Shinji Mikami, video games’ answer to George A Romero, invented the survival horror game with Resident Evil in 1996.
The Evil Within marks his return to the genre after almost 10 years. It feels like he never left. The Evil Within has a B-movie plot: after an incident at an asylum, Detective Sebastian Castellanos hurtles into a deranged world of monsters that – against overwhelming odds – he must survive with limited supplies.
There are scene-for-scene nods to past Resident Evils – the game is heavily indebted to the franchise – while the village levels look identical to the eerie European setting of Resident Evil 4. As a result, there is a rather old-fashioned air here, with antiquated gameplay mechanics, and trial-and-error boss battles that can become frustrating. Yet it remains a gripping game, with nerve-racking stealth sections, creepy music and gruesome visuals. Mysterious shadows pass just out of sight, bodies vanish, doors creak and chase scenes descend into blind panic.
This has already been a great year for horror games (including the recent Alien Isolation), but The Evil Within proves that – even after a decade away – Mikami remains the master of terror.
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