The Evil Within has been fairly divisive during its time at PAX East 2014. Some people adored the old-school Resident Evil vibe while others thought that move was a step in the wrong direction. Some thought it was terrifying, others bland and boring. After watching the hands-off demo, I found myself somewhere in the middle.
The first part of the demo saw main character Sebastian Castellanos in a city where the laws of physics seemed not too exist. Buildings would disappear beneath the ground, fall from the sky and expand to close in around you.
This section also showed off many zombie-like enemies for Sebastian to kill. There was a heavy emphasis on shooting out the legs, a-la Resident Evil 4/5, in order to conserve the precious ammo in the game. This whole section of the game looked very Resident Evil 5 action heavy. I was never scared, never felt tense, and the gameplay looked like the same third-person over the shoulder combat that is becoming more and more common.
The second half of the demo was much more up my alley. Sebastian was locked in some dungeon-esque basement with poison gas quickly filling it. He had to run through a labyrinth and find valves to stop the flow of gas. Making things more difficult was the appearance of a Pyramid Head-like monster that would show up at the worst times and harrow Sebastian.
This section of the demo brought the tension and the scares that I had been expecting to see throughout the whole demo. The monster seemingly couldn’t be killed, only incapacitated for a short time before reappearing in a new area. This is the kind of Evil Within I hope to see more of.
This game feels very schizophrenic right now. Between the demos that had been previously shown and the two shown at PAX East, the game has multiple different feels to it. The second half of the demo really got me excited to see and play more of the game, but seeing the first half of the demo is making me more hesitant. It’s a guess at this point which type of gameplay The Evil Within will focus more on.