The Evil Within gameplay preview: gruesome survival horror due 2014
The Evil Within. Its title ought to be clue enough that it ain't gonna be pretty, at least not in the traditional sense. Then there's the image of a brain shrouded in barbed wire used as a promotional image that goes one step further to drop a bigger hint.
Billed as a survival horror, The Evil Within could at first glance be accused of being the video game adaptation of the movie Saw meets The Evil Dead. Gameplay has an immediate look of Resident Evil, albeit one that's been extra charred on the fires of hell.
Japanese developers Tango Gameworks take the helm in creating a dingy, detailed yet - somehow - lo-fi gaming world. Details such as added digital image noise to give those dark, low-light scenes the effect of being shot on a struggling camera give it distinct character.
Behind closed doors at Bethesda's show stand at this year's E3 show in Los Angeles, California, Pocket-lint was treated to a couple of live-action scenes from the game. Well, we say "treat" but the gruesome content really won't appeal to all - it's one of the bloodiest games we've seen in a long time and quickly succeeds in delivering a feeling of unease (particularly when viewed in a blacked-out theatre).
The game opens with cops called to a mental asylum to follow up an unknown incident. Upon arrival they encounter dozens of dead bodies and witness a flashy, near-invisible killer dispatch some cops before then capturing the lead character - that'll be you then.
What unfolds gets gristly very quickly. Your character awakens, strung upside down, blood dripping into a pool beneath. In a Texas Chainsaw moment there's a brawling maniac cutting up human bodies for no apparent reason and it looks as though you're about to be next.
Escape is the goal, but stealth is the essential tool. But with stealth comes lots of plodding about. From what we've seen it looks as though at least half of the game is likely to be spent limping around, frustrated and trying to escape from scary monsters reminiscent of The Thing, or zombies that, despite still being nasty looking, are so commonplace in TV, movies and games these days that they didn't cause the biggest gasp.
Note that this catalogue of movie citations seems to show that The Evil Within does seem to enjoy residing in those classic yet often cliched moments. Perhaps that's what will make the title work, or perhaps it's this slow pace that will see its success crawl (again, just like The Thing).
We've only had the chance to witness scenes being played by the game's producers, not play the title ourselves. For now that means it's hard to know exactly how it handles and how big the frights will come. If one thing's for sure it's that the ghoulish enemies are nothing short of terrifying - and that's a pretty big deal in a video game, irrelevant of whether we're yet convinced by the game's shock tactic concept or not.
Possibly among the last of a dying breed, albeit one doused in an extra large serving of the crimson stuff. Family friendly? We think not.
The Evil Within will be available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2014 - no exact release date has been penned in as yet.