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The Evil Within: The Consequence Review
The plot of The Evil Within comes to a head in The Consequence, which goes deep into the bowels of Juli Kidman’s own personal hell. Throughout the blood soaked halls riddled with groans of pain, you will find yourself backed into a corner and drenched within the narrative’s Technophobic ordeal that constantly loves to pull the carpet out from underneath you. Every aspect of The Evil Within becomes untangled in The Consequence. From the involvement of the evil corporation MOBIUS and the STEM Project, to the characters Sebastian, Juli, and Ruvik, The Consequence aims to tie up the loose ends of the overarching story and flesh out many of the questions that still remain unanswered from the plot. However, by the end of The Consequence I felt that some questions should have just been left unanswered, because this final story related piece of dlc manages to succumb to one of the worst Hollywood tropes known to mankind.
The entirety of The Evil Within is shrouded in mystery, and it’s what makes the player feel engaged with the characters and the world they live in. The deeper you go, the more desperate you become as your enemies become more precarious and volatile. This final chapter however just beats the story to death by showing you everything there is to be shown about the narrative. Expect a lot of back story, puzzles that will garner further knowledge about the plot, and more collectable audio tapes that expose Kidman’s purpose. It all just seems a bit too opened and closed personally. Mainly because the story of the Evil Within is one that is created from a world of mystery. The level design and narrative change almost every time you blink your eyelids while playing through Shinji Mikami’s nightmare. One minute you’re in a hallway, creeping along a poorly lit corridor, truly believing in your goals. Then an energy wave materializes, shifting your reality and suddenly you’re facing an unforeseen doorway while losing sense of who these characters really are. The story never really needed to be contained in the way that The Consequence tells it, because although the overarching plot of The Evil Within is extremely confusing, it gave the game its own personal flare. I really think that story telling that exposes everything in the final act and offers more questions to be unraveled in a potential sequel really leaves nothing to the imagination. This all makes the pacing of The Consequence feel rushed at times, and since we know that this is the final act then it must end here. It makes this second and final addition to the story feel less worthwhile than what was experienced in the main game, even when compared to the occurrences of The Assignment.
The Assignment, managed to introduce some profound stealth mechanics that made the survival experience that much more endearing. Gunplay is reintroduced this time around, and alongside the stealth gameplay, its addition makes The Consequence feel rather unbalanced. And at times, it can just be outright frustrating. After learning the mechanics of hiding from enemies, planning your escape route, and then calling out to them, this all goes completely out the window in favor of arming the player with a gun which makes quick work of enemies. There isn’t a cover fire option either so as soon as you aim your weapon, you leave cover revealing yourself. The experience itself is simply unrewarding as now you can easily blast your way through enemies you were cowering from only moments ago. The sheer terror of hiding and running is now overshadowed by aiming and shooting, and although it is a means to make Juli feel more powerful, it only showcases her true weaknesses.
One of the best experiences to be had in The Consequence is the bosses and mini bosses that sporadically appear and hunt you. These moments attempt to mesh together the action and stealth gameplay mechanics and they do a fairly good job at building a tense environment. However, these instances are few and far between. The Consequence will give you a gun for awhile and allow you to use it with enough bullets to do so, then it will take it away and have you going back to running and hiding. The pacing is really awkward and it can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Don’t get me wrong because I did enjoy blasting enemies with the sawed off shotgun. These moments are fun which call back to the Resident Evil 4 aspects of The Evil Within. But, my biggest concern with the shooting sections in The Consequence is that you never have to hide from enemies because the only ones that are thrown your way are easily dispatched with a few bullets. This slows the tension of The Consequence, especially so by giving the player ammunition every time you dispatch of a body. Furthermore, it stains the tension that has already been created by The Assignment indefinitely. These sections feel more like a shooting gallery rather than a true survivalesque experience that was lived in The Consequence’s predecessor. Explosive barrels are perfectly placed so that you can quickly take down several enemies, and rooms with sole entryways are readily available so that you can back yourself into them and take potshots from a safe distance without ever fearing for what’s behind you.
There are a few interesting items that are granted to the player like the Chemical Lights that must be thrown to activate. The limited visual ability does a fine job at creating a horror experience like none other; however it is taken away far before its shelf life expires.
There are several sections in The Consequence that will have you running through empty hallways to explore the back stories of Sebastian, Kidman, Ruvik, and Leslie. And.. It just makes for an un-fun time. Not only aren’t there any enemies to discard of during these sections, but there still is nothing to interact with besides doors and a few soundtrack collectables that you will find lying around. One part of The Consequence will have you actually sneaking around a room lighting pictures of Ruvik on fire, which is just tedious. The world still heavily feels like a hands-off experience similar to The Assignment, yet The Assignment was completely terrifying by throwing you into a world that felt inescapable with new gameplay mechanics. The Consequence holds “the end” over your head far too much, and if you have beaten the main game, then you already have an idea of how this story ends.
Kurayami mode returns, described as “STEM in complete darkness”, and can be played right after you complete the main scenario in a New Game Plus mode. It adds quite a bit of anxiety to The Consequence’s context as you are playing completely in the dark. And it’s in Kurayami mode where the Chemical Lights can really make your approach more difficult and truly unsettling. I just wish that The Consequence had more new additions like these rather than falling back on experiences that have already been lived in the Survival Horror genre. The enemies are also harder to detect in Kurayami mode because the direction of their cries become scattered due to your limited senses in the dark.
Is The Consequence worth $10? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it is, only if you absolutely feel that you need some sort of conclusion to the story of The Evil Within. It’s not really fun enough as a standalone entry, and it certainly isn’t if you haven’t played the main game. The Consequence also expects you to have already invested some time into The Assignment since it takes place directly after it. Personally I could have done without the long hallways barren of enemies in lieu of a back story and the shooting gallery instances that attempt to recall previously lived experiences in horror games. This is all because The Consequence really doesn’t add anything new to the survival horror genre as The Assignment did, and it’s main purpose is to simply mark the end for The Evil Within. The Consequence feels safer in the sense that survival horror is best experienced with bullets.