The Evil Within – The Assignment (DLC) – PS3
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Survival Horror
Nerd Rating: 4.5/10
Reviewed By: Steroid Gamer
The Assignment is the first of three DLC packs for The Evil Within, and the first of the two part story following Julie Kidman. If you’ve played the main game then you recall Detective Kidman as a supporting character whose motives were “fishy” to say the least. Well, both The Assignment and, separate DLC chapter, The Consequence are meant to shed some light on what the hell Kidman was doing throughout The Evil Within opposite of protagonist Sebastian Castellenos’ activities.
There’s really no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come out with it. The Assignment isn’t very good. There are several reasons for this, but none more notably than the gameplay or lack thereof. Aside from visiting a majority of the same locations from the main game, facing similar enemies, and the general knowledge that you are playing a game in the same universe, The Assignment feels like an entirely different game more so than an add on. The Assignment is an entirely 100% stealth based game. In fact, there isn’t really any true “combat” to speak of, at least not when you consider all the zombie shooting and monster decimation that Sebastian got to do in The Evil Within.
The Assignment plays a lot different as a result of its stealth based approach. Enemies are extremely tough and most of them will one-hit kill Kidman, and even the weakest of enemies from the main game can kill her with two little arm smacks. There are no medkits but Kidman can replenish her life gauge if you keep her idle, but doing so is a risky gamble. Whenever you find yourself low on health it’s going to be because you crossed paths with some decrepit creature and injured yourself in the process. With no guns or melee weapons you’re constantly forced to flee rather than fight when an enemy spots you. (Kidman can equip an axe, but can only use it on enemies she sneaks up on).
Don’t think of The Assignment’s stealth to be similar to that of other famous stealth games like Hitman or Splinter Cell. In those games stealth is encouraged sure, but Agent 47 and Sam Fisher have more than one way to dispose of “baddies” if you happen to get caught. Kidman is not so fortunate. Most gameplay segments consist of you entering an area, not knowing where to go or what to do, having an enemy spot you, and then trying to run away only finding yourself to be trapped because you had no idea what to do in the first place. The result is a very aggravating cycle of trial and error. Each area is like a big stealth based puzzle where nine times out of ten getting caught once results in a game over.
It’s not all entirely bad though. The one-hit kill atmosphere creates an extreme amount of tension and causes your sweat glands to work overtime. I valued Kidman’s life very much because I knew how precious it was. Unlike Sebastian, I had no weapons to go “guns-a-blazing” when I spotted an enemy. I had to play smart, careful, and sneaky. One highlighted moment was walking into one room and using the phone to call another phone in an adjacent room across the hallway. The zombie like foe standing in my way was lured by the phone’s chime and as soon as he walked in the room I shut the door behind him and locked him in. There are a few moments like this in The Assignment where my wits were tested and coming out victorious was more than thrilling. The only problem is my success was superseded by an insurmountable amount of failure.
The basic premise behind the DLC is that Kidman is trying to chase down Leslie and bring him to safety. The Assignment is part one of Kidman’s story and having already played part two, (The Consequence) at time of this review, I can say that Kidman’s story really suffers by being split into two parts. The first 30 minutes of The Assignment is all walking. In fact, The Assignment places far too much emphasis on story and lacks a good balance of gameplay. The brief 2-3 hour DLC has a very repetitive pattern of walking, walking some more, story sequence, gameplay, walk, walk some more, story, walk even more, keep walking, and a tiny bit of gameplay. The later third of this particular DLC does pick up in the gameplay department, it just sucks that it is so boring and takes so long to get there.
The Assignment has two bosses, one of which is a lame easy encounter and the other that is too hard and unfair. The game has great tension, but that tension is only caused by frustration from knowing that any slight misstep will cause a game over. One of The Evil Within’s scariest and deadliest enemies makes a surprise appearance which was great. However, Kidman proves to be a very weak protagonist and the stealth gameplay makes The Assignment feel like it doesn’t fit with the main game. Sometimes it’s just fun to shoot some dudes, you know? Often times a game’s strengths will hide or help overcome its weaknesses. Kidman’s story has a majority of its weaknesses in the first half and most of its strengths come in part two, The Consequence. Since publisher Bethesda decided to break up Kidman’s journey into two parts you get a game that’s full of hiccups and tedium and has nothing to cover them up with.
If you need to get caught up on the main game be sure to click here for a review.
Looking for a review of part two The Consequence? I’ve got you covered.
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