proceeded, just like our buddy Sebastian.
To be blunt, Sebastian is an awful protagonist. His lifelessness is also shown through gameplay; the character movements are stiff and Sebastian runs out of stamina about as fast as a soldier from Call of Duty. The worst thing about that is that if you hold down the run button while the stamina meter is empty, Sebastian will stop for a few seconds to catch his breath. There was a moment where we were being chased down the hall by a deadly spider-like creature, and just inches from the escape elevator Sebastian stopped for a breather and was killed.
Then there’s the long load screen after a death -- though we won’t judge that too harshly since the game isn’t exactly finished yet and hopefully there’s time to work on it.
Speaking of which, keep in mind that we’ve only played through a very small portion of an unfinished game and everything we’re saying is based solely off what we’ve seen thus far.
Though gameplay is a bit stiff, there's still some fun to be had. For starters, for a brief demo there were tons of weapons available, including a crossbow, axe, pistol, knife and shotgun. Weapons can be switched using the weapon wheel, though players must be careful when and where they decide to do so since accessing the wheel doesn't pause the game, it only slows down time. Another cool addition is zombies that won't die unless you burn its corpse after it's been downed.
The game has some good ideas, but from what we've seen so far, those ideas aren't exactly enough to keep us interested. For now, we remain hopeful. But after today, our excitement for the game has largely decreased.
The Evil Within, which recently suffered a delay, is slated for an October 21 launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.