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PAX EAST 2014 | Horror Goes Back to Basics with The Evil Within.

Posted on April 11, 2014 AT 12:00pm

PAX East is here again with thousands now flooding through the doors of the BCEC– well after the bag security check outside of course.

First stop for me was Bethesda. You know Bethesda, that game developing and publishing house that has brought us The Elder Scrolls series. With that said, this year they are bringing us something away from the Dragonborn, house and reputation filling experience we have known and loved so dearly. We are getting survival horror in its purest form. If Silent Hill and the Resident Evils up to Resident Evil 4 went on a hot date and had a torrid affair that resulted in a lovechild, that would be The Evil Within.

The homages to Silent Hill and Resident Evil were to be expected with the father of survival horror, Shinji Mikami taking the lead. The muted color scheme of the greys and tans juxtaposed the flickering neon lights set a tone for the atmosphere in that “Welcome to Silent Hill” way. Mikami places his seal on the game by bringing back the over the shoulder slow pan while opening doors that all retro Resident Evil fans will appreciate.

While the demos I witnessed today were silent, what was presented led me down a psychological path that offers no light at the end.

Just the way I like it.

In the first demo we witness the protagonist, Detective Sebastian Castellanos who is contained in a broken elevator, that is falling from a building into the watery depths below. Once he has escaped– battered but not completely broken– he walks through a town that has been devastated. Buildings are split in half, the pavement has monstrous cracks, there is water and objects engulfed in flames everywhere.

This encounter is not unsettling or even scary, however its purpose is to trick the player to letting their guard down and slowly build the tension and unease naturally. This was done especially well when Sebastian is walking through a back alley that slowly seems to shrinking around him. It definitely is. By the end of the walk, our protagonist is barely squeezing through.

The hordes of evil we got a glimpse at ranged between appearing to be zombies or psychological test subjects gone horrible wrong– or right depending on who you ask. While their appearances are meant to be threatening– and they are– their actions are what really make that genuine fear rise in peoples stomachs. These are not baddies that always run/walk the same path lines until you take them out. Some of them blend into the dim light and wait to reveal themselves. Others make themselves known and empty a solid clip of bullets into you, while wearing a disturbingly happy mask. Think of the movie, The Purge, those kind of masks. Eesh.

The second demo brought us to the start (?) of the game. This is where our detective is traversing the asylum and encountering the Boxman. You don’t want to mess with him; he has sharp things that REALLY hurt when he impales you with them! This demo really showed off the UI. It isn’t the standard inventory system. It is over an X-ray of a human head (most likely Sebastian’s). Whether or not that is simply for aesthetics or will ave some involvement later on is yet to be seen.

Lastly, I want to talk about an element that I love in games– Just not in my survival horror games. It seems to be that there will be some modifications to the weapons. I am not speaking about power ups or increased clips but actual elemental modifications. It looks like we will get to add elements to slow down our enemies, fry them with electricity or cleanse their bodies with fire. Most of these seem realistic enough, but not something I was anticipating to see in this game. Gotta take some risks right?

They might just pull it off, but we won’t know until this summer when the real horror arrives.

his masterpiece set to be released August 26 2014 for PC, XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, PS3 and PS4 consoles.

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