Tune in again later this week for part 3 of this survival series. And if you missed our first feature, click here.
Being resourceful is the key to surviving The Evil Within
The sweetest rewards are the ones you have to fight for — and there’s no better example than in how you’ll navigate the battles that rage throughout The Evil Within. As Krimson City Police detective Sebastian Castellanos, exploring a nightmare world full of ghastly creatures isn’t as easy as simply cutting a quick swathe through the abominations that wander its bloodstained corridors and battlegrounds. Every encounter is a chance to outthink and outsmart your opponents, which requires knowing what you’ll be up against.
There’s a level of unpredictability to the variety of monsters you’ll face in The Evil Within, but the one thing you can count on is that you’ll always be scrambling for ammo and other resources. From bullets to all-important health-replenishing syringes and trap parts which can be used to craft different types of Agony Crossbow bolts on the fly, you’ll need them all to beat some of the game world’s toughest creatures, be they bosses or some of the more common — but no less deadly —threats.
Learning the attack patterns of your adversaries is crucial. For instance, when doing the dance with one of the more advanced Haunted types — to be specific, a hooded, human-like specter who sometimes summons a tracking attack that can decimate Sebastian in one hit — you’d be unwise to simply tackle it head on. Instead, your real secret weapon is to remain hidden; if you can get the jump on the creature before it spots you to pull off a lethal insta-stealth kill, you won’t have to dodge its ranged attacks or hugely damaging melee hits. If you’re detected, then you’ll have to take down the Haunted while evading its tracking attack that chases you with a flurry of grisly limbs and hands that sprout from the ground to kill you on the spot.
These Haunted are among the toughest in The Evil Within; just imagine fighting more than one of them at a time.
Stealth is only one weapon in your arsenal. For fights that leave you ducking and dodging waves of unseemly brutes in the open, you’ll have to be resourceful in how you use your inventory. For example, when you’re up against one of the bigger, more bloated Haunted, you have to play it smart. They’ll soak up way more damage than other enemies, and with ammo always in short supply, getting a clear headshot means the difference between having enough bullets to weather the remaining horde or going belly up quickly.
Increasing the effectiveness of headshots through upgrades or using a powered-up shotgun to do the job are two ways to better your chances in some battles, but learning to be more flexible and nimble on the battlefield is smarter. Out of ammo? Or maybe you’re down to just a handful of bullets in your sniper rifle, a gun that won’t do you any favors in a close-quarters battle? Then pray you have some matches or a one-use torch nearby — they’ll save your bacon if you can simply just down an enemy with a melee hit or one shot to the knees, then set them alight. Out of matches and no torches nearby? Then running is always an option. In The Evil Within, fleeing a battle unscathed may not always be possible, but sometimes it’s your only option, if only to catch your breath and hunt for nearby supplies or traps — a single scavenged bullet can make as big a difference as simply egging your pursuers on through a series of explosive tripwire traps.
A Rogue’s Gallery of Horrors
Bosses, on the other hand, are a whole different ballgame. As part of the variety of different encounters you’ll have with The Evil Within’s bestiary of creeps, showdowns with the game world’s more formidable adversaries often test your brawn and your brains. Case in point, a face-off against the especially spooky, long-haired, multi-limbed arachnid-like creature called Laura.
Deep in the bowels of an underground, maze-like boiler room, Laura awaits you. As one of the game’s unearthly adversaries that you’ll fight multiple times over the course of the game, she’s proven to be indestructible in past encounters — so simply outrunning her or defeating her outright aren’t options. Instead, you’ll have to be both observant and crafty in dealing with her in her various forms. In some instances, you may have to use specific objects in the environment against her — while in others, you just have to run.
In this particular confrontation in the boiler room, more astute players will have the upper hand in eluding Laura’s grasp. Are there any clues in the overhead pipes that you’re ducking through? What happens if you shoot one? The Evil Within won’t leave you high and dry, as everything you need to survive the encounter is at your disposal; you’ll just have to calm your nerves and take a minute to examine your surroundings. Granted, with a ghastly creature nipping at your heels, that’s probably easier said than done.
Sebastian’s encounter with Laura in the boiler room is honestly no joke — the fight will test your speed, dexterity, and smarts. Are you quick enough on your feet and at the trigger to keep her at bay?
Every boss beast has its own weaknesses and patterns that’ll ensure that you must use every resource you have on hand. Knowing which gun or explosive to use against an enemy’s different forms is hugely important, as well as being savvy with how to net more ammo when you’re down to your last bullet. [FYI: You’re always down to your last bullet in The Evil Within.] It’s good to also keep an eye out for where inventory drops may occur; in a particularly grueling showdown with one of the game’s more cunning chapter-capping monstrosities, extra ammo boxes will only appear once you exterminate the smaller creepy-crawlies that the boss spawns at certain points during the fight. Keeping your wits about you while avoiding harm makes this strategy much easier said than done, though.
Some encounters rely heavily on experimenting with your Agony Crossbow, as ammunition can be crafted for it on the fly. Having enough trap parts can mean the difference between slapping together a non-elemental harpoon-like bolt or being able to put together something more devastating, like a Freeze Bolt. Naturally, the more powerful the bolt-type, the more trap parts you’ll need to craft it, so a wise player constantly conserves resources like a frugal, coupon-clipping shopper.
School of Hard Knocks
Between boss fights and the often equally tough skirmishes with The Evil Within’s more common enemies, you’ll be conditioned to only use what you absolutely need in order to survive. Exploring every inch of a given area usually yields some useful treasures, but if you’re going to make it to the next chapter, you can’t be wasteful.
Sometimes sacrificing one shot from your handgun can yield more bullets if you know where and what to shoot
Depending on which difficulty setting you play on — there are four in all, with only two available when you start a new game — the challenge ramps up considerably. The first option, “Casual”, is no walk in the park, but the gap between Casual and “Survival” is quite a jump as the change also affects gameplay elements such as puzzles and default settings. Survival will definitely put you through the wringer, as features like the detection meter — which in Casual, automatically puts an “eye icon” on the HUD that displays whether enemies are aware of your presence — must be toggled on, and some puzzles are altogether absent in the lower difficulty setting. Figuring out which mode you want to tackle the game on will depend on how much you relish testing your mettle, but taking the tougher route isn’t without its rewards.
There’s no moment in The Evil Within without tension; with resources always at a premium, you’re forced to constantly make choices on the fly in battle. Will you opt to use stealth as much as possible to conserve ammo? Or will you pour your Green Gel upgrade points into powering up your weapons to ensure more damage and chances for critical hit headshots? Do you go for a quick melee to down foes in order to set them aflame with a match? Once you stumble into your first all-out fight, it’s likely you’ll want to answer “yes” to all the above.