Having been responsible for the ground-breaking Resident Evil 4 a decade earlier, many hailed Shinji Mikami’s return to the survival horror genre as being the equivalent of the Second Coming. Unfortunately however, The Evil Within released to fairly mixed reviews with many stating that the title retread old, familiar ground. Indeed, whilst (my favourite games writer) Simon Parkin did recommend the title, he only did so on the basis that The Evil Within is “a greatest-hits package that recalls – but can’t match – Resident Evil 4“. Others however were a lot more damning in their criticism, with Polygon’s Philip Kollar giving the game 6.5/10 and stating that “everything is set up for a sweet homecoming, but there’s one major problem: It’s not 2005 anymore. Many consider Resident Evil 4 to be an all-time classic (myself included), but standards for both action games and horror games have changed. In its attempts to mimic Mikami’s past glories, The Evil Within does just fine. But in trying to pass itself off as a video game of 2014, it often falls short“.
I personally preferred Shinji Mikami’s previous effort with Resident Evil 4, if only because I can get my head around
zombies infected villagers a lot easier in comparison to the rather more convulated plot in The Evil Within which focuses on supernatural elements and is a lot less grounded in reality (duh… it’s a videogame). I also preferred the gameplay in the sequels to his popularised Resident Evil franchise – and yes, I really do think that Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 are better games in comparison as they are more consistent in quality than Mikami’s own effort.
Of course, I understand that people are entitled to their opinion, and many would agree with Neogaf user Salsa Shark instead as he believes that The Evil Within is easily one of the best games released in 2014 and can’t understand “how a lot of people seem to absolutely love RE4 yet hate this. It’s easily the best since. Above RE5 and 6 for me by far“.
For £9.99, I’d say that one should give The Evil Within a shot and make up your own mind. The Limited Edition also comes with a number of (physical and digital) extras not normally found in the regular edition of The Evil Within, so that should be an extra (value-added) incentive for those who are still on the fence about Mikami’s title.