Jun 13, 2013

Shinji Mikami's Evil Within Is A True Return To Form

No matter which way you spin things, Resident Evil 4 was Capcom's last true survival horror entry, redefining the genre for a new generation. While games like the first Dead Space offered a return to true survival horror, the market seemed to shift towards a more action-oriented style of game (or so publishers claimed) pushing developers to drop the scary and focus on the pew-pew. The niche for survival horror remained and while it seemed that only indies were willing to truly touch the genre, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami is looking to return to what cemented him as an all-star game designer.

During our press time with Bethesda, Shinji Mikami took the floor as he introduced Evil Within, explaining that he wanted to 'Bring back the golden age of survival horror.' As we bordered on skepticism, our worries that the game would be nothing more than a cash-in flaunting Mikami's name quickly turned into fear, but the good kind. From the very first scene up until the very end of the demo, I couldn't help but feel a sense of uneasiness that I haven't felt since the glory days of Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

The game wields a hefty set of diversity in terms of gameplay, forcing players to sneak away from a monster wielding a chainsaw in one instance and placing traps inside a surrounded cabin (a la Resident Evil 4) in the next. One thing in particular that stood out was how well each of these scenes seem to incorporate a new element. For instance, during the first scene the demonstrator was forced to run like hell as a chainsaw monster attempted to chase them to their doom.

At one point during this scene, the main character, Sebastian Castellanos takes a chainsaw to the leg, forcing him to limp to safety. By slowing down the player's movement and rendering him helpless, a feeling of panic began to rise as the demonstrator attempted to avoid the seemingly inevtiable chainsaw mauling Sebastian was going to endure.

After avoiding Sebastian's demise, the demonstrator jumped to the cabin scene, which played eerily similar to Resident Evil 4's opening scene. Quickly overwhelmed by enemies, the demonstrator entered the cabin's basement in which a hallucination began to occur where Detective Sebastian was quickly overtaken by a flood of blood reminiscent of that infamous scene in Kubricks's The Shining.

Shortly after this scene, Detective Sebastian finds himself facing the biggest 'f*ck this sh*t' moment shown throughout the demo, where his version of reality pretty much ceases to exist. We won't spoil it, but it definitely set the the tone for the sheer amount of psychological horror that will be inflicted upon the protagonist, and the player.

Shinji Mikami isn't messing around when he says he wants to bring back the golden age of survival horror, Evil Within seems like it will fulfill that want and I couldn't be happier.

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