I’m going to make these posts a bimonthly feature. They’ll go up every other Sunday, to fit with CIB Sunday on Twitter. CIB stands for complete-in-box, and it’s commonly used to describe video games. If a game includes the cartridge, case, instruction booklet, and everything else it originally came with, it is considered to be CIB.
Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners are called to investigate a gruesome mass murder at Beacon Mental Hospital, and there, they come across a mysterious, malevolent force. After witnessing a shocking incident, Sebastian is knocked unconscious and awakens to a horrifying, nightmarish world full of ghastly monsters. With every moment a fight for survival, he tries to make it through this terrifying new world and unravel the mystery behind it.
The Evil Within is absolutely one of my favorite video games of all time. It was the first game I ever played on the PlayStation 4 system, and for that, it will also forever have a special place in my heart. I still have very fond memories of this title, but my attachment to it isn’t just a result of sentimentality. There are a great many reasons why this particular game is so good, and I’ll be going over some of the main reasons today.
First, The Evil Within crafts and maintains an engrossing, eerie atmosphere, which is one of the marks of a truly good horror game. Throughout the game’s 12 – 13 hour runtime, you encounter all manner of frightening environments and creatures. There are cramped, narrow hallways with barely enough lighting to make it to the next corner. This is scary in and of itself, having the path ahead mostly obscured and swathed in dense darkness; with this type of environment, it’s difficult to know what might be lurking just ahead, waiting to pounce for the kill.
To make matters even more creepy, the sound design of The Evil Within is very on point. During the game, you’ll hear the telltale shuffling of hideous monsters shambling around in the distance, along with their ghastly cries. Monsters release unearthly groans, growls, and wails, ones that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps, as they stalk the dim halls for fresh prey. These factors are enough to keep you alert and dreading what might be waiting for you next. In this game, horror and danger go hand-in-hand and constantly lie in wait for you.
Another positive point of The Evil Within is its fantastic monster design. You’ll encounter a plethora of terrifying, disgusting creatures as you traverse Beacon Mental Hospital and the other areas of the game. Fortunately, though, most of these monsters have equally cool, clever, and suitably creepy designs. For example, one of the monsters that you run into several times is known simply as ‘Laura’; this abomination is basically a combination of a ghost from The Grudge franchise and a spider, covered in crimson blood. As you can probably imagine, Laura’s appearance is downright horrifying, but nothing surpasses the feeling of desperation and fear as she relentlessly chases you down a long hallway.
‘The Keeper’ is another monster I remember very well for its intimidating design and frightening behavior. This monster has a closed, barbed wire covered safe for a head, and looks like a gigantic butcher with a blood spattered apron and mallet. While The Keeper pursues you, it continuously lays traps on the ground and smacks its mallet against the walls, creating both a grating and fear-inducing sound. One of the main sections involving The Keeper consists of you having to turn a few valves to shut off a deadly gas and make it to the next area alive. During this entire sequence, the hulking monstrosity tails you, and although you can temporarily defeat it, The Keeper always respawns through a new safe just moments later. This makes for an incredibly memorable moment, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best from the whole game.
Last but certainly not least, the gameplay and style of The Evil Within is excellent and enjoyable to experience. Most survival horror video games carry a bit of challenge with them, but this specific title is more akin to the classics of the genre, with brutal battles, scarce resources, and few safe zones. Going into a fight with guns blazing, especially early on, is almost guaranteed to end in death, as the monsters you’ll encounter are unflinchingly tough and pack a powerful punch. In many cases, you need to progressively plan out your next move and consider the best course of action. Even later in the game, with an array of fearsome weapons at your disposal, strategy and stealth are musts. To survive in this game, you must always employ caution and conserve your healing items and resources to the best of your ability.
At times, this can mean repeating an area several times to make sure you complete it as efficiently as possible. Personally, I ended up reloading a certain section about four or five times just to make sure I didn’t unnecessarily waste ammo and healing. This is a strategy you’ll most likely have to utilize yourself throughout the game. Even so, The Evil Within never becomes too annoying or difficult. It has a perfect, balanced blend that provides a thrilling challenge, while still remaining doable. I’m the type of gamer who appreciates a good challenge, but doesn’t want to constantly be frustrated, so in that regard, this game does a fantastic job.
Honestly, I could write pages and pages about exactly why I love The Evil Within as much as I do. But, I don’t want this post to get too long, so these are the key reasons I chose. What you absolutely need to know, is that this is a fun, challenging, and unique video game that shines in its genre of survival horror. Due to its well-crafted atmosphere, terrifyingly cool monster designs, and excellent implementation of stealth/strategy based gameplay, The Evil Within is one of my favorite horror games to date. And without a doubt, it will become one of your favorites, too. Can you survive the nightmares that lurk within?
And if you’d like to hear me gush about The Evil Within even more, I also talked about it in my Video Games Perfect for Playing Around Halloween post!
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