Dread On Arrival: Unlocking The Evil Within

The Evil Within has been unleashed and I started playing shortly after midnight. I did get some sleep but, cripes, things move along at a rapid clip in Shinji Mikami’s return to survival horror. The time to chainsaw is around ten minutes – five if you skip cutscenes. From there, it’s around five seconds to the first hideous death animation, two minutes to spinning blades, two and a half minutes to near-drowning in pool of blood and guts, and half an hour to ‘the city is collapsing and now there’s a creepy hospital ward inside my brain and, blimey, this is all very entertaining, isn’t it?’

Full thoughts as soon as I’m done but I wanted to report in with news that Bethesda have released a list of debug console command inputs. You may find them useful.

The list of commands includes framerate lock controls, cheat modes and camera trickery.

The game runs on a modified version of the id Tech 5 engine and I’ve noticed some slow-down and texture pop-in, although it’s mainly happening during cutscenes, which makes about as much sense as anything else that’s happened during the game so far. Mostly, I’d like to spend some time whining about the letterbox aspect ratio (an artistic choice rather than a technical one, apparently) and the field of view. I feel like lead character Sebastian Castellanos is giving me a piggyback given how attached I am to his shoulders. I’m going to play around with the aspect ratio commands to see if anything helps.

Technical issues aside – and my views may well change before I’m done – The Evil Within feels like Resident Evil 4 with the stabilisers taken off. There are more memorable events in the first hour than some games manage over twenty hours, and if you’re not completely allergic to the slightly clumsy controls or the innards splattered across almost every surface, you’ll almost certainly have a grand old time.

I enjoy select pieces of media across the entire spectrum of horror, from the psychological tragedy of Silent Hill 2, to the pratfalls and peculiarity of Evil Dead 2. The Evil Within is part big budget splatter flick, with apocalyptic scale, and part video nasty. The film grain effect and deliberately disjointed scenes make it seem like it’d be at home on a worn-out VHS, despite the lavish effects and sets.

It’s about as restrained as a snake in a straitjacket and I’m itching to get back to it right now. So here’s your console commands, should you wish to make use of them. I’m particularly intrigued by this little snippet:

“God mode. You are effectively invincible, and certain enemy kill moves will not be used against you (Laura, for example, will not jump on you)”

This is good to know.

25 Comments

  1. Loyal_Viggo says:

    What this game needs is a Nazi Zombie mode.

    Now that is true survival horror.

    • Artist says:

      Pah, blast from the past! Today it must be Nazi Zombies from outer space..! At least..

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        Ah, glad to see input from a discerning gentleman such as yourself, a connoisseur of Nazi Zombie games indeed!

        I stand corrected, Nazi Zombies in Space would be the next logical conclusion and I shall self-flagellate myself to within a inch of my life for my short-sightedness.

        • Molay says:

          I feel like we jump prematurely to Nazi Zombies in Space. Wouldn’t the next logical step be Nazi Zombies in The Centre of the Hollow Earth be the next step, even though its name is a bit unwieldy?

          • Loyal_Viggo says:

            Another stupendous idea for Nazi-themed hardcore action, and one I would most certainly buy two copies of if given the chance.

            My imagination is inundated with Nazi-game ideas and I’ve not even had my third cup of tea today. Nazi’s at the Centre of the Earth… populated by those that escaped at the end of WW2. It would be just like South America.

      • BockoPower says:

        OR Nazi Zombie Candy Plants from Mars ! BEWARE THIS TRUE HORROR !!!

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    I did think – playing it last night – that half of the events in the most recent trailers seemed to take place in the first thirty minutes or so. Which is kind of a neat bait and switch, I suppose?

    I like it, so far, though yeah, agreed that the aspect ratio is seriously odd (I’m not at all sure it really works as an artistic choice), the camera is really, really close to Sebastian, and I think it being Resi 4: The Next-Genening is both a good and a bad thing. I appreciate the emphasis on avoiding direct confrontations, but my God, does this hapless, clunky combat ever make me miss Resi 6.

    On the console commands – it visibly struggles and stutters with the borders off or reduced on my poor old 1 GB card, but it is still very playable so far. I’ll take reduced performance given as an iD Tech 5 game on launch day – and me with an AMD card – I’m happy it runs at all, after Rage and nuWolfenstein.

    • Hex says:

      How is that a bait and switch.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        I did say “kind of”? And “neat”? I’m used to trailers giving away every cool bit from the game or film in question, so it was a surprise to see that most of the stuff in the trailers appeared so quickly. I felt like I’d had my expectations manipulated one way and then realised I was wrong. Kind of what a bait and switch does, isn’t it?

        Of course the problem is that nothing in chapters 2 and 3 has even come close to being as much of a wow moment as anything in the trailer, so that’s not so good. So far it’s basically Resident Evil 4.5.

        • Hex says:

          With any luck there are wow-moments later on which you’ll be grateful didn’t appear in the trailers. If it’s all downhill from the start, I guess that would be a bait and switch.

  3. mikmanner says:

    messed with this last night, the game runs at a fake 21:9 aspect ratio. If you have a monitor that is 21:9 it runs at 16:9 but with black bars. It’s kinda silly. Looks like this link to i.imgur.com

  4. AnActualBear says:

    Avoid the PC version, even on high end machines it struggles to hit 60 and constantly stutters, it’s borderline unplayable at times. Definitely wait for a patch on this one.

  5. neofit says:

    Save anywhere (with reload where saved, thanks FC3), or something else?

    • Eight Rooks says:

      No, checkpoints with autosaves, and portals into the safehouse dimension-thing where you can save manually. You can save as many times as you like in there (might be limited slots, I guess, I didn’t notice) but I think there’s only one portal in per level.

      It works… okay? Checkpoints are fairly generous, although even in two hours play I’ve noticed bits where I was grinding my teeth thinking “Where’s the next one?” and then realised I’d completely missed a doorway to the safehouse. But I don’t get too annoyed by this stuff if the game’s good enough. YMMV.

  6. gabrielonuris says:

    I have a serious problem with that kind of view (over the shoulder); for an action shooter, like Space Marine, I can sometimes get over with it, but in a game like this? Back at the time when Resident Evil 4 was *THE* thing, I felt motion sickness all the time. I don’t know, when I’m exploring an environment, I like to literally centralize my avatar, and don’t even let me get started about those games the lets you put the protagonist on the right side (I’m left handed, using the mouse with the right hand… Think of the nauseating possibilities).

    Besides that, I think this aspect ratio of 2,35:1 is simply BS; come on, black bars on a 16:9 monitor, what the hell?! Who would think that was a good idea, beyond the ones high on crack?

  7. int says:

    O, I get it now. In third person games with such low field of view that you almost sit on the character’s shoulder, you are actually playing the role of his conscience. Either the little angel or the little devil.

  8. Shooop says:

    They had to move it along quick because otherwise they’d never be able to cram every single slasher/gorefest movie cliche into its runtime.

  9. Darth Gangrel says:

    “God mode. You are effectively invincible, and certain enemy kill moves will not be used against you (Laura, for example, will not jump on you)” For better or worse, no woman will jump on me, so this is an unexpected reflection on my life. Even in a game like this, there are still things you can relate to from your everyday life.

    • Shooop says:

      Well, this comment section turned unexpectedly deep and tragic.

  10. Trickbaby says:

    Does anybody know if the black bars have any pertinent info displayed in them? Like QTE commands and such? If not, I don’t see any issue with getting rid of them with the console command.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      According to the post from Bethesda they do, but whether it’s just the occasional button prompt or reams of puzzle-critical lore, idk.

      Too busy playing an actually scary game (A:I) to try this now.

  11. Enzo says:

    So far (7 hours in) this game is kinda great. It’s RE4+Silent Hill. Awesome stuff.