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Painting the Roses Red: The Evil Within

By BloodyFanGirl28-05-2013

We (I specifically) have previously covered the announcement of and the release of the first few 'screens' from The Evil Within. Now even more screens have been released of the project coming from the creator of Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami. There's a fair bit of the red sticky stuff that isn't jam on show in these new images.

Be sure to check out the new screen captures in the gallery below. Contrary to my previous speculation it appears that the game will explore a variety of locales outside of the already shown mansion. Players appear to be able to venture outside as well as go to the genre mainstay of a creepy, abandoned hospital. We also get a glimpse of some more monster designs in these pictures. Watch this space and the official site for more on this game.

Comments (16)
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Posts: 3290

If you actually look at them, only one image shows actual combat. Our minds' are conflating the running, which could be something as simple as impatience (I mean really, if you have a run option in a game, you use it right? Not gonna' just casually stroll around all over the place, like I'm casually refusing to close this parenthesis, because you don't really have the kind of time needed to do something like that. You want to see what's in the next room, round the next corner, up the next set of stairs. And you don't want to linger too long, just in case something does come leaping out at you, demanding your attention by waggling it's nastiness in your face and trying to murder you. In the face. Bacon) whilst the third 'action' image shows some nasties shambling towards us which could be from a cinematic. Then, arguably, we have the fourth which just shows some blood spattered on an hospital room floor. I'd also like to remind everyone, Resident Evil, the first game, much as we remember it for its atmosphere and prevalent tension, was primarily an action game. Boss fights, a wave of new enemies part way through the game, those fucking dogs!

Just saying

Posts: 240

Oh, yeah, although I'm being critical of it not looking likely to focus on horror, I don't mean to suggest that that means it could be bad or good. Whenever we first see gameplay, I'll judge it on those grounds based on what we see.

I will take back what I said about developers ignoring jump scares completely as I should have pointed in my Amnesia post that it even uses them early on, and in the effective manner you describe no less. Part of the game's tutorial to teach you that darkness will make your character turn into a grovelling child, for instance, happens as you enter a candle-lit room where the door slams shut behind you and the candles go out, after building atmosphere through some rather creepy hallways.

Have never played this Eternal Darkness but that sounds quite cool, and, yeah, it's exactly the kind of creative, evil ploys devs can use to frighten players in unique ways. But, really, there's a ton of subtle things devs can do to really incite fear in players that I've always thought are more effective than a monster shouting "Surprise, bitch!" as he bursts from a vent randomly. Although I said, the Resident Evil series isn't one I find particularly scary compared to Silent Hill, 4 does have one memorable point of what I thought was effective horror (would have been more so if the immersion isn't broken as soon as you get into a fight but whatever). The moment I'm talking about is when you later return, I believe after saving Ashley, to the village where you first encounter Chainsaw Guy, only it's now very dark, raining, and seemingly deserted. However, as I recall, it's not as deserted as it looks, nor are subsequent spooky areas areas: in the darkness you can see their eyes as they wander about, something I always found bloody horrible. A small thing, I know, but it was surprisingly effective, for me at least, and worked too in Demon's Souls, I believe in its prison level, which is particularly dark and miserable. So, no, not impossible indeed, but my point is that games like Dead Space that place such great emphasis on horror have these better moments scattered throughout, yet favour the typical jump scare.

But, all that said, I'm a little biased in my opinion towards jump scares. Honestly, I usually jump slightly and go "For fuck's sake" in frustration or something, and that's it. It seems almost mad to prefer the kind of horror where you stare down a dark hallway, terrified to go on, simply because your imagination is getting the better of you, but I honestly do, though I shit myself at the time.

The only reason I write at such length about all this is because I'd really love to see more games really get it right in regards to approaching horror. Of course, games go about horror in different ways. The Silent Hill series, since it's mentioned, is a game where I genuinely find the enemies more terrifying than the thought of going down that hallway or whatnot, but it works in its own way, you know? Hell, although it's hardly mentioned (implying, I suppose, that I'm a big scaredy cat), I even found that Metro 2033 was one of the scariest games I've ever played, even though it doesn't place as big an emphasis on trying to be as terrifying as I found it. Part of the reason for that is because it's such an immersive game, of course - the STALKER series is very similar in this regard - but I always thought it had several other things really going for it, namely the excellent A.I. of the creatures to be found in the game, but even gameplay mechanics like the damaged gas mask and manually-pumped flashlight play a hand.

As I said though, horror is a difficult thing to pull off, no doubt about it. In a way, I don't even blame developers for using cheap tricks more often than others.

Posts: 123

Aaa, I mean graphics card, not game engine. What was I thinking? Silly me.

Posts: 123

I agree with Mr.Jenssen and Endzville that these screen shots do appear to suggest 'action' a little more than 'horror' which is a shame but no indication of whether the game will be good or not. Bobfish makes an excellent point about appealing to as many people as possible with these screens.

In regards to some of the points Endzville made, jump scares can be satisfying scares if done properly through building up tension and using anti-climaxes appropriately. I disagree that developers should completely stop using them though I agree they could do with less of them. I also agree that it can be tricky in scaring the player through third person perspective. One game that I think does this really well is Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem because of the meta-textual nature of some of the scares when your sanity gets low; the scares specifically target the player rather than the player character by appearing to delete your save data and messing with your sound. So it's not impossible to achieve satisfying scares with this perspective but devs do have to be much more clever about it. Besides, the game might include first person perspective as an option, which is unlikely but we don’t know yet.
Also, eff yeah Silent Hill. The way the first few of those games build and maintain tension is greeeat.

@Wensleydale: First of all, great username. Secondly, a defenceless protagonist has been kind of hit and miss in my experience. In theory it sounds awesome, in practice it can be annoying with an over reliance on chase sequences (which I personally find terrifying but it can get boring for other players). And, rather shamefully, I must admit that I still need to play Amnesia. But one of the reasons I’ve not played it yet is because of how scary it appears in Let’s Plays. XD That game gets tension just right by the looks of it. I also like how, for the most part, you don’t see the monsters (at least not up close. Until it’s too late. And then I also agree with Endzville in that there does seem to be a lack of variety in the monster designs when you do see them). The player’s imagination is far more powerful than any game engine in this regard.
I love sanity metres in horror games. They add to the tension nicely. C:

@Merc: I know that feel man.

Posts: 3290

As a complete aside to all the Dead Space talk...or maybe not actually. The image I chose as the primary showcases one of the most important aspects in creating a tense atmosphere.

Light and shadow

Posts: 123

I never expected such an in-depth discussion on this news piece. It's awesome! I'll weigh in properly later.

Posts: 240

That's a good point. In fact, the worst enemy throughout Dead Space had to be the one that regenerated its limbs, much in the same way as a similar creature in RE4. That was a good way to mix things up a little.

But, speaking of mixing things up, I would point out that part of the reason Amnesia grows far less scarier as the game progresses is its reliance on its one type of enemy throughout the game (well, besides the water monster, though I found that a little silly myself). The game could have really benefitted from mixing things up in that regard, I feel, as you learn how best to avoid them all too quickly, and they therefore feel like less of a threat. They're too predictable is what I'm getting at. Although the developers did realise this, I think; as I recall, they don't only use them as tools of destruction against doors, but sometimes have them charge right at you down a narrow corridor, often quite randomly, a scenario forcing you into a hasty retreat in fear, which works really well because, as you point out, you can't defend yourself. Towards the end of the game they also have a whole area quite thick with fog, obscuring the enemies you know are out there somewhere, which was another creative use of them. Still, some other enemies would have been great, in my opinion - perhaps the sequel will have some variations scattered throughout.

It's only a small complaint of mine, though, since the atmosphere and immersion, for the most part, is kept consistent, and they utilize other ways to scare you besides. Hell, isn't there a point early on, in some cellars I believe, where the main character recalls murdering a girl? It's only one of many "flashbacks" of dialogue from the past, but had the most horrible stabbing sounds and pleading final words that combined to frighten me unlike anything else at that point.

Anyway, long story short: horror's a tricky one. :P

Posts: 44

I think also what made Amnesia scarier than Dead Space was the fact that you were essentially defenseless against the monsters. Isaac Clarke was capable of blowing the limbs off of necromorphs to eliminate them as a threat, and once you'd figured out that 'strategic dismemberment' was the order of the day, things became a lot less tense. In Amnesia, your only option was 'escape and evade'. If a monster caught wind of you and subsequently cornered you, you were essentially screwed. (And hiding in the dark for too long reduced you to a gibbering dysfunctional wreck.) That scenario ratcheted up the tension considerably.

I loved both games, but in terms of edge-of-your-seat pants-wetting terror, I'd have to say Amnesia definitely had the upper hand.

Posts: 240

Yeah, horror games do tend to rely on using jump scares a bit too much, just like cinema. It's something that's perhaps frightening once or twice but becomes predictable and easy to foretell all too soon. Although Amnesia, for instance, is a really bloody game, it's most scary early on (although, even late game, I found the dungeons quite horrible to traverse) when it's building tension and establishing its atmosphere because, later in the game, it relies on the monsters alone to frighten the player, notably in their vendetta against doors, which simply stops working effectively.

The reason I brought up perspective, incidentally, is that I've found that third person horror games struggle more with creatively scaring the gamer than first person ones do. Since Dead Space is the comparison first mentioned in the comments here, I'll use that to explain what I mean.

So my favourite part of DS, in terms of genuinely getting me worked up, was this one point, I believe early on, where you enter a U-shaped corridor, at the other end of which you can hear a thumping noise, echoing lightly off the walls. You start walking down it and the lights start flickering out until it's quite dark. At the opposite end of the corner, through the darkness (mind you, I suppose how effectively this work depends on how you set the brightness), you can see a figure in a dimly lit doorway, and as you approach you realise it's a man thumping his head off the wall. In fact, it's not just a *THUMP* noise; you can hear several different *SPLAT* variations under it. Get close enough, and the guy eventually sways his head back a little farther than before, then brings it to a grisly end against the wall, even ending with a kind of screech noise as his head slides against the wall as he collapses. That kind of thing, in my opinion, is far scarier than any time a monster will simply jump out the closet. That's effective, I think, for several reasons, but it was the excellent use of sound, above all else, that really got to me.

My point in bringing it up in regards to perspective is that it's a different, quite creative approach to take in order to frighten the player not only in a third person game, but a game in general, especially since the same game frequently relies on jump scares most of the other time. But the thing is, I find that, when it comes to horror games, it's simply scarier from the first person. To incite fear in a player in a third person game, not as immersive most of the time, I think developers need to be a bit more creative than usual, and completely ignore trying to jump scare the audience. To Dead Space's credit, for instance, I actually think it was quite clever of them to make it a third person game. The whole game's spent on a ship, most often consisting of tight corridors and small adjoining rooms, and I always found it quite suitable that that claustrophobia is reflected in the camera being so tightly focused on Issac that you often struggle to watch your back. It's a shame it still isn't that scary, but the ideas were certainly there. Either way, I think those kind of little touches do go a long way if the developer can also combine a great atmosphere with immersion, the latter I think being what they struggle with the most.

It'll be interesting to see how this turns out though, I think. Although, if I'm honest, I'd prefer a game more along the lines of the the first several Silent Hill games, or even Forbidden Siren, than Resident Evil pre-4.

Posts: 351

I really hope this game is the Resident Evil game I have wanted since 4.