Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s return to survival horror, at least from the ten minutes or so I got to see, could be the best horror movie of the year. Only it’s a game. One where I did not notice when the intro stopped and the gameplay began.
The Evil Within features a cop named Sebastian Castellanos (Capcom’s got a thing for Latino leads this year) who gets called to an asylum to investigate a crime described over the radio only as “unknown.” Does he have to do so during heavy rainfall that also spatters on the “camera”? You shouldn’t even have to ask that question.
Once he finally enters the asylum, he finds many dead bodies, and one guy who’s just alive enough to cryptically utter a name before flatlining. Sebastian goes to the security camera deck, and sees cops backing away, firing their guns at something. Something almost invisible, which moves super-fast to slash their throats. It’s a scary guy in a hooded robe, who proceeds to look directly into the camera and disappear.
Sebastian turns around. guess who’s standing right behind him with a spike to ram into his face? This guy.
Though most of the game is third-person, you get Sebastian’s POV next. Something dripping. Your hands. Blurry vision. It soon becomes apparent you’re hanging upside-down from the ceiling to bleed out, surrounded by fly-attracting corpses that already have. And oh yeah, there’s an insane monster-butcher guy with a chainsaw.
You have to use the joystick to swing yourself back and forth until you reach another corpse who has a knife stuck in him, then use that knife to cut yourself down.
There’s a lot of sneaking involved next, as you have to wait for the butcher to turn his back to grab things and get out of there. It appears you may be in the basement of the asylum, but it looks like a hospital created for the Saw movies. You have to escape a giant grinder room, and the wrath of the butcher, to get to the elevator. Finally, you get back to the lobby, step outside…and see a completely ruined city full of massive sinkholes. Something crazy has happened, but what?
The presentation then switched to later in the game. Sebastian’s outside, running to a wooden house in the dark. Zombie like things whose bodies are pierced with stakes attack him, and he shoots them, stomps them, burns them, whatever it takes. But more are coming – the stereotypical hordes with pitchforks and torches, only, yeah, pierced with stakes. Sebastian flees down to the basement, and enters a strange tunnel – he goes through the door on one end to find himself back at the start in a kind of moebius strip. Until a Shining-style torrent of blood comes gushing out, which somehow teleports him into a new corridor, one that looks to be back at the asylum. Lights are going out and shadows increasing. He heads to the room at the end of the hall.
There’s a bloody mess of body parts. But from them emerges a human spider thing that’s like Sadako from Ringu if she had six limbs and Skeletor’s Terror Claws on each appendage. She jumps on top of Sebastian, ready to strike, and…
End of demo. I suspect I will have to buy this one, and only be allowed to play it when the woman’s away…Not because she disapproves, but because she hates being scared.