A Halloween Treat: The Evil Within Demo

As Halloween approaches, do you find that your hunger for horror is increasing? Fear not. Or ‘fear a lot’, I guess. The first three chapters of The Evil Within are now available as a demo on Steam, with demo saves carrying over into the full game should you choose to purchase it. There’s also a 50% discount on the Season Pass and anyone who buys the game during this promotion, or has already bought it, will receive a copy of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

Those first three chapters are a fairly good taster, with a bit of spooky stealth, a big setpiece and just enough freedom and trapping to show what’s coming later.

We’ve written quite a lot about the sequel that Resident Evil 4 always deserved and even if you don’t play the whole thing, you’ll be able to chip in with an opinion on the most important aspect, which is the aspect ratio. Well, those black bars, that field of view and the overall technical performance of the engine.

What would PC gaming be without an occasional port in a storm?

In reality, important as those discussions may be, they certainly shouldn’t distract from the meat, bone and gristle of the game. I’ve seen it described (both positively and negatively) as a survival horror throwback, but some of the level design takes the template of the RE 4 village and opens it up to various approaches. That’s what sticks with me – a deranged atmosphere and smart design.

My thoughts are here and Rich Stanton wrote a thorough analysis of Mikami’s execution and intent for us.

24 Comments

  1. Bradamantium says:

    Worth noting that Chapter 3 is one of the game’s most difficult bits – if you find yourself frustrated there, know that it’s a few notches harder than many of the game’s action sequences courtesy of a dearth of weapons and ammo.

  2. jpm224 says:

    Can it be? Are demos making a comeback?

    • JiminyJickers says:

      I know, what devilry is this?

      Well, I’ll guess I’ll give it a try then.

    • WALLS says:

      I guess someone has clued in to the fact that people dont enjoy gambling $60+ on entertainment they might not enjoy, and will often torrent the whole thing in place of a demo, and then have less incentive to buy it.

      • marak830 says:

        This, a million fucking times.

        Im sick of buying a game that looked nice on paper and sucked in reality. A demo would go a long way to fix the torrent-to-test. Its difficult to pony up 60 for something you already have and finished in 10 hours.

  3. povu says:

    Ah, Call of Cthulhu. Flawed, seriously buggy, but also really quite good.

    • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

      The word flawed seems like a bit of an understatement in this case. A game were a drop of 1 m results in a open leg fracture is not flawed. It is beyond redemption.

  4. Alistair says:

    Doesn’t work on Win 7 in my experience…

  5. Ralek says:

    Please folks buy this game, pretty please. We need more games like it, and for that to happen, someone has to buy it.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Why?

      I mean, what is it about this game that would make me fork over that kind of money? I gather it’s basically RE4 or close to it. Didn’t really like that a whole lot so I’m unsure why I’d like this one?

      • Melody says:

        I agree with the Duck. Haven’t played it, but I heard it’s a good RE4.5. Will probably buy when there’s a price drop and then a 75% discount. What’s so special about it that gaming is absolutely missing and we all need to buy it?
        I could name a hundred games way more unique and interesting that people should really buy because we really need that stuff in games.

        • subedii says:

          It’s a lot less “action” and a lot more “survival” than RE4 ever was. Leon Kennedy’s basically feels like a one-man army when he gets going. “Stealth” was a thing that happened to other people generally.

          Sebastien by comparison feels a lot more like he’s fighting just to survive. Single enemies can do massive amounts of damage if you’re incautious (they won’t leave you alone to pound on them after their first miss typically, like the villagers in RE4 did), and you want to use the environmental hazards to your advantage when you can.

          That said if you hated Resident Evil 4, you should not buy this game.

  6. subedii says:

    One thing I will say for the game: The visuals are horrifyingly disgusting. Which is good for a horror game of this style. Usually in-game visuals attempting this kind of thing end up looking kitsch. Here well… let’s just say I was a bit grossed out the first time Sebastien got dumped into a vat of blood.

    They’ve got a really awesome, atmospheric lighting engine going for it, and the realtime dynamic shadows do add quite a bit to the whole aesthetic.

    Gameplay-wise so far (only up to chapter 5) it plays like a more tactical RE4, owing to the much tougher (and frequently harder to hit) foes, and the scarcer ammo. You really have to have a lot more forethought in how you use your few resources, and maximising the enivornmental traps when you can.

    All in all I’ve really enjoyed it so far.

  7. Creeping Death says:

    Wow, this is not a good game! (in my personal opinion)

    And this is exactly why demos are vital. I absolutely loved RE4 and was really curious about this game. Now I can safely remove it from my wishlist and save myself from wasting £30.

    Coincidently, the other recent demo release (Civ BE) led to exactly the same result.

  8. Messofanego says:

    A free demo might make the pill easier of not having to play this game but still curious after only hearing disappointing things about this game compared to RE 4 (shooting is nowhere near as good, only a handful of encounters are great) thanks to the horror game aficionados like Patrick Klepek (link to giantbomb.com), Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw (link to escapistmagazine.com), and Jim Sterling (link to escapistmagazine.com).

    • subedii says:

      I’ve read a few reviews now lamenting how “unfair” it is with its difficulty.

      To be honest, I’m playing on normal difficulty (where I understand the reviewers were told to play on easy), and I can’t say I’ve had that impression so far. I just completed chapter 5 now actually. The chapter boss (allegedly bullet sponge and unfair) I actually defeated on my first try without taking any damage, and that’s largely because I went with the cues that the game gave me (which incidentally was “fire = good”). It was tense, but certainly not cheap or unfair.

      I don’t know, either I’m super awesome or they just don’t understand how to play and are taking it out on the game. Or else I’ve just got a higher tolerance for losing? But I don’t think I’ve been doing much of that so far compared to any other game. Maybe I just need to get further on to get to that unfairness? Again, caveat, I’ve only just hit chapter 6, but for that matter, I haven’t had a single crash so far either as far as I can remember. And I’ve been alt-tabbing constantly because I needed to do other stuff.

    • Bradamantium says:

      I liked it plenty as a game, but loved it as Shinji Mikami’s Greatest Hits. Gameplay-wise, I’d say the RE4 comparison is apt considering its heritage but not so much its goals, and the handful of times it goes full-on action are probably the weakest bits. The shooting is a bit more unwieldy on account of the game being more geared to the survival end of things than RE4. In many ways, it feels more like a natural extension of the RE name than 4 did.

      It’s if you’re a fan of Mikami and the RE series development up ’til 4 that it’s really a game worth looking at, I think, for all the reasons Rich’s article covers. If you read that article and come out thinking “Well, that sounds fascinating,” The Evil Within is absolutely worth a playthrough.

  9. dirthurts says:

    I tried this on PS4 and it ran so bad I couldn’t even enjoy it (20’s of frames). It looked even worse…
    I guess I’ll give it another go on the PC.

  10. Radiant says:

    Playing through this game at the moment.
    What most sticks out is how convoluted the mechanics are.

    I can come up behind a monster and stab him in the brain BUT I can’t do it if they are attacking someone else or if they attack me from the front or even if they are helpless on the floor.

    I can set fire to them if they are on the floor or knocked to the floor but not if they are walking around.

    I’m sprinting from a guy with a chainsaw and I have to stop and wait for a recovery animation for x seconds when my bar runs out.

    Also some of the fights with the bigger monsters basically fall into a pattern of hitting it lots of times with your largest weapons repeatedly.

    Some arena areas are obviously just there so you have to dump some of your collected ammunition.

    I’d like it if it was just a little bit mechanically smarter and had better interplay between the different types of attacks [traps and ammo types].

    As it is, it’s just a basic slow plod around some creepy environments killing things [which gets routine VERY quickly] that get in your way so you can advance the story.
    Very basic and not very innovative.

    In this day and age when you have tons of options to finally play or go back and play a wealth of thematically similar games; theme is just not enough.

  11. DanMan says:

    OMG. The mouse control in the menu. What the hell? It feels like skating on ice.

    • Cake Dispenser says:

      The major problem im having is the 5 second freezes I get every 10-20 minutes and it’s annoying.

  12. clorex says:

    Is FOV properly adjusted when you remove the letterbox? i.e. is it hor+ or vert-?