Looking within…


Well this past week or so I have been playing The Evil Within.  This is Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s latest foray into the world of survival horror and marks a return to form for the genre following the poorly received Resident Evil 6 and the cut & paste Silent Hill reboots.  I am enjoying it a great deal and it really feels suitably freaky and gruesome.  Mikami is a master at videogame design and pacing and this has it in spades.

theevilwithin

Atmosphere is superb and the story, for what it is … is fairly vague and trippy (the game jumps from one hallucination to the next and levels don’t follow a linear path as far as narrative is concerned).  There is a hub level where you save your game but this is also weird … a hospital or mental asylum where only a single (sort of attractive) nurse keeps you company and you go back and forth from the various levels by looking into a mirror.  You can also upgrade your abilities and weapons here by sitting in a chair that locks you in securely and clamps some sort of thing on your head … very Saw.  This game borrows heavily from various sources but has influences from Saw, Japanese horrors like The Ring and The Grudge and even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It’s like a greatest hits of horror – and I am loving it.

Take a look at this gameplay demo for a good idea of this game’s tone:

The game is fairly lengthy also and I am in chapter 7 so far and know there are at least 11 chapters in total along with a new-game plus mode which I’m guessing lets you replay chapters with all your upgrades intact.  The game keeps to the Resident Evil formula with you having very limited ammo, getting weak from running, you can die very easily and you need to scavenge for supplies by opening boxes or breaking crates.  There are also a few basic puzzles to keep you occupied.  The main draw here though seems to be the boss battles, something Mikami is especially good at, and so far I’ve faced such creations as a chainsaw wielding psychopath, a freaky spider-lady and a rabid mutant dog … shudder, all brilliantly staged with plenty of clever foreshadowing (you get to creep past the dog’s massive cage in one sequence as it sleeps, leading up to a very tough encounter with the angry mutt).

If you’re after a game that’s a real throwback to the heyday of survival horror but with the big-budget stylings of Hostel or Saw … this has it.  It’s not easy, will challenge you but if you enjoy this style of game you’ll love every second.

The completion list


Here’s a list of the games I have managed to complete.  I get a great sense of achievement out of completing a game, as unlike a movie it’s more about taking part, learning the controls and for the most part, facing a foe and coming away triumphant.  It’s not easy either.  Yet like a movie I prefer story driven games, and get a lot out of a good plot, interesting characters and situations.  Yet finding a game that keeps me playing to the end is tough, so the following list I also consider to be the cream of the crop of current gaming.

Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (story finished)

Super Mario Odyssey (story finished)

PlayStation 4

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Dishonoured 2 (finished play-through as ‘Corvo’)

The Last Guardian

The Order 1886

Uncharted 4: A Thieve’s End

XBOX ONE

Battlefield 4 (finished campaign)

Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (finished campaign)

Dead Rising 3

Gears of War 4

Halo 5 Guardians

Life Is Strange

Metro: Last Light Redux

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Sunset Overdrive

Titanfall (finished campaign)

Titanfall 2 (finished campaign)

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Watchdogs

Wolfenstein: The New Order

XBOX 360

Alan Wake

Alice: The Madness Returns

Bioshock

Bioshock Infinite

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 1, 2

Crysis 1, 2

Darksiders 2

Dead Space

DMC: Devil May Cry

Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

F.E.A.R. 1, 2

Gears Of War 1, 2, 3

God Of War 3

Halo 3

Jet Set Radio

Lara Croft and the Guardian Of Light

Mafia II

Max Payne 3

Portal

Rage

Resident Evil 5

Splinter Cell Conviction

Tomb Raider Underworld

Playstation 3

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Darksiders

Dead Space 2

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Dishonored

Heavy Rain

Hitman: Absolution

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

Killzone 2

The Last Of Us

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 3

Portal 2

Tomb Raider

Uncharted 2: Among Theives

Vanquish

Resident Evil 5 demo


Ok people, over on the Japanese XBOX Live marketplace we have the new Resident Evil 5 demo!!  From what I have seen, it plays very much like Resi 4 (which is no bad thing) and has a computer controlled partner very much like Resident Evil Zero on the Gamecube.  Predictably she seems as thick as shit, and you end up doing all the work.  Tutt tutt.  Still, can see me getting the game regardless, because when it comes to survival horror and action – Resident Evil Baaaaby!!!

Dead Space


I love the horror genre, and videogames are no exception, with some prime examples over the years from Konami’s brilliant Silent Hill series (especially the unnerving, brilliantly paced SH #2), the much acclaimed Resident Evil franchise, and now this from Electronic Arts, a publisher I have come to despise due to their endless revenue and their buying up of talented development houses only to rip them apart until little of the initial talent remains.  Oh and their yearly sports updates and mainstream marketing leave a bad taste in my mouth.  Yet word has it that this publisher has begun to turn its game around with some promising titles on the horizon (including the fantastic looking Mirror’s Edge) and so we come to this, EA’s toe-in-the-water attempt at a survival horror.

I liked the look of this, claustrophobic corridors, inventive weaponry, eerie atmosphere and ‘things’ to kill on a haunted space ship.  Harks back to the forgotten classic horror movie Event Horizon (which is brilliant – don’t let anyone tell you different), as you play some Marine who thankfully is not bald or muscular, but kinda looks a bit f***** up with a bizarre suit and helmet.  This is an example of the game’s top-drawer art design with some great H.R. Geiger influenced imagery and stunning attention to detail.  Yes, it was done just as well in ID’s brilliant shooter Doom 3 (which this game resembles in all but perspective), and for me, the whole place is a joy to explore.  Add to this some inventive creature design (they kinda look like mutated survivors of the space ship, at first guess at least), and some intense confrontations and jump moments – I’m already completely sucked in. 

I will report back soon with more on my impressions as I play through the game.  So far so brilliant.

Alone In The Dark


Ok, got this today…have played it for about 2 hours…and my opinion?

Lovely atmospheric graphics with the best fire effects I have yet seen in a game.  The controls as widely-reported are indeed clunky & over-complicated, but are by no means un-managable.  My real concern is in the game’s novelty (see: pointless) dvd-menu gimmick allowing you to ‘skip’ forward to later parts of the game – for no other reason than to ruin your experience.  Absolute idiocy.  I of course will not sucome to such temptation, as I have a feeling the game will be short enough without needing to fast-forward. 

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