Release The Evil

Happy Weekend TAY!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and lots of gaming is planned for those driven inside due to the cooler temperatures. It snowed in my neck of the woods the other night for the first time this season and I’m still scrambling to bring things inside for the winter. The snow didn’t stay...but it is a sign that “winter is coming”.

I didn’t have a whole lot of time to play last week with my kid’s heavy load of tests and the time I spent helping him to study, but I did manage a few sessions of The Evil Within and so far, so good(?).

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Frankly, I’m still unsure if I am having fun with the game or just shocked to be playing a Resident Evil game that I enjoy controlling. Ok...it’s not really a Resident Evil game (*wink, wink*). I mean, even though one of the creators of the Resident Evil series now heads the company that makes The Evil Within, it is totally its own thing (*cough, cough*)

Except, it’s better than Resident Evil. It still has the hallmark batty story and the terrible acting remains, but everything else seems more streamlined than the past Resident Evil games I’ve played.

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I played all the numbered Resident Evil games up to and including 5 (plus Code: Veronica). I thought RE5 was pretty awful on the Xbox 360 and never bothered to look at 6. I’m still very interested in playing RE7 at some point, but I’m trying to work out a VR solution for my home before I jump into that one.

I do have a bit of a soft spot for the series since the first Resident Evil game, on the original PlayStation, was a horror fan’s dream. It wasn’t a great dream, and was built on the ideas of Alone In The Dark and was supplanted by Silent Hill, but for a moment in history, Resident Evil offered one of the best examples of how to do horror in video games.

But RE controlled like crap...and as the series continued on, I always felt I was fighting the controls. I loved the multimedia experience in RE2 and enjoyed my wife’s screams when Nemesis burst into the room in RE3, but those early games controlled like a tank. The amazing visuals of Code: Veronica seemed to help justify the struggling Dreamcast, and I think Resident Evil 4 finally found its stride with the Wiimote aiming...but in the end, they all controlled like crap.

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Resident Evil 5 seemed to just hit a wall for me. While attempts were made to improve controls compared to the cumbersome fourth game, RE5 was simply not fun. Every aspect of RE5 had been overshadowed by the many horror, zombie, and third-person action games already on the market.

The Evil Within addresses many of the shortcomings of the later Resident Evil games, particularly by returning to the survival roots and adding a much better stealth system. It is almost (dare I say it) like Splinter Cell-lite now. I’m only early in a fairly long game, but the stealth sections up to now have been enjoyable.

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I was having issues with the combat but discovered when I switched to mouse and keyboard from the Xbox One controller that most of my issues went away. The aiming in this game feels like it is best on a mouse and the whole game is snappier with a mouse-controlled camera.

The story and acting are fairly awful and I prefer when The Evil Within is not talking to me, but as an action game and a stealth game, I’m fairly entertained. Add to that a good save system, a meaningful upgrade structure, and some generally creepy stuff and I am very pleased that I am not disappointed.

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Aside from more of The Evil Within, I hope to get in more Breath Of The Wild with my kid this weekend and definitely more of the FANTASTIC Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice with my wife...plus, horror movies galore with the whole family! (Monster House was a surprisingly good kid’s horror film I had never watched).

So, what are you playing this weekend?