In The Evil Within, the latest game from Resident Evil designer/creator Shinji Mikami, police detective Sebastian Castellanos investigates a brutal mass murder at Beacon Mental Hospital. Starting with the opening cutscene, every horror film nightmare comes to life—a hooded, puppetmaster-like antagonist named Ruvik (voiced by Jackie Earle Haley) lurks about; scratchy classical music plays softly in the background, portending atrocity. A maniac-with-chainsaw known as “the Sadist” chases you down a dark, crumbling hallway. There are overarching themes of mind control, dissociative identity disorder; physical manifestations of mental demons. Oh, and old, cracked mannequins.
What? Mannequins are creepy.
Since all your jump scares are belong to us, here’s how you should play: at night, alone in the house (make sure to check under the bed), no lights. Seriously, turn off your lights—the game is dark, and you want the full impact of the fly infested asylum-cum-slaughterhouse where you’ll find yourself literally hanging. Maybe have some Xanax ready, because for a portion of the opening, Sebastian is limping, oh God, he’s limping, he can’t run away from the Sadist! C’mon, my man, a cut Achilles is nothing compared to bisection! I found myself paddling my feet on the floor in hopes of somehow getting him to move his slow ass.
Consider, friends, that The Evil Within goes by the title Psycho Break in Japan. By the time you get to the Ringu-esque spider lady, an increasingly horrifying number of mutated monsters wearing clown masks, and something called “the Keeper”…you’ll know why.—Carrie Tucker