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    dkirschner's The Evil Within (PS3)

    [January 8, 2017 04:18:41 PM]
    Went on a marathon the last few days to complete The Evil Within. I wasn't expecting a whole lot due to the game's average reviews. But they generally agreed that it was a solid survival horror game a la the original Resident Evil, with scarce ammo and tough enemies. I think I enjoyed it more than the norm. It's highly engrossing largely due to the environments, combat, and good pacing.

    It wouldn't be survival horror without a mental hospital, mad scientists, sadistic experiments, and traversing sewers, churches, cemeteries, factories, power supply stations, and ruined city blocks. It definitely knows its influences. The story is a bit convoluted, and I finally started following it about 2/3 of the way through. You're constantly being sucked into different places and seemingly different times and realities following several different characters (two cops, an escaped patient, a doctor) and being hunted/toyed with by Ruvik, the antagonist. It makes some sense in the end, at least as far as your character goes, but I'm still not quite sure why Ruvik was doing what he was doing (I just read the Wikipedia...definitely didn't piece together the details while playing). Trust me, the plot is in left field, and that's not what will keep you interested.

    What will keep you interested is the combat. I played on Casual difficulty instead of the normal one because I heard the game was punishing. I recommend Casual. It was challenging in some places without being frustratingly difficult. In typical survival horror fashion, you have some guns (I upgraded the base pistol and shotgun a lot) and find melee weapons. Ammo was scarce, but if you are smart and burn enemies with matches and use traps and other fun opportunities, you will easily conserve it, on casual at least. Melee weapons are one-time use, but will kill just about anything you hit. You get a sweet crossbow and can craft your own bolts. Bolts themselves are scarce, but the crafting components are abundant. I had like 150 scrap parts by the end of the game (enough for 50 bolts, which is a ton). There are explosive bolts, bolts that freeze enemies, bolts that are like flashbangs, and a couple other types. Super useful.

    You get crafting components from dismantling traps. In addition to Ruvik's experiments, he enjoys laying traps. If you see traps or bombs before they kill you, you can hold X to dismantle them and get crafting components to make bolts. There are all sorts of traps to get killed by: bear traps, barbed wire traps, tripwires, sticky bombs, sirens, etc. You can also lure enemies into some of them, or like shoot a sticky bomb as an enemy walks by. Great fun. There's a large stealth element to combat, and one thing you can do is toss bottles to lure enemies. Used in conjunction with traps, with stealth kills, with burning bodies, all fun ways to deal with enemies.

    There are a lot of boss battles in The Evil Within, and most are pretty unique. My favorite was the long-haired girl (I think it's Ruvik's dead sister, Laura, or some monster version of her). You fight her two or three times and have to run her through a gauntlet of fire trying to shoot switches and mash buttons to catch her in jets of flame. It is INTENSE (which describes a lot of this game). I also thought the squid boss was cool, once I figured out that it camouflages itself. Before that, I couldn't figure out where it had gone, and it kept popping out little exploding worm babies endlessly. A couple boss fights are pretty typical survival horror stuff (e.g., the chainsaw-wielding butcher and "locker-head" which seems like a bad Pyramid Head ripoff). And still a couple are just plain boring and easy, like the one on the bus, and, unfortunately, the final battle on rails against Ruvik (although leading up to Ruvik is a harrowing series of wave attacks where I imagine many people will run out of ammo!).

    Finally, the various environments you go to are very cool, topped by the in-progress destruction of Krimson City by Ruvik in the last several chapters. The city destruction is impressive. Otherwise, the game has a number of graphical shortcomings, such as slowly loading textures, stuttering after loading screens (I had one full-on freeze), and random other bugs. One time I had a bottle for a hand for a couple hours. It was the bottle that never broke.

    In the end, you'll also be hunting for ammo and green gel, Evil Within's version of XP that you can use to upgrade weapon capability, ammo storage, sprint duration, health, and other random stuff. The upgrades are super useful and you'll want to poke around for green gel and hope you discover a lot of Madonna statues. Shoot these to get keys to unlock safes in your safehouse and get goodies. All in all, thoroughly enjoyable game. I haven't played survival horror like this in a long time, probably since the last time I replayed Silent Hill a couple years ago, and Resident Evil 4 before that. It's divided up into 15 chapters and I clocked about that many hours (probably a couple more due to dying), so easily playable in short chunks and nicely broken up.
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    dkirschner's The Evil Within (PS3)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 6 January, 2017

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 8 January, 2017

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Great combat, convoluted story. Some harrowing moments! ---------- Thoroughly enjoyable. Gameplay gets a bit run-n-gun toward the end.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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