The Evil Within has some engine problems with frame rate and other small graphics issues. Some gamers don't like the letterbox-style "black bars," which were presumably put in to restrict view and make the game more cinematic.
Super Gamer Dude
The Evil Within is a tour de force of horror and a love letter to the genre its creator gave birth to almost 20 years ago. It expertly twists and turns through the dark corridors of a mind set loose. A symphony of gore and violence, its surprise terrors will first creep, then roar from climax to climax.
This survival horror action game sees you play as Sebastian, a detective en route to a mental hospital after a distress call. As hell breaks free from its constraints, thus begins a riveting adventure that proceeds through twisted psychic landscapes. It would be remiss to give away more, other than that you are often chasing or are chased by a mysterious scarred figure in a white cloak. The loose story sometimes resembles more the classic creepy stories of 19th century horror writers who used unease and peculiarities to set the mind awry, and sometimes it is closer to the slasher movies of the last few decades with harrowing set pieces of intense and macabre action. With a tempo that modulates these tendencies expertly, you'll not likely get bored of any one specific area before you're thrust into a new situation.
As you twist through the different stages of the adventure, you'll be playing in a format familiar to one of the director's previous works, Resident Evil 4. A camera sits comfortably behind our hero's back and he has various melee and firearm techniques to tactically dispose of his varied enemies, who each require different strategies to handle. Unlike the current paradigm of endless action though, the metronomic difficulty of The Evil Within relies more on quiet moments of desperation when you realize you just don't have enough juice to survive Rambo-style, and must forage for a way to get through with limited supplies.
In many ways, Evil Within plays more like a spiritual sequel to the early Resident Evil titles, with noble and useful new play ideas scattered throughout. Matches can burn enemies to prevent them from getting up. Preciously useful crossbow bolts can be manufactured from disarmed traps that may also kill you if you're not careful. Being vigilant and searching everywhere nets you gel that can be used to upgrade the power of certain weapons, health, speed and a great deal of other unique stats. (The otherworldly, not quite real hospital you do this in is a great touch. For people who remember the PSX Resident Evil titles, it's quite possibly the best "save room" ever, and simply must be experienced.)
Amidst this backdrop, the game neatly intertwines a variety of different elements to keep the stimulation fresh and exciting. Excellently designed boss battles are nearly all fresh and harrowing. Small sections of co-op play bloom when one of Sebastian's partners are encountered. Nods to classic story-telling techniques appear periodically in the form of enemy-less exploration netting exposition in text and audio logs. Tiny bits of Tomb Raider-like trap evasion or light puzzle-solving also contribute to the horror spectrum of experiences.
More than anything however, the myriad ways a player can power up Sebastian to power him through his horrific experiences, and the games' excellent enemy design combine to make a superbly re-playable game. On the default difficulty, it's likely death will become you quite frequently, but it isn't frustrating, due to fair segmenting between discrete level-like chapters and fairly spaced checkpoints. You can't simply barge through, but upon winning newer difficulties unlock that thoroughly prove how strong and deep the action engine is. There can be a lot of room for play here: dallying in tactics makes for horrific scenarios unique to each session, though the content itself doesn't change.
The Evil Within has some engine problems with frame rate and other small graphics issues. Some gamers don't like the letterbox-style "black bars," which were presumably put in to restrict view and make the game more cinematic. These concerns can be alleviated by switching options or purchasing the PC version, which will keep frame rate problems away on strong computers. PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are not recommended.
Otherwise, the game is a near flawless representation of the world of horror video game mechanics taken to their finest extreme.