So there we were, first thing in the morning on Friday. It was roughly 9AM and the media hour had begun. With all of the awesome games being shown off, it was nearly impossible to pick just one booth to visit first but we finally decided on the Bethesda booth.
We were the first two people inside the demo room for The Evil Within and it was almost completely dark, which set the tone for the live demo we were about to watch. Once they were ready to begin, the screen in front of us with the Bethesda logo faded into a screen with two options; PAX East Demo 1 and PAX East Demo 2.
The demonstrator selected the 1st option and a short cutscene of the main character attempting to escape an elevator that was well on its way to becoming completely submerged in water. The character struggled and grunted as he tried to pry the door open enough to slip through. He finally managed to rip the doors open enough to get outside and was greeted to city in ruin.
As he slowly walked through the city, structures would raise and collapse around him as if there were earthquakes constantly tearing through the world. The streets, or at least, what was left of the streets where lined with signs and other remnants of a once thriving civilization. A bus plummets from above the player and slams into the pavement right in front on him without making a sound. It was clear that the silent bus from Hell was a glitch but it certainly didn’t detract from the overall spooky ambiance.
The character continues to traverse the destroyed buildings and alleyways until he comes across a fenced area. It’s here that we got our first glimpse at one of the enemies. These enemies closely resemble zombies but have their own sort of feel to them. Our hero whips out a shotgun and quickly dispatches of the enemy in the immediate area and head over a few fences to collect a key needed to open a gate in the area prior. This key was guarded by another zombie and our demonstrator switched to the sniper and attempts to take it out at a distance, and misses 2 or 3 times before finally nailing the enemy in the head. Immediately after picking up the key, a small group of undead appear to make life difficult for our demonstrator.
He handles the group at a distance and sets a few of the dead bodies on fire, presumably as a way to dispose of the not-so living dead. He then presses on though the level when he comes upon a roadway blocked by a pool of water. The character attempts to cross the deep waters only to be pulled under by a giant mutant of some sort. The screen then fades to black and displays the main screen once again and our demonstrator chooses “PAX East Demo 2”
The second half of our demonstration took place in what looked like a prison with poison gas resting on the floor of the entire facility. This poison gas was slowly nipping at the nameless hero’s gas/poison meter. This is where things really started to get screwed up… In a good and creepy way. Out of nowhere, a new enemy appears. This Hellish being can only be described as Pyramid head from Silent Hill, only replace the Pyramid with a safe. This bulky and horrifying monstrosity would twist and break its own neck and immediately teleport right next to the player.
The demonstrator dodged many of these creatures and tried to reach the end of the demo as soon as possible because his poison meter was still rising fairly quickly. The last thing we see as the demo fades to black is the player turning a valve, dropping a heavy ceiling tile full of spikes on top of a perusing Safe-head.
Our half hour demonstration was filled with a few amusing pre-alpha glitches, horrifically twisted enemies, and memorable environments. Though The Evil Within seems very similar to another well-known zombie series, Resident Evil(as it should, it IS from the director of RE4), it does seem like it’s trying very hard to go its own way. It’s a little hard to tell how this one will turn out. If it promises to keep an eerie presence throughout the entire game and delivers a story worthy of paying attention to, it shouldn’t have any issue. Anything less than that might hinder the performance of an otherwise gorgeous video game and a work of art. I suppose only time will tell what The Evil Within has in store for us. The Evil Within is slated to be released on August 26th in North America on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.