Resident Evil 4 is a game about Leon Kennedy traveling to a remote village in order to kill zombies and expose an evil plot to save the world.
… Wait a minute, we aren’t spoiling Resident Evil 4 .
… Well, what are we spoiling?
… The Evil Within ?
… I don’t know man this looks an awful lot like Resident Evil 4 . I mean look there Leon right there! He has the gun and the over the shoulder aiming and everything!
… That’s not Leon? That Sebastian Castellanos? Well that’s the difference?
… He’s Hispanic? First of all he sure as hell doesn’t sound Hispanic and second of all that’s racist.
Fine! Fine! Let me just tweak this Resident Evil 4 summary, splice in some Silent Hill . There, we should be OK.
So, let’s try this again.
Resident Evil 4 The Evil Within is a game about Leon Kennedy Sebastian Castellanos, a gruff looking but oddly pretty detective called in to investigate the president’s missing daughter a murder at a mental institution.
Then zombies attack. No I’m not going to cross that one out, I don’t care if these guys are weird and bizarre mental apparitions with razor wire wrapped around their head–they groan, you shoot them, and they don’t die unless you shoot them in the head or burn them. They are zombies.
In the first ten minutes of the game, Sebastian meets a bizarre combination of Frankenstein and an Assassin from Assassin’s Creed named Ruvik. Ruvik makes the camera all staticky for a bit, and then Sebastian finds himself running from a huge burly dude with a bag over his head wielding a chainsaw…
… are we SURE this game isn’t Resident Evil 4 ?
Sebastian falls down a gore slip and slide, battles his way through a basement made up of confusing grey-brown hallways and hospital equipment, and eventually makes his way out of this hospital to find that the world is being destroyed, and his friends are turning into monsters. We meet Leslie, an albino Macaulay Culkin–the adult Macaulay Culkin not the charming kid Macaulay Culkin–who can see the future or control reality or something, and basically nothing makes sense. Then he falls off a cliff in an ambulance and wakes up in another unrelated mental institution.
It’s around this time that any gamer with two brain cells goes, “Ooooooh I get it. It’s all in his head.”
And if the point of the game was to make you feel like you were stuck in a schizophrenic’s mind then it did a good job, as you are routinely shuffled to a village, and an old doctor’s office, and a mansion, and a sewer, and another mental hospital, and a government facility…
Just checking, still not Resident Evil 4 right?
Well to be fair, these locations certainly set themselves apart from Resident Evil 4 , because while Resident Evil 4 brought you to a variety of interesting locations and environments, every location in The Evil Within looks like someone projectile vomited blood all over the same disorganized doctor’s office.
For a long time you have no idea what’s going on. The only thing that’s clear is that you are in some gore filled location, the “totally not zombies” want to kill you, and you want to get out of that location by any means necessary.
It’s only after you get close to the end that you realize what’s actually going on. Ruvik, our antagonist dujour, had a pretty screwed up childhood. A backwards village burned his sister alive and gravely injured him. So he gets angry and does what pretty much anyone does after losing a family member: starts studying neuro biology. He begins making plans to create a machine that does… something… and he need to link his mind to… someone… for… some reason. It’s not like the game actually explains this. But then an evil doctor stabs him in the back for an equally unexplained reason, removes his brain, hooks him up to the machine, has a brain in a vat, and I get the feeling that this is around the time where Shinji Mikami went off his meds.
Long story short, brain in a vat Ruvik wants to download his consciousness into another person so he can leave his mental world. Unfortunately, linking his brain to anyone basically turns that person’s brain to Jello. Luckily enough, albino Macaulay Culkin doesn’t have much of a brain left, so he is a perfect candidate.
When you were called to inspect the murder, the secret organization doing all these experiments managed to knock you unconscious and hook you up into the brain machine–through some off screen not discussed method–and you have been trapped in a mental landscape ever since. It’s your job to prevent Ruvik from getting to our albino friend and escaping into the real world. You want to save the kid, but your sexy female rookie partner turned double agent for a shady organization (seriously guys… that’s just Ada Wong again… whatever) attempts to betray you.
But in the end you prevail and manage to… not stop Ruvik from finding Leslie at all actually. This causes him to transform into a giant multi limbed tentacle insect monster which you then have to kill with a rocket launcher.
Seriously guys? You aren’t even trying anymore.
Anyway, when the battle is finished you wake up, unhook yourself from the brain machine, and walk out of the building to SWAT Team members who really should have gotten there and shut of the machine several hours ago. Your tax dollars at work people!
So in essence, The Evil Within is a story about a weird, gory, horror fest that was actually all just a dream and nothing in the game really happened in real life.
NOOOOPE! I’m sorry, you don’t get to use the “it was all a dream” trope unless you are Freddy Krueger. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a nap and dream about playing Resident Evil 4 .