Resident Evil 4 creator Shinji Mikami’s mysterious “Project Zwei” has finally been revealed as his latest game, titled The Evil Within. Bill Boreham takes a closer look at the upcoming survival-horror.
After being called to investigate a homicide at a nearby asylum, Detective Sebastian and his partners Joseph and ‘Kid’ arrive to find a parking lot filled with empty police cars. They enter the asylum, passing the corpses of officers, doctors and patients, and head towards a nearby video surveillance room. On one screen, a hooded figure is seen murdering a group of police, while watching the computer, that same hooded figure appears behind Sebastian, and knocks him unconscious.
Waking up, Sebastian finds himself hanging upside down in a meat locker, he’s still inside the asylum, but the world around him has changed. Outside the locker, a large, psychopathic butcher awaits, he is seen dragging a victim to a butchers block and slowly dismembering him.
The Evil Within shares the same over-the-shoulder camera as Resident Evil 4, unlike RE4 however, you are now able to get down low and sneak through areas. After escaping the meat locker, the player must then attempt to sneak past the butcher unnoticed. Unfortunately, there are traps everywhere, if the player sets off one of these, the butcher will begin chasing the player wielding a chainsaw – for fans of Resident Evil 4, this will feel very familiar (Dr Salvador). It is possible to sneak through this whole section without being detected, but you also have the option to just get up and run for your life, hoping to make it to the nearby elevator before you’re violently decapitated.
A later outdoor section sees the player facing off against two zombie-like enemies, one of which is covered in barbed wire and appears to be in agony, it’s not a pleasant site. The enemy design is similar to that of Suda 51’s Shadows of the Damned (which Mikami produced), except of course, this is much darker. Mikami has said he wants to bring back ‘pure’ survival-horror, anyone who’s played Resident Evil 4 will know that Mikami isn’t afraid to put the player through hell, so expect to be placed against large groups of enemies and made to survive with only a handful of bullets.
However, one thing Resident Evil 4 always had, was variety. In a recent IGN interview Mikami said: “Horror as a genre has a set number of patterns, and the more time you spend with those patterns the more you get used to them. And the more used to those patterns a person is, the harder it is to scare them and do something above and beyond and original. If players say ‘I haven’t played a game this scary in a while,’ that would make me the happiest.” For many, Resident Evil 4 was the game of the last generation, gamers have high expectations when it comes to Shinji Mikami, and seeing as he has said this will be his final project as director, will this be his best? We shall wait and see.
The Evil Within will be released in 2014 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and next-gen consoles.