Evil dwells both within and all around in Shinji Mikami’s “The Evil Within”. Journey with veteran police detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners Juli Kidman and Joseph as they confront and try to solve the mystery of the invincible killer Ruvik.
Ruvik is a massive jerk, by the by. More on that later.
On his way to perform a routine murder investigation (is there such a thing?), Sebastian witnesses his entire squad murdered by a mysterious force, Ruvik, and he sets upon a dark path to discover the truth and get a little revenge. Or at least he would if he hadn’t gotten sucker punched, leaving him to wake up in a grotesque nightmare world that would make Kinji Fukasaku pleased.
And you think you have crappy Mondays…
In this nightmare world, the dead walk, and the damned walk among them. Left to find a means to survive in this strange and frightening world, players must aid Sebastian in discovering the truth to the mystery of Ruvik. And, perhaps the greatest mystery of all is whether or not our protagonist is truly sane.
I had the opportunity at the 2014 Gamestop Expo to interview a member of Bethesda’s studio in regard to their collaboration with the Godfather of Horror himself, Shinji Mikami. Please note that the representative asked not to be directly quoted, and so I’ll be paraphrasing here. Also please note that this is clearly a mature rated game, so continue after the break at your own discretion.
How did the collaboration between Bethesda and Shinji Mikami come about?
Bethesda was looking for a new title to work on, and desired to expand their genre base. Shinji Mikami strongly desired to get back to the basics of survival horror. He wanted to craft a title in which players would contend with high tension situations, trying to survive with very low resources. The timing and goals were right for both studios.
What would you say is one of the prevailing things players will have to contend with? What is the theme of this title?
You are constantly being stalked by the enemy in your mind. Ruvik, the main villain, is one of the antagonists constantly stalking after you. Another is called Box Man; he’s a massive guy who is very hard to hurt. He stalks you with a large hammer, and when it comes time to finally fight him players will have to get very creative with sorting out how to hurt this massive enemy.
What are some other monsters we can look forward to fighting?
There’s zombies, and various ghosts and monsters. One in particular is a ghost, a blood covered woman with lots of limbs. She’s a fright to look at, and hard to defeat.
Box Man will stalk you in the distance. Sometimes he’ll attack you, sometimes you’ll just be looking and you’ll see him standing off on a hill just watching you. The atmosphere is very unnerving.
Approximately how long will one play through take the average gamer?
Players can expect one play through to take anywhere between fifteen to seventeen hours, just blowing through the main story.
I noticed in my time spent with the demo, that Sebastian seemed to receive his upgrades by strapping himself into an asylum chair. I spent this strange green fluid as I picked out various upgrades (there were a lot), and Sebastian was electrocuted each time the upgrade was administered. He looked very haggard afterwards. What’s going on during these sequences?
You’re honing more than just your talents; you’re developing your mind. The asylum chair upgrade system was conceived with the goal of providing a very tangible approach to showing Sebastian’s mental state as he’s developing ways to defend himself against the monsters stalking him.
Sebastian looked absolutely awful when I was done upgrading him. I can’t help but wonder if this plays into the story at all? What’s happening with his mental state?
Well, Sebastian’s not necessarily all there. He may be going crazy himself. You start to question his sanity the more you play the game.
The demo began with Sebastian entering an asylum that seemed very similar to the Spencer Mansion from the first Resident Evil. Will there be any nods to Resident Evil fans can look forward to?
Box Man is definitely a reminder of silent stalking antagonists in previous Resident Evil titles (sic) such as Nemesis or Mr. X. In addition, this is very much a stealth, survival horror title.
The demo definitely had a strong emphasis on hiding from the monsters and enemies in the game. One moment in particular was when the world became sort of monochrome and bright blue, and then someone stabbed me in the face. Will players need to stick to the stealth, or can more action focused players survive via run and gun every now and again?
There are various weapons you can utilize, from the melee weapons you’ll procure on site to your pistol, elemental crossbow, shotgun and knife. You can customize your crossbow with different powers, you can make it freeze enemies for example, or bind or electrocute them. Still, this is definitely survival horror, a high tension game with a focus on taking out your enemies with stealth or avoiding encounters altogether.
You can try to fight, but it’s not advisable.
So don’t just go in guns a blazin’ huh?
No (laughs), that would be ill advised.
More than anything, what can players look forward to in The Evil Within?
The return to the classic feel of true survival horror, and the tension of going on a journey wherein you can never be sure what’s real and what’s not. Is it all in your head? Is Sebastian insane? Only time will tell.
I can vouch for Shinji Mikami and Bethesda; The Evil Within is survival horror at its finest. If you enjoyed titles such as Clock Tower or Siren, you’ll be right at home here. The Evil Within or PsychoBreak as it’s known in Japan, will be available for the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC (via Steam) platforms on October 14th, 2014.
That’s all that I have for now! Check back later for my take on The Evil Within demo from the Gamestop Expo!