How you feel about The Evil Within will probably depend on how you feel about the tank controls in the original Resident Evil.
If you’re part of the dark and dismal Mordor-esque hellscape that thinks the stumbling turns actually add to the tension of the Shinji Mikami’s seminal game, then Evil Within is the game for you. For everybody else…it’s a bit more complicated.
The most obvious (and oft-referred to) point of reference is Mikami’s best title: Resident Evil 4. As trite as it might seem, there’s really no better way to describe Evil Within than by dredging up that old fan favorite. “It’s RE4 but dredged in Silent Hill and then deep fried in blood.” I might say between bouts of cursing.
Don’t get me wrong, RE4 was an amazing game, and when Evil Within is possessing its desiccated husk, it’s at its best, the player creeping around spooky mansions or rainy vaguely-European hamlets working over zombified villagers with their weapon of choice. It’s creepy and unsettling and full of thinly veiled vaginal flesh portals – everything a good horror game needs.
But then there are times where it starts to slide into the dismal territory of later Resident Evil titles, echoing not the taut survival of earlier entries but instead the pointless melees of later entries. Remember that opening bit from Resident Evil 5? Yeah, there’s a few of those here.
If you’re willing to play along and give it the benefit of the doubt, Evil Within’s lack of ammo and generally pathetic protagonist can be tense and unsettling in a way only Mikami seems to understand, with every fight containing the potential for improvised strategy and desperate survival.
If not though? Give The Last of Us a replay, that’s probably what you really want.