A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Evil Within has extreme graphic violence, blood, and gore. Players can shoot, stab, and blow up creatures that are running around an abandoned hospital. Gamers will see beheadings, dismemberments, and disembowelments, along with large pools of blood and machines that rip people apart -- not to mention the horror element of being chased by ax-wielding enemies. There's also strong profanity ("f--k," "s--t," and more) throughout dialogue sequences and gameplay.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Conceived and developed by Shinji Mikami -- creator of the iconic Resident Evil series -- and the team at Tokyo's Tango Gameworks, THE EVIL WITHIN is a creepy, gory "survival horror" game about a young detective who investigates strange happenings in a psychiatric hospital. A distress call is sent to the police about a mass murder on the premises, and, sure enough, Det. Sebastian Castellanos finds dismembered corpses, bloodstained walls, and an evil presence still roaming through the corridors and rooms. Worst of all, he can't get out. Using limited weapons and the environment, gamers must stay alive long enough to evade (or attack) these hellish creatures and escape from the hospital. The third-person single-player game challenges players to figure out a way to escape, which isn't easy, as there are enemies, traps, and other obstacles at every turn.
Is it any good?
Despite a few random issues -- some long load times, a lead character with no personality whatsoever, and lip-syncing that doesn't match and breaks the suspension of disbelief (probably because the game was ported from the Japanese version, called Psycho Break) -- The Evil Within is a chilling, thrilling adventure. Fans of survival horror will appreciate this game's challenging scenarios, such as being chased by someone who wants to trap you in a cage, hiding in a locker as someone tears apart a room with a chainsaw, or sneaking past a butcher chopping up body parts. Ammo for your weapons is scarce, which adds to the tension. The high-resolution graphics, smart lighting techniques, and creepy atmosphere nicely add to the fright, even if many of the levels are linear in design.
Though it's not perfect, those who love survival horror games will be happy to know that The Evil Within was worth the wait; the genre is alive and well in this gory offering from Mikami-san. It's definitely something for mature gamers to play with the lights off and speakers cranked. But it's unquestionably not for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes The Evil Within scary. Is it the gore? The limited ammo? The fear of the unknown? The psychiatric hospital setting? Why is it sometimes fun to be scared?
Talk about video game violence. Why do you think it appeals to gamers? How can players make sure that behavior exhibited in video games doesn't roll over into real life?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: October 14, 2014
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
- Last updated: November 1, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.