Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami promised us a return us to survival-horror genre roots, and The Evil Within was supposed to be the promised-game. Alas, while this title has some nostalgic value, it doesn't live up to the hype. Yet, it's still an entertaining experience, just not the one that was promised.
I know I shouldn't give out my opinion on the game in the second sentence, but The Evil Within really does frustrate me so. Subtlety is something the developer, Tango Gameworks, doesn't seem to understand. Tension, build-up, and the fear of the other, these are things The Evil Within doesn't really get properly. That's what ultimately pulls me out of it, because it could have been a genuinely terrifying experience. Instead, they decided to throw it all away for a bucket of guts and two-dozen severed heads.
Right when the game started, the protagonist, Sebastian Castellano, was trapped in a room with this giant bad guy chopping people up. Slowly sneaking around, he escaped his binds and got out of the room of the room. There I had to stop for a second, because on the wall there were a dozen chainsaws on display. For no reason, just placed there in plain view. Funnily enough, a few seconds later a cutscene was triggered and the big bad-guy started chasing me with, you guessed it, a chainsaw.
That, in a nutshell, is The Evil Within's problem. It's a rollercoaster that only goes up, and it rarely manages to be genuinely tense. Sure, there are some scary instances, but for the most part, everything is so over-the-top it becomes silly.
That's not to say The Evil Within is bad. Quite the contrary, it's actually an entertaining experience game that happens to rely a lot on nostalgia (and barbed-wire), and features buckets of blood, guts, and mutilated enemies.
So, if you're looking for a horror game, the kind that gets to you even after you turn off the PC, then you're looking for a different game. However if you're looking for a trip down memory lane with Shinji Mikami's creations full of blood and gore, then there might be something for you.