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It's not often that games these days punish the player for making a bad, wrong, ill-thought out or poorly planned decision. If you mess up in most of today's AAA games... you're fine. There are plenty of hand-holding techniques to ensure that games are readily accessible and easily conquerable by those with barely any finger-gymnastic abilities and a lack for controller affability. Most gamers know this as making games “broadly appealing”. Well, Shinji Mikami's upcoming third-person horror-survival title is doing away with some of the hand-holding and going more-so for the whole “punish the player” tactic that made gaming so much fun in the yesteryears of the industry.
It's funny that games like Dark Souls have basically made a claim to fame of bringing back NES-level difficulty. It's not really that Dark Souls has a deeply different or unique mechanical base from many other fantasy-medieval titles out there, it's just that there isn't a checkpoint every two minutes and the common enemies actually provide some means of a challenge instead of being background objects with a meager life-bar.
The Evil Within has, so far, been promoted as a similar kind of experience to From Software's Dark Souls. Every enemy can pose a threat if you're not careful and every encounter could be your last if you don't properly plan out how to attack and when to run.
This isn't to say that developer Tango Gameworks is reworking the wheel here. The game looks to be a throwback to Resident Evil 4 (or at least the first two play-throughs on the normal difficulty setting where you were struggling and having a hard time trying to get through some segments).
We see that ammo is limited and that protagonist Sebastian doesn't always have the best aim. We see that headshots usually get the job done but aren't always guaranteed. Add into this the frantic pace, the multiple enemies and the fact that some of these enemies don't stay dead and you have yourself a perfect cocktail of tension.
I do wonder about the game's replay values, though. It doesn't appear to have a lot of random emergent moments where you could play the game in different ways like Phantasmal (although I could be wrong and there might be a special mode hidden away in there beyond the story mode).
The game will have additional story missions in the form of DLC, broken down into multiple parts to keep the adventure going. So there's that.
You can look for The Evil Within to launch on October 14th for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and PC. Given that the game is cross-generational it's one of those games where the experience itself will mostly have to rely on engagement via mechanics rather than any new-gen features such as physics, dynamic and procedural A.I., or expansive map designs.
You can learn more about The Evil Within by paying a visit to the official website.