The Evil Within was a welcome return to form for Shinji Mikami, widely known as the father of horror games. His PS4 debut was a wild ride through blood, gore, and pure insanity. It was for the most part a very good game, but it didn't have the true horror of other contemporaries. This was due mostly to the fact that it wavered in the middle acts into an action game of sorts.
Towards the end though it came back to us, running into our grostesque and rotting arms like the creepy horror child it was. Now we're back and the game has finally received all three of its promised DLC expansions. Today we'll take a look at each of them and see if you should dive in for the season pass, or just pick up a few a la carte. Here we go.
Review #1: The Executioner
Now I know this was the last DLC to release for The Evil Within, but it's also the farthest from the original gameplay and style of the main game, and the shortest, so I'll start here. In this expansion you play as the Keeper who we all fondly remember as the "Pyramid Head" or the "Nemesis" of The Evil Within franchise. You remember him, the guy with the giant safe on his head, the butcher's apron and the various blunt weapons? Yeah, him.
You play as the iconic villain in this DLC as he searches for his daughter within the mansion from the original game. To avoid spoilers just in case you read this before playing the main game, let's just say she's in trouble and her memories are fading. To save her you need to take on a bunch of nasty people like serial killers and the like in a series of arena style boss fights.
Yeah, a bit different than you remember. Here's another twist: the whole thing is in first-person. Yep, you swing, smash, crush, and impale enemies all while looking through whatever eyes holes that safe on his head has. It's not scary, I'm sorry, but when you're an overpowered safe-wearing butcher, not much can scare you.
That being said, it's pretty fun. They have an upgrade system where you can buy new weapons, upgrade your health, speed, and buy secondary weapons like Molotovs, land mines, and even rocket propelled grenades. Towards the end of the DLC (which isn't long, like 3-4 hours if that) it starts to get a little boring, and the final boss is just annoying.
I had some fun with this pack, but it adds nothing to the overall plot, and the drastic change in gameplay didn't really pay off. It's also not scary in the slightest, so this isn't a continued horror fix for fans out there. With more time, story, and horror, along with maybe a more involved battle system could have really made this a significant expansion, especially because the Keeper is such a cool villain.
Final Score for The Executioner: 6.5/10
Next up, we have the two story packs that star Juli Kidman and run parallel to the main game.
Review #2: The Assignment
The Assignment strips everything from the main game's gameplay and boils it down to the very concepts of horror. You play as Juli Kidman and find out what she was doing for the vast amounts of time she was missing in the main game. Unlike Sebastian, she's not armed to the teeth, in fact, she's not armed at all for most of the DLC. Instead she has a flashlight and a cover system to keep her out of the enemy's line of sight.
While I'm not a big fan of stealth, I recognize the ability of it to really make you feel helpless. This can add to the overall horror, but it can also be incredibly frustrating when you get spotted and you have no choice but to run and probably die tired. You have a few ways to turn the tide in your favor though. You can throw bottles to distract enemies and knock on walls or objects to lure them over.
The new cover system works well for the most part, but it can be a little janky because of the heavy weight that the controls have. This can result in you popping out of cover when you really didn't mean to. A bit of a stealth attacked is introduced later, but it feels kind of forced in.
That being said, the stealth does lend a more tense and horrific feel to the gameplay. The addition of a new enemy that sits up there with The Keeper in terms of a terrifying aesthetic, also helps make this feel like a true horror experience. There was one moment though where I wanted to tear my hair out. It was one of those "survive until the elevator gets here" moments where I was trapped in a room just waiting for salvation to arrive.
I died so many times I almost just quit there. I kept going though because the mysterious evil corporation and the promise of more answered questions kept me going. Juli and her story are both very well done here in this first part of her journey. If you liked the story of The Evil Within and you want to know more about the world, this is worth it, just be ready to get a little frustrated if stealth doesn't come naturally to you.
Final Score for The Assignment: 8.0/10
For our last review, we take a look at the second half of Juli Kidman's story and see if you should see it through to the end!
Review #3: The Consequence
The Consequence has a lot riding on its shoulders. For starters, it has the monumental task of wrapping up the story from the first chapter, and it also needs to improve on the stealth mechanics introduced into the series for the first time in the previous DLC. Ha...good luck.
For the most part, it manages to hit the right notes. The art design continues to impress in this second half, and the awesome boss battles keep you coming back for more. The story is constantly pushing its way into the gameplay though, trying to tie up all the loose ends instead of naturally working them into the flow of things.
The other issue that arises is the villain, Ruvik, who at this point is no longer a mystery. In addition to this, he's also really powerful to the point where you have to ask "can anything kill this dude?" Later on in this DLC, Kidman finally gets a gun, but she's killed in two hits, so you can't go Rambo on the enemies.
This DLC is carried through on the sheer brilliance of its enemy and environment design. Everything works together here to create some of the most horrifying locations and enemies to date for the series. These things keep the final chapter from being too much of the same, Ultimately, you should see the story through to the end, but don't expect this to change up the series as much as the first installment did.
Final Score for The Consequence: 7.0/10
There you have it folks! If you're looking for more story, just pick up the The Assignment and The Consequence. If you want to get down and dirty as the bad guy for a bit, then check out The Executioner and pick up the full season pass. Just remember that the Keeper's bit is the weakest of the three.
Here's hoping we'll see a sequel soon, I like this universe! What are your thoughts on the DLC? Did you pick up the season pass? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date: 9/22/15