Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Play Log 2014 - Within The Evil Within

The Evil Within Image As much as I love "survival horror" games, I have to come out and say that The Evil Within is just a bad game.

I guess I really shouldn't have expected much different. When I heard previews of this game, I was a little shocked that the comments were so derogatory. It seems most outlets (this was IGN) are willing to give an unreleased title the benefit of the doubt. We all want to see a game succeed, but this one was condemned before it was even born. Then, when it was released, Joystiq gave it a 2 1/2 out of 5, which they seldom drop on most games. Some reviewers were a little kinder, but in general it didn't fare well.

Now that I see the end result, I have to say it deserved all the criticism.

I did a Gamestop "rental" on it and as of this writing it has been returned after 4 1/2 fairly joyless hours. Yes, I know, it's a horror game. I'm not "supposed" to enjoy it, but this game felt more like work. Most of this was because the game has no story to speak of. And when I say that, I mean there are characters, but you have no idea why you are there, why things are happening they way they are, or what you are trying to accomplish other than to not get killed. The best game comparison I can make (and most other reviewers made) is with Resident Evil 4. But at least there you started with a goal of finding the President's daughter (though what she was supposed to be doing in some decrepit, Eastern European farm town I never figured out). What bothers me the most is the feeling that a story was left out of this game on purpose because the people making it may have just thought, "The 20-something demographic that buys this game most doesn't care about anything but shooting monsters, so why waste the time?" I think we've hit an "uncanny valley" of a different sort - one where these real-life looking environments seem like empty shells when they don't have at least an attempt at a story behind them.

Of course, this game also suffered from some mechanical issues. The camera gave me problems from time to time and, as I captured in the video below, the decision to make every door opening animation super slow led to unnecessary injuries. (By the way, why does this guy take doors so carefully when Ripley, in Alien: Isolation, would bash open a door when she came out of hiding? You'd think she would have wanted to be a bit more discrete!) I would also like to know why the developers wanted to pepper these areas with tripwire bombs? That level of sophisticated booby-trapping made no sense considering the enemies I was fighting and the setting I was in.

However, I was proud of this sequence. I had been killed multiple times before I got Mr. Chainsaw here and figured out this little tactic on my own.

Out off the time I played, this was the only part I thought was worth highlighting - which tells you something.

No comments: