Making your way through The Evil Within is no walk in the park. In order to survive, it’s important to learn how the game’s systems can play in your favor. Taking advantage of resources, managing ammo, and simply knowing when it’s time to run away can help stave off death for a moment longer.
Get a 101 lesson on survival in the video above, and then delve into our spoiler-free article feature below from guest Bethesda Blog editor Fran Reyes. In the article, Reyes outlines some of the survival strategies that helped her play through the full game. Study up to be prepared for October 14th.
Take it away, Fran!
How you’ll defend yourself from The Evil Within’s nightmare creatures
Poor Sebastian Castellanos. As a detective in the Krimson City Police Department, he’s never encountered anything as horrific or gruesome as the case he’s working on in The Evil Within. After an emergency call from a dispatcher asks him and his small team to check out a multiple homicide at the city’s mental hospital, things quickly go from strange to terrifying, with little explanation as to the hows or whys. Thankfully, Sebastian’s never left completely defenseless.
How you weather the storm that The Evil Within conjures — first rule: don’t count on much downtime — depends on how you’ll use the cache of weapons and items at your disposal. From the standard-issue handgun Sebastian has holstered during his initial investigation to the more advanced weaponry he stumbles across, as well as the skills and abilities you’ll slowly upgrade and master — there’s a lot of stuff to juggle if you’re going to survive The Evil Within.
Matches, Torches, and Brains in Jars
Combat isn’t simply a run-’n-gun affair; instead, you’ll often have to multi-task after dispatching a creature by setting it on fire with a match to keep it, well, dead. The game cleverly reminds you that a single match can go a long way if you’re able to down multiple enemies and simply set the pile aflame in one go. It’s wise advice, as well, since matches — along with the rest of the items in The Evil Within — are always in short supply.
In other encounters with otherworldly threats, you’ll be able to snag one-use items off corpses that’ll aid you in combat — as an example, axes and torches guarantee insta-kills if wielded correctly, but they don’t last beyond that one instance and can’t be upgraded or shuffled to an inventory slot for later use. But what a difference they can make in a fight when you’re facing off against more enemies than you have bullets for.
Be it with a torch, a lit puddle of gasoline, or a match from your inventory, setting enemies on fire means they won’t be getting back up after you’ve laid waste to them. Granted, you won’t always need to use a match to make enemies stay dead, but until you can tell the difference, best to just make sure.
Matches and other one-use items can only take you so far against the dangers in The Evil Within, though; firearms are, of course, the most practical defense and offense, but how you fight the terrors in the game relies heavily on how you fortify each. This includes upgrades and managing the “Green Gel” — gathered throughout your play in varying amounts from rather macabre-seeming jars containing human brains swimming in green-colored fluid. This sinister in-game currency comes into play when you take trips to the “other side of the mirror,” a hub that you’ll revisit throughout your journey that looks a lot like an asylum reception area attended by a nurse who knows more than she’s letting on. Here is where you’ll perform self-experiments in order to upgrade everything from your personal skills — such as stamina, which allows you sprint to evade danger, and your health meter — to managing your weapon cache.
If you hear the pleasant strains of “Claire de Lune” playing, you know one of these mirrors is nearby. Once activated, they’ll lead you to the relative safety of the game’s hub world.
Guns like your revolver and shotgun — Sebastian’s most trusty pair of firearms, among other weapons that range from standard to super-secret — can be honed into increasingly more lethal death-dealers. Throughout each of the game’s tough stages, you may be tempted to throw upgrade points into your more powerful weapons in order to craft ridiculously surefire solutions to progressively more demanding combat scenarios. But gauging from the amount of ammo available, it’s wise to do so with caution. In most cases, concentrating on your handgun and shotgun’s capabilities — ammo capacity, damage dealt, and accuracy, among an almost overwhelming amount of other tweak-able stats — isn’t just practical, but it’s also smart. After all, when you’re facing down seemingly endless waves of non-boss enemies (which The Evil Within dubs “The Haunted,” of which there are literally dozens of different types), the last thing you want to do is use up all the ammo for your more advanced weapons, when a nicely powered-up handgun can do the headshot-dealing trick. Trust us, save as many of the Agony Crossbow’s bolts for the bosses and nastier threats — you’ll thank us later.
Sebastian’s multi-purpose bolt-slinging Agony Crossbow stands as one of the game’s most flexible weapons and introduces a neat wrinkle in how you’ll manage your time and ammo. Throughout The Evil Within, armed traps play a huge role in how you’ll approach each new area you encounter. Everything from bear traps to landmines to timed wall-bombs — and this doesn’t even touch on the hugely lethal shock- and acid-traps — can change the course of nearly every fight you find yourself in, for different reasons. Employing a tense risk-vs.-reward opportunity, every bolt is made up of various parts, which can be collected from dismantled traps, but doing so takes time. So, with a group of growling, bloodthirsty creatures lurking in a darkened room, do you dare take the time to creep toward a landmine in order to harvest much-needed parts to craft an explosive bolt? Or do you risk storming into a new space on the off-chance that it isn’t littered with expertly placed wall-bombs that you may or may not be able to disarm in time before they detonate? How important is gathering parts for bolts in the face of simply surviving to reach the next area?
Using an Explosive Bolt from your Agony Crossbow can deal devastating damage…or, when not fired at an enemy, can lay an equally lethal motion-triggered trap. Though, be careful not to let an enemy with an Explosive Bolt stuck to them get to near to you, you might just end up in pieces…
The reward side of crafting bolts is simply having more ways to protect yourself from the ever-encroaching waves of nightmares that populate The Evil Within. The Agony Crossbow is important in that it can hold several different types of bolts, as well — the explosive bolts can serve a very different purpose than, say, the flash or shock bolts, in a given battle. Like they say, the more the merrier, at least when it comes to having enough parts to create bolts; your own strategy for how to rationalize whether to dismantle a trap for parts or simply shoot it to detonate it and move on will vary depending on the given situation.
It’s wise to note, as well, that making your own ammo is only an option for the Agony Crossbow; all other firearms require bullets that are collected in the environment. That’s right; you won’t find a single store or wandering merchant anywhere in the shifting realities of The Evil Within. As daunting as that sounds — and it’s downright daunting in actual practice, as well — more meticulous players can find other ways to boost their ammo counts, with a little help from Goddess Statues.
Eagle-eyed sharpshooters may spot these small white figurines positioned around new areas. Do yourself a favor and destroy them by melee or — though it’s tough to recommend wasting even a single bullet on them —gunshot in order to reap a special Locker Key hidden inside. That key then gives you access to a finite stash of ammo or Green Gel in a specific spot within the hospital “mirror-world” hub. In other words, sometimes the difference between success and “game over” is keeping an eye out for those slyly placed Goddess Statues.
Goddess Statues are sometimes out in the open, but often they’re squirreled away in increasingly tough-to-spot hidey-holes. They’re worth hunting down for the perks, though.
Still, there are also other mysteries afoot among the many in-game collectible items and special rewards, but perhaps those are best left for the souls brave enough to find them all. There’s a lot going on in The Evil Within, from the way you’ll manage your ammo to what you’ll choose to upgrade or spend your Green Gel on. While there’s room for experimentation in refining your personal strategy, it’s essential to go in with both eyes open, and a weapon always at the ready. After all, you never really know what lurks just around the corner.