The survival horror genre has had its ups and downs recently. Classic survival horror titles like Resident Evil and Silent Hill can no longer deliver the sense of fear and dread like they used to, while smaller indie titles like Amnesia manage to get almost everything right from atmosphere to intensity. So while it is unlikely that the survival horror genre is dying, the genre still needs a mainstay AAA level title that can appeal to a mass audience. The Evil Within is looking to be that game that can capture the classic survival horror feel while appealing to a broad audience.
The Evil Within Isn’t Action Oriented
On of the main reasons for Resident Evil’s downfall has been its focus on action. The earlier Resident Evils, while still having a focus on action elements, was mostly strategical in ammo management and how you’d face enemies. This was a nice balance. Newer Resident Evil games have turned to action on a larger basis. Everything comes down to your reflex ability in battles, no longer are you awarded for tactical awareness, instead dodging and shooting take precedence. The Evil Within is looking to be a more tactical action title, befitting the survival horror genre. There will be times when you need to rely on your reflex and shooting skills, but they are fewer and indeed such methods might be more dangerous in the long run. More guile and strategical thinking will be needed in the game to overcome the enemies and bosses within.
Sneaking Is Important
Amnesia proved to gamers that being a weak and vulnerable character is hellish in a true survival horror game. You need to be on your toes at every turn, or else you’ll walk straight into an enemy and instant death. Even the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games didn’t rely on sneaking much (I don’t class running around enemies as sneaking!), but The Evil Within is looking to recreate the fear that games like Amnesia have introduced. By creating a weak protagonist to control, you know that every enemy encounter could be your last one. Sneaking thus becomes a top priority in the game. Hopefully, The Evil Within will be able to fully utilise the budget behind it and create an even better atmosphere than previous survival horror titles.
A good horror title should always try and freak out the gamer. While we may have become numbed by the constant gore present in today’s games, true horror games will always be able to delve deeper into the gore genre. From hideous looking enemies to gut-wrenching death scenes, there are still plenty of ways to instill horror in gamers. Creativity in this department is only held back by your imagination. From the short trailer and the small demo that was on show at E3, The Evil Within is looking to deliver in this department too. While not wholly original, I’m already loving the fact that a chainsaw wielding monster is chasing you in the early stages of the game. That’s how survival horror should be.
There are other elements that help raise The Evil Within’s survival horror vision. I believe there will be a limited HUD in use in the game, allowing the gamer to feel that much more immersed in the game. There should be plenty of traps in the game too to feed on unsuspecting gamers. It simply looks fantastic. I can’t wait for it.