Landing last year amidst a moderate amount of hype, The Evil Within billed itself as survival horror returning to its roots.
As it turned out, that was a slight exagerration. While much-heralded as the return of genre daddy Shinji Mikami (he of Resident Evil fame) to the genre he helped to create and popularize, The Evil Within contained just as much over-the-top absurdity as it did genuine scares, all wrapped up in familiar horror tropes that saw you traipsing through a haunted asylum, a creepy village in the woods, and other familiar horror locations that have featured in countless other books, films and games over the years. We’re talking Zombies wielding automatic weapons and driving articulated lorries levels of absurd.
Despite this though, The Evil Within contained contained just enough atmosphere and genuine moments of tension and fright to make it worthy of a purchase, with plenty of inventive monster designs and traps throwing a few new wrinkles onto the well-worn gameplay blanket. Developer Tango Gameworks has gradually been adding to the game over the past 9 months with a trio of DLC chapters, designed to flesh out what happens to certain characters in the story in between the occasions you met them in the main game. Now, the third and final of these chapters – The Executioner – is available to download on all platforms as of today.
While the first two slices of post-release content focused on expanding on the base game’s story, The Executioner DLC takes the form of an arena mode, of sorts. In it, you’ll start off with The Keeper’s hammer to defend yourself before upgrading your arsenal to more lethal proportions and earn upgrades. It’s set in the Victoriano Estate, but amidst all the combat the DLC still finds time to indulge in a light spot of exploration. Arena modes have been starting to feel like a quick route to making an easy buck for a while now, being shoehorned into to pretty much anything you care to mention as post-release DLC that saves a bit of money by re-using familiar assets and environments without the need to record a whole load of new story dialogue; but there’s no denying that when done right, they can still be a hell of a lot of fun.
You can purchase The Executioner DLC for the standalone price of $4.99/ £3.99, or as part of the game’s season pass, which costs $19.99/ £14.99 and also unlocks the previous two DLC episodes. It’s available as of today on all platforms, so that’s PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Yours truly reviewed The Evil Within upon its release last year, finding it to be a tense – if downright silly and sometimes inconsistent – outing. Perhaps all that silliness is fitting, given the game’s director. Resident Evil (the original) is the game which spawned a thousand memes after all, thanks to its so-bad-its-good dialogue that makes Sharknado look like Oscar material.
“The Evil Within isn’t likely to be regarded as a classic of the genre. Many of its gameplay beats are overly familiar, technically it’s rough enough around the edges, and some will find themselves frustrated by its quirks,” I wrote in my The Evil Within review. “But it has plenty of atmosphere, and just enough in the way of new ideas that it doesn’t feel completely as though you’re re-treading old ground. It’s a decent addition to the horror pantheon, in other words – and as a way for the famed director to dip his toes back into the blood, it’s not a bad warming-up exercise.”
Check out the launch trailer for The Executioner below, but be warned that it’s most definitely NSFW.