Zero Punctuation: The Evil Within - As Bad as Bad Horror Games Can Get

Mahoshonen

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Wow, it's been a while since I've seen Yahtzee actively hate a game. Most of his negative reviews recently only rose to the level of "Resigned Antipathy"
 

Diablo1099_v1legacy

Doom needs Yoghurt, Badly
Dec 12, 2009
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Wow...Yahtzee sounded REALLY pissed when he was recording this, either that or he was talking faster then normal.
Still, Now that he compared it to RE4 and how all the chapters are out of order, I kinda want to play it.
I mean, if it's just RE4 with a reskin and some better graphics, can't really go wrong there :p
 

Krantos

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I'm not sure it was intentional, but the "Angry Protagonist" Yahtzee drew looked less angry and more "100% done with this shit". It made the review a million times funnier because the sprite looked like he was constantly fed up with the shittiness that was his own game.
 

x EvilErmine x

Cake or death?!
Apr 5, 2010
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Spot on review.

The plot...where is the plot?!
What happened? How did he get in the machine? What happened to his wife? Why was his daughter killed? Where the fuck was Joseph for 90% of the game? What's the deal with the spacing out that occasionally happens? How did Kidman get out? Who was the nurse in the save room and why does she suddenly go away when we realise she was one of the missing? What happened to the missing people? What's the deal with Lesley? I know he was the only one to survive encountering Ruvic before but HOW?!

Truly this is a game where style and grim dark imagery is more important than plot or reason. Game play wise it's not bad. Not fantastic but serviceable if frustrating in parts.

Also, Kidman, or I as call her Plot Device Mc DLC bate...man, fuck your 'I have my orders' bullshit, I really couldn't care less about what you've been up to.

Edit

Also the ending (or rather lack their of) is a blatant set up for a sequel and is the worst kind of 'The End...Or Is It?' trope.
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
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Adam Jensen said:
So the moral of the story is "go play RE4 for the 20th time". I will!
You should just go do that anyway regardless.
Diablo1099 said:
I mean, if it's just RE4 with a reskin and some better graphics, can't really go wrong there :p
You'd be amazed how wrong it can go. The Evil Within will turn you into a believer.
 

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
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Despite hearing nothing but bad reviews about this game I'm still firm about playing it someday.

Casual Shinji said:
Thanatos2k said:
The game is like RE4? Wow, I have seen no promotional materials or articles written that seemed to suggest that. Marketing in games is completely broken.

The biggest problem is that RE4 is barely a horror game. Capcom doesn't understand this either, but Resident Evil 4 ruined the Resident Evil series. Because it was such a good game, Capcom mistakenly thought that this is what people wanted out of Resident Evil and horror in general. Nope. RE4 was just a really good game, but it wasn't a good Resident Evil or Survival Horror game.

And so we have another game dancing about how it's such a great horror game that modeled itself after RE4 without understanding why.
People like to say RE4 ruined Resident Evil, but the series wasn't really doing that much better before that. The last stand-out entry was REmake, and that was... a remake. Code Veronica was meh, and when REZero came out they were scraping the bottom of the barrel
I thought Code Veronica was OK. The dual-wielding was a weak gimmick, and the Ashford family history made the premise more idiotic than usual, but it still managed to be scary and pretty tough to be honest.
 

Steve the Pocket

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It's also really frustrating to actually play. There was one section where they throw you into room after room that your AI partner has to slowly unlock the door to the next area while you fend off waves of zombies. They give you very little additional ammo and no additional health during the entire sequence. Then you emerge into a big open area that's too generous with new items, where waves of zombies come at you but you can easily cheese it by keeping your distance and letting your partner kill them all with his unbreaking axe while you occasionally go up to him and heal him, which you can do unlimited times without using healing items.

It's quite entertaining to watch someone play, at least. Video Games Awesome has been through maybe two thirds of it at this point and I hope they finish it.
 

gamegod25

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Yeah I'd say he is pretty spot on. There is no pacing, no restraint, and no intrigue. The last one especially irked me because I had guessed the twist by the end of the first chapter which as confirmed by the various notes and audio logs that basically spell it out for anyone with half a neuron. It was like going into "The Village" but you had already called the twist before the title even came up. It was just so obvious and predictable, and knowing none of this was real made it hard for me to get invested. Of course the lack of any real character development or personality didn't help that either.

Also I couldn't help but feel they wasted the setup. Exploring the minds of a deranged killer as well as that of your character and his colleagues could have been fantastic. Getting to know them on a deeply personal level, seeing their greatest fears and desires laid bare, having to come to terms with their personal demons....but nope. The most we get for any characterization for the main guy (yeah I already forgot his name) is some backstory text in a few scattered logs. The whole premise is just used as an excuse to put in any weird shit they want. Oh that doesn't make sense? It's all happening in a crazy guys head so it's okay!

This really should have just been called "Horror: The Game".
 

Darken12

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What I hate the most about this game is how derivative it is. There is absolutely no originality whatsoever. Everything you see, every setpiece, every enemy, every character dialogue, is lifted from another horror movie or game, or is Generic Trope #459. Though most of it is RE4, which means they're charging you full game price for a clone of a better game.
 

New Troll

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Well of course this game is going to suck, it's not based off a movie.Now where's that new Turtles game?!?
 

Yahtzee Croshaw

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The Evil Within - As Bad as Bad Horror Games Can Get

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews The Evil Within.

Watch Video
 

RavingSturm

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Hit it right on the head. The game feels so stitched together. It feels like Mikami's team was locked in a room by Bethesda until they starved unless they made the game. The game also doesnt want you to soak up the atmosphere and seems to hurry you along to avoid seeing any cracks in the facade.
 

8BitArchitect

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Honestly, I thought the truck added to the video. A sort of quiet siren warning that Yahtzee was about to go critical...
 

Therumancer

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Veldie said:
Such a shame to and I was hoping it would end up good. Perhaps I shall rent it down the line.
It's one of those things where Yahtzee seems to have sort of missed the point of the game entirely:

MAJOR Spoilers below (in case spoiler space doesn't work).

The game is basically a rehash of "Harvester" a cult-classic adventure game from way back in the day famed for it's intense and disgusting content (at the time) which offended some people, while showed potential for a lot of other people. That is to say that the entire game here takes place in a virtual reality construct. In "Evil Within" everything that happens, including the very beginning, takes place after your character was captured and hooked up to a VR machine by this insane guy using technology developed as part of something called the STEM project. This is why he has reality warping powers, and why the game is so incredibly disjointed, your really not going anywhere until the very end of the game. While not a unique premise, and something that has been done in video horror games before (as well as being somewhat disappointing to me) the game does fit in with the eventual reveal, where if your pretty much expecting supernatural horror, your pretty much dealing with a Cyberpunk version of SAW. In this case the rather stereotypical "action dude" protagonist makes sense, because it's arguably being that kind of person that makes him different from all the ordinary people who were basically brain mulched using these techniques.

I have to admit the game was a bit disappointing, in part because I feel the difficulty was inflated, my problem for example with the stealth aspects of the game is that it's only partially functional, it seems like the game pretty much requires a sort of action-guy approach at times, but as Yahtzee points out tends to be rather skimpy with the ammunition. Although with a bit of patience you can solve most combat problems using your magical crossbow (which is conceptually justified by this being a VR construct, and I guess it's supposed to be a manifestation of the character's mind, combined with the portion of the system resisting the bad guy). It seems to me that the developer intended you to do more with stealth kills, but the problem is when you sneak up on dudes they tend to notice you anyway, or at least in my experience.

The ending is heavily discussed, but the bottom line seems to be that our bad guy uploads his intelligence into a mental patient that walks away at the end of the game. The final boss is easy (and involves conveniently placed weapons) in part because at that point there is no driving force anymore, and your pretty much now in the fantasy world of the main character. It seems to me that the idea is that with the bad guy getting away they can make more of these games and potentially turn it into a franchise.

The PC version is badly optimized (I own it on STEAM) I was lucky enough to play it on consoles for a while and see the rest of the game. I suppose this is a passable video game fun house, and at least it tried to get away from the whole "forced evade everything" garbage other games have done by at least trying to allow multiple approaches. With some patches I'll probably play it straight through. This is not the second coming of the genera at a AAA level, but it's a little better than what Yahtzee says, and the plotline DOES make more sense than he gives it credit for.

That said what we need is someone to make a game like this, with workable subsystems, and a more consistent, atmospheric location. A lot of the successful horror games used supernatural elements, and really immersive environments and such. The environments in this game are fine, but as Yahtzee points out they go for a jarring disconnect and it makes it hard to appreciate anything. What they need to do is get the guys from Ubisoft together with the guys from Alan Wake and Deadly Premonition to build the horror themed open world game Alan Wake was supposed to be to begin with.

I'll also say that part of the problem with "Evil Within" is that it wasn't really willing to push the envelope and take people out of their comfort zone. "Critical Miss" was right, this is sort of a rehash of the same basic enemies and such we'd expect from this designer. You've literally seen just about every enemy type and set piece before. What they need is some creativity in creating new, and soul wrenching monstrosities. Also while some people will dislike the fact that I'm going to say "games like this need rape" it's rapidly approaching the point where I think they do, not so much because rape is great, but because you need things that take people out of their comfort zone (you can really replace rape with other things that do this) all the reasons why people will get upset for me stating it that way are exactly why you need material like that in horror. What's more, especially if your going to try and get psychological in a visual medium like gaming you need to understand what role that plays in the psyche. To put things into perspective one problem I had with this game was that your basically trapped in the personal world of an utter psychopath, and the worst the guy does is throw the rogues gallery of Resident Evil at you, with a few cosmetic trappings from Silent Hill? Looking at real world psychopaths and stuff I'd think it would be worse than that, look back at say old movies like say "The Cell" even if your fighting back more so than the protagonist of that movie at first, I'd think that kind of thing would represent the virtual world a real sick puppy might create, albeit in a video game you'd have to embellish some of the stuff going on behind the scenes and in the corners. Basically horror game designers need to look at movies that have pushed the limits of the "R" rating over the years, as well as ones that have gotten serious horror buffs to go "that's messed up" along with the antics of real world criminals and psychopaths and how far they have taken it. Your not going to succeed nowadays with run down environments in "creepy places", barbed wire, undead, etc... heck we have that stuff on prime time nowadays via things like "The Walking Dead", your grandmother handles the equivalent of "The Evil Within" without breaking a sweat, that means you need to push the envelope. Find the things like rape that upset people as much as this kind of material used to, and use that.... it doesn't HAVE to be rape, mind you (before anyone misunderstands) though it's a good example, just things that elicit the same kind of general reactions. That's also what breaks the REAL fans off from the poseurs. Horror needs to spend a lot of it's time taking people out of their comfort zone, and simply put super-durable maniacs with Chainsaws have become a clique.

Such are my thoughts on the game and the state of the genera.
 

Casual Shinji

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Johnny Novgorod said:
Casual Shinji said:
People like to say RE4 ruined Resident Evil, but the series wasn't really doing that much better before that. The last stand-out entry was REmake, and that was... a remake. Code Veronica was meh, and when REZero came out they were scraping the bottom of the barrel
I thought Code Veronica was OK. The dual-wielding was a weak gimmick, and the Ashford family history made the premise more idiotic than usual, but it still managed to be scary and pretty tough to be honest.
The thing is, Code Veronica was ruined for me by the real-time rendered backgrounds. Which sounds like a shallow reason, but the only real benefit pre-rendered backgrounds have is the high amount of detail, which greatly served the atmosphere of the Resident Evil games. That's the only reason we put up with the wonky camera angles and controls.

The benefit of real-time rendered backgrounds is for allowing better 3D maneuverability, since the environment pivots along with you. Which Code Veronica didn't do, because the camera was still fixed the majority of the time and you would still transition from screen to screen. There was basically no difference from older RE games, except the backgrounds looked worse. Capcom pulled the same thing with Dino Crisis and I hated that too.

Also Steve.
 

Thanatos2k

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Xenominim said:
I'm really surprised more people haven't been angry about the bait and switch they've pulled with this game. Yahtzee mentions it, the demo they were floating around actually looked like a horror game with the stealth elements and invincible monster and crazy traps springing from the walls. But from the gameplay videos I've seen the stealth only carries through to the very next level where you can toss bottles to distract enemies and get a few backstab kills in, everything after that the enemies pretty much always seem to know where you are and it becomes entirely about gunplay. In my mind this is worse than the Colonial Marines demo, that just looked nicer than the game that came out, it was still advertising a shooter though. This demo was promoting an entirely different genre than what they published.
I think the "Evil Within" was really just a metaphor for their marketing.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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I think we can all agree on the obvious: that Mikami has NEVER been good at horror and he should trying to do it. He IS a good designer, as stuff like RE4 and Vanquish shows but when it comes to horror the guy is not very skilled. A lot of people say RE4 deviated from the games before it, but if anything it was just more honest about itself. I mean, the very first RE game had that identity crisis; it started with being a horror game, but with more powerful weapons and plentiful ammo piling up it eventually became an action game. When RE4 dropped the pretense and went full on shooter it was all the better for it. Anyway, seems like TEW is just another example of indecisive design for Mikami.