Review – Evil Inside
Despite not even being a full-fledged game, one could say that Hideo Kojima’s P.T. was the single most influential horror game of the previous generation of gaming, as well as recent memory in general. It’s arguably more important to the industry than one of its main sources of inspiration, the Amnesia games. Its sudden cancellation has inspired many studios to come up with spiritual successors to try to recapture its magic. Evil Inside is one of these games. Let’s see if it succeeded at what it tried to do.
The short answer? No. The long answer? This game tries way too hard to be scary and obtuse, and it fails miserably in every single conceivable level. The basic premise is simple and it’s something we’ve seen countless times: you wake up in a house, horrible things have happened, and you’ve got to pieces everything together in order to solve a mystery. You’ll need to go through multiple time loops and gather pieces of an Ouija board. It’s not a bad setup per se, but Evil Inside fails mostly in its execution.
I’m fine with games trying to recapture the magic behind P.T.‘s simple yet engaging premise. However, you need to add something else to spice things up, to create an identity of your own. This is how Visage succeeded: it expanded beyond the reaches of a single hallway, forcing you to explore an entire house, twisting your sense of direction and playing with your expectations in brilliant ways.
Evil Inside on the other hand, sticks very firmly to the original format set up by P.T., but here’s the catch: that game was a demo. It wasn’t supposed to fully indicate what Silent Hills was going to be. Evil Inside just focuses way too much on just being P.T., barely doing anything different with the formula and never trying to be its own thing.
The game will force you to walk constantly through a single hallway. Each and every time you complete a loop, it will transition to a new one, with brand new scares and puzzles to tackle. It’s pretty straightforward, being barely more than an hour long. It’s also ridiculously easy, as all of its puzzles are stupidly simple to solve and there are no real threats that can actually kill you.
The vast majority of its “scary moments” (if you can even call them that) are predictable jumpscares that almost never land. They are mostly comprised of loud noises and an object quickly popping up onscreen. This happens ad nauseum every few minutes. The game doesn’t give itself enough time to properly build up enough tension for a scare. As a result, there’s no atmosphere in here. It just throws loud noises at you, hoping that at least one of them sticks the landing. Evil Inside is also very disappointing when it comes to its visuals. The aforementioned lack of atmosphere can be seen in the uninspired design of the hallway, featuring unimpressive textural work and an overall lack of environmental detail.
Evil Inside is yet another failed attempt to recapture the brilliance of P.T. in a “full game” format, but it ends up missing the mark in every single way you could possibly imagine. This isn’t scary at all; it’s just boring, uninteresting, and most importantly, annoying, mostly due to the overabundance of loud noises and jump scares. There are much better P.T.-inspired horror games out there, so don’t waste your time with this one.
Considering the very small scope of Evil Inside‘s single hallway, the game ends up being disappointingly ugly.
It copies the gameplay loop from P.T., but it adds an extra dose of dullness, boredom, and repetitiveness.
Sound is an absolutely critical part of a good horror experience. Loud noises make for constantly annoying cheap jumpscares. Sometimes, less is more.
Fun Factor: 1.0
A horror game should be tense, terrifying, and gripping. Evil Inside just isn’t any of these.
Final Verdict: 2.0
Evil Inside is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of Evil Inside was provided by the publisher.