The Evil Within Isn't Scary, Just Monotonous - Hands-On - Update

man, could it be too late to save big budget horror games? have all big developers forgotten how to make them?

Please don't suck, please don't suck, ...

I'm not counting on Konami to suddenly be able to bring out another great silent hill and neither am I betting on Resident evil 7 being good. If the creator of RE himself has lost "the way" to make these kind of games, than my only hope lies with the indies.

The use of save rooms seems promising, that might mean that there's actual exploration in the game, like the old Resident Evil games.m

NuclearKangaroo:
man, could it be too late to save big budget horror games? have all big developers forgotten how to make them?

I dont think they lost it that much as much as the players got used to blood and gore. Every second game youre killing tons of stuffs from goblins to terrorists to dragons to nazi zombie soldiers, sometimes in very explicit ways that where unthinkable back in the olden days of silent hill 1.

If you would play lets say the old resident evil 1 today im sure you wouldnt really be scared either. Same goes for Silent hill wich was mostly scary because of the old graphics. With the new graphical videlety we have nowadays it becomes somehow harder to take these things serious. You see a grotesque abomination on scream and go: "Man that freak looks crazy" and less "oh shit oh shit oh shit what do i do now?"

Back in the day a game like that would have shocked everyone, nowadays people will only focus on the things that annoyed them while rolling their eyes on the overused tropes being used to death.

Like chainsaw brute guy...

Resident evil 4 allready did the "big hulking brute with a covered up face and a chainsaw thats trying to catch you and 1 shot you" then we had a guy like that in resident evil 5 only he had a hammer axe thingy... and then we had a guy like that in resident evil 6 chasing your protagonists around for half their story arc.

Basicly you cant be scared anymore by games that retread old paths. Games like amnesia werent scarry because you couldnt defend yourselfe, they where scarry because they played with your imagination and your fear of the dark, of not seeing whats after you till the last moment.

This game has "splatter" written all over it and looks more like a high profile B-horror movie... and when was the last time anyone saw one of those and was scared?

Here's the thing. Resident Evil was never scary. It has the exact same type of gameplay described in this article. A lot of bumbling around, with awkward controls designed to make you panic a bit, limited use items and enemies that take a lot of hits before they go down.

I don't really get this article. The video actually made me jump and you even sound like you're enjoying the game, but in the written article you act like it sucks. looks fun to me.

I was never filled with confidence in this from the first images I saw. It's all so overt. Dirty operating tables, blood everywhere... good survival horror games don't have this. They have places and locations marked by these things, but running through an environment that is always like that will surely desensitize the player to it. Resident Evil 1, for example, used this exact same idea. You were in a big open mansion that was just empty for most of the game. Then you get attacked by these shambling creepers that are hard as nails to kill. Ammo is scarce, health packs are scarce, but save rooms are located in reasonable places.

It becomes less engrossing when you have it in your face. Even if there aren't any enemies around, everything is caked with gore. The constant view of such things actually make it less scary and have less impact, which makes sense.

"The Evil Within is a dud, with very little keeping it from being a staid march through blood-spattered clichés."

Might want to save statements like that until you actually get your hands on the finished game, Greg.

Just saying.

piscian:
I don't really get this article. The video actually made me jump and you even sound like you're enjoying the game, but in the written article you act like it sucks. looks fun to me.

Good point. I made it clear in the article that my thoughts and opinions were different than Andrea Rene's take on the game. Her video is a nice reminder that not all impressions of a game will be the same.

josh4president:
Might want to save statements like that until you actually get your hands on the finished game, Greg.

Serious question now, why?

If a journalist plays a preview of a game and doesn't have a good time, why should s/he not say that they didn't have a good time?

It's unusually down the line for a game preview, most journos seem to be bending over backwards to be diplomatic even when they've hated what they were shown. Which might be why I only read the Escapist and Edge these days.

fix-the-spade:

josh4president:
Might want to save statements like that until you actually get your hands on the finished game, Greg.

Serious question now, why?

If a journalist plays a preview of a game and doesn't have a good time, why should s/he not say that they didn't have a good time?

It's unusually down the line for a game preview, most journos seem to be bending over backwards to be diplomatic even when they've hated what they were shown. Which might be why I only read the Escapist and Edge these days.

Because Greg did not say, "I did not have a good time with the preview build of this game."

He said, and again I quote:

"The Evil Within is a dud, with very little keeping it from being a staid march through blood-spattered clichés."

Can you perhaps see how this might be an inappropriate statement for a games journalist to make five months before said finished product is released to the market?

Maybe?

Just a wee bit?

well i sure will keep an eye on it but not really hyped at the moment. i think i wait for some reviews before i make any decision.

Moving around to the back of the house, there are weird zombie guys shuffling around a fire that's burning alive a child in the backyard. No big deal.

Umm, what? I mean really, what? I think this game might be trying too hard to scare.

josh4president:

fix-the-spade:

josh4president:
Might want to save statements like that until you actually get your hands on the finished game, Greg.

Serious question now, why?

If a journalist plays a preview of a game and doesn't have a good time, why should s/he not say that they didn't have a good time?

It's unusually down the line for a game preview, most journos seem to be bending over backwards to be diplomatic even when they've hated what they were shown. Which might be why I only read the Escapist and Edge these days.

Because Greg did not say, "I did not have a good time with the preview build of this game."

He said, and again I quote:

"The Evil Within is a dud, with very little keeping it from being a staid march through blood-spattered clichés."

Can you perhaps see how this might be an inappropriate statement for a games journalist to make five months before said finished product is released to the market?

Maybe?

Just a wee bit?

That's probably the reason he included this paragraph:

There's still time. Shinji Mikami is a veteran game director. I sincerely hope the slice I played isn't indicative of the whole experience and that, taken as a whole instead of this manufactured playthrough, The Evil Within will be a high watermark in psychological horror storytelling and bring the survival element back to the survival horror genre he popularized with Resident Evil. I hope.

Also, he has a point. This is a preview, supposedly the best the game has to offer, in order to convince people that's it's worth the money and effort to shell out sixty bucks right away, as soon as it's available. If this, supposedly the cream of the crop, fails to entice, it's not unreasonable to assume the whole product won't be worth the effort.

That or the guy who put the demo together didn't know his business.

Greg Tito:

piscian:
I don't really get this article. The video actually made me jump and you even sound like you're enjoying the game, but in the written article you act like it sucks. looks fun to me.

Good point. I made it clear in the article that my thoughts and opinions were different than Andrea Rene's take on the game. Her video is a nice reminder that not all impressions of a game will be the same.

Oh I'm sorry man I didn't see that.

I think given the two different perspectives if he doesn't make changes it will be a game that ends up appealing to survival horror fans willing to forgive those flaws. With your description I'd probably put myself in the written category because I'm a forgiver of technical flaws but I find poor or generic writing and plotting atrocious. A game can look and play fantastically but if it bores me then there's no way around that.

Karadalis:

NuclearKangaroo:
man, could it be too late to save big budget horror games? have all big developers forgotten how to make them?

I dont think they lost it that much as much as the players got used to blood and gore. Every second game youre killing tons of stuffs from goblins to terrorists to dragons to nazi zombie soldiers, sometimes in very explicit ways that where unthinkable back in the olden days of silent hill 1.

If you would play lets say the old resident evil 1 today im sure you wouldnt really be scared either. Same goes for Silent hill wich was mostly scary because of the old graphics. With the new graphical videlety we have nowadays it becomes somehow harder to take these things serious. You see a grotesque abomination on scream and go: "Man that freak looks crazy" and less "oh shit oh shit oh shit what do i do now?"

Back in the day a game like that would have shocked everyone, nowadays people will only focus on the things that annoyed them while rolling their eyes on the overused tropes being used to death.

Like chainsaw brute guy...

Resident evil 4 allready did the "big hulking brute with a covered up face and a chainsaw thats trying to catch you and 1 shot you" then we had a guy like that in resident evil 5 only he had a hammer axe thingy... and then we had a guy like that in resident evil 6 chasing your protagonists around for half their story arc.

Basicly you cant be scared anymore by games that retread old paths. Games like amnesia werent scarry because you couldnt defend yourselfe, they where scarry because they played with your imagination and your fear of the dark, of not seeing whats after you till the last moment.

This game has "splatter" written all over it and looks more like a high profile B-horror movie... and when was the last time anyone saw one of those and was scared?

You make several good points. Allow me to agree and disagree on a few things though.

Largely, I agree that we've become immune to the tropes and tricks of horror games by this point. Chainsaw guy in RE4 was scary at first, annoying by the sequels. It's the same reason that first zombie in the first RE1 game was horrifying, while by RE6 they're basically body fodder and obstacles to move through rather than a serious threat that could wipe you out. To scare people, you have to employ new tricks, which takes more work than some developers are willing to put in.

And I agree that, on the older hardware, your imagination was more powerful than the reality. As games have become more advanced, developers no longer have the self-restraint to HIDE their monsters from you. They spent so much time working on that monster, they WANT you to see it and be horrified... but that's not actually as scary as the unknown. For a time, even with better technology, Silent Hill thrived on hiding hideous monsters in the fog and darkness, with only the radio static to alert you that there was something horrible out there, near and closing in, from any direction, and you didn't know when or what or how many. That was more scary than actually seeing them.

But I think, also, that fear went by the wayside once video games turned horror games into power fantasies like other games, giving players the tools and firepower to obliterate the creatures of the dark. A single zombie closing in when you have one bullet and no health items is scary; a mob of zombies closing in when you have a machine gun with 600 rounds is not. But developers won't return to the old ways because there's a large enough group of people that are "bored" or "annoyed" by not having all the tools they need to survive at all times. It's why ink ribbons and inventory management and ammo taking up inventory space and tank controls and static camera angles have all fallen away, despite being some of the best design choices a developer could make to instill caution, paranoia, and fear into a player.

Same goes for game pacing. Capcom of today would never dream of putting a Resident Evil game in one single, solitary mansion for the duration of an entire game. They have to be globe-trotting adventures with vehicle sections and scripted chase sequences and turret sequences. Those old games, with their slow, deliberate pacing, plethora of puzzles and environmental secrets, did something many other games have failed to do: they turned their very locations into characters as well. The RE1 mansion, the town of Silent Hill, Dead Space's Ishimura... those are all "characters" as much as the heroes and villains are, bring to the table a building sense of horror that multiple, generic locations with no identity could never accomplish.

And your choice of lead characters is a big part of this too. Silent Hill was scary because you weren't some trained soldier with firearm training. You were a desperate dad or grieving widower or teenage girl who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn unless enemies were RIGHT on top of you (but gamers would complain about inaccurate shooting controls instead of getting the point). Isaac Clarke in Dead Space wasn't a soldier; he was just an engineer, using resources on hand to survive. Even the original Resident Evil games at least said Jill was less of a soldier and more of locksmith, Claire only had some training at the shooting range, and it was Leon's first day on the job... all of them mutated into superheroes by the later games, able to shrug off any horrors they saw while spitting out one-liners and doing backflips, while I remember Jill throwing up in the first game at the sight of a dead body.

Horror games, to be effective, spit in the face of big game company's philosophy that sequels need to be bigger and better, when the opposite is true and "less is more". Indies are getting that, as are new challengers to the throne with games like Amnesia, Outlast, and even Slender. Triple A horror may never return, but if we're being honest, the original horror games were not exactly triple A games in the first place. I'm more than okay with smaller, more intimate, more focused, and more scary games.

Karadalis:
This game has "splatter" written all over it and looks more like a high profile B-horror movie... and when was the last time anyone saw one of those and was scared?

Man, what I would do to get something else similar to John Carpenter's The Thing. Old horror movies might have looked ridiculous, but they certainly knew how to make people squirm.

Sadly, the best scare I got during my demo was when I was hiding in a closet, watching a monster go by. After he was safely around the next corner, I exited the closet, only to have the doctor I was escorting appear inches from my face. I yelped for the first time in the demo at what is basically a glitch.

Yup, sounds like the one time I got jump-scared while playing through Doom 3, a scripting glitch caused a Zombie to appear right in front of my character.

so, sounds like i dont miss much. i still wait and see once its out but even at this point, no excitement.

sounds about right; thing is, I would say that even the RE series wasn't really scary. Tense, maybe, but that's not the same thing as fear. I felt when Mikami dropped the shallow pretense of it being a horror series it was all the better for it. Even the earliest entry made it so it was preferred to just kill the enemies rather than avoid them because you got ammo and health items by the bucketful the further you went into the game. It looks to me like Mikami is just in denial about his abilities and his attempts to hide it are paper-thin.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Karadalis:
This game has "splatter" written all over it and looks more like a high profile B-horror movie... and when was the last time anyone saw one of those and was scared?

Man, what I would do to get something else similar to John Carpenter's The Thing. Old horror movies might have looked ridiculous, but they certainly knew how to make people squirm.

That's because those good ol' movies used things such as engineered robotics for the monsters, people in skin-suits, and actual props. The newer movies look complete shit because they're made with really horrible CGI* and get pumped out by the handful. Directors also fail to drive emotion out of their actors for scenes that call for it, giving very generic and bland performances; take for example how Linda Hamlton was in a recent Sci-Fi movie about electric lightning tentacles and had the same bland expression throughout.

Back on topic: I called it when this game was revealed that it looked cheesy, horrible, and just was a play on the current fad of survivor horror games that have been becoming popular over the past few years. This is nothing more than a money-grab by the developers with no real understanding of the media that they're delving into. It's cheap. It stinks of lazy.

*Peter Jackson and Neil Blompkamp both know how to do excellent CGI and are an exception. Their filming techniques need to be emulated by others.

Captcha: More Better.
Kind of what this game needs to be, right?

piscian:
I don't really get this article. The video actually made me jump and you even sound like you're enjoying the game, but in the written article you act like it sucks. looks fun to me.

The video isn't from the guy who did the article..it's from a different person fro m the Escapist.

 

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