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.