The idea of being locked away in an insane asylum has always put me on edge. If I was alive years ago with all the issues I have, depression, anxiety, etc., I would have been locked away and treated with shock therapy. Or worse.
I recently started playing The Evil Within for the first time, after having it sit on my shelf for at least 6-7 months. I was putting off playing it because I have heard some pretty gnarly things about it. While playing it, I find myself reminded of Resident Evil 4 and 5 and less afraid than I expected. Most scary moments are the ones not filled with the zombie-like creatures, the guys wielding chainsaws, but rather the lack of enemies. And sanity.
The main menu takes full advantage of the despair of being locked away in a cell while the building emanates a sense of insanity. The footsteps and a shadow passing by the door set you on edge and starts making your mind race. Use of the in-game camera on a start screen also adds to the terror you experience.
A simple idea, taking the horror of an old school sanitorium plagued with mangled corpses and visions of people driven mad by the game’s antagonist. While I have only played 3 hours, I already get the sense of what the game is truly about. It is sad to say that I am not afraid of the ‘scariest’ of monsters I’ve come across, even a demon like woman with giant claw hands chasing you down a hallway. I mean I stubbornly attacked this woman even after dying a few times, until I finally blew her up. I wasn’t scared by her presence beside the initial climbing out of the floor.
It has only been the empty rooms, the distorted imagery, and the odd voice or laughter that sent any chills down my spine. While the asylum isn’t the only location, it tends to loop back to that type of setting, it continues to unnerve me. I guess being of the mind that mental illness was treated so harshly and the extent of other’s illnesses are far beyond what I could comprehend. Media like this gives me a sense of what it could be, how much worse I could have it or could be treated.
The Evil Within does a great job at creating that feeling of insanity, powerful enough to shake some people to the core. While the game isn’t scary any other way, so far, but it does so much with so little and just one setting. I’ll see if that changes here in the near future when I finally finish the game.