- + Barely any weapons, with just a light to guide my way
- + New enemies present new terror
- - Still no option to remove 16:9 aspect ratio
I often find that if you want to make a game scary, you should remove any weapons and make the player more vulnerable. In The Evil Within’s DLC that’s exactly what happens, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the results.
Looking back on my time reviewing the main game, I don’t remember having as many scares compared to what I experienced here. Maybe it’s because it was presented over a longer duration, but as The Assignment is delivered in a short block of content (about 2 hours worth of gameplay), the ability to concentrate all the focus on slow, vulnerable progression has worked brilliantly.
Pitting you as detective Julie Kidman, this first piece of content fills in the gaps of her absence during the main campaign. It was nice to experience what was happening whilst her partners Sebastian and Joseph went their own direction. At certain times I’d cross paths with them, only to vanish once again and deal with my own problems.
For pretty much the entirety of my time as Julie, I was unarmed and only had a flashlight to guide my way. Upon completion I even had the ability to replay the game with all extra light sources turned off, except what lay in my hand. Want to go hardcore? Try that mode. After experiencing Sebastian’s journey with a large supply of weapons, having all my toys taken away felt like a better move. I was screwed if I tried facing an enemy, but at certain moments I could utilise an axe for one-time use if I was careful. I won’t go into spoilers for the story, though with Julie’s whereabouts largely unknown for the entire game, there’s plenty of twists and turns to wade through.
If you’re afraid of recycled enemies there’s nothing to worry about. The art team have done a good job of conjuring up a few more monsters to keep you having nightmares. My favourite would be one that has a light on it’s head, and it’s movement reminded me a lot of the nurses from Silent Hill. My lack of anything to fight with left me constantly on my toes, and anything that made noise had me curl into a ball of fear.
Distraction played a big part anytime I met an enemy, and if I didn’t have a bottle to hand or an environmental object to turn on, I had to resort to shouting to get its attention. It provided quite a twist having to make my presence known in such a manner, and I was often hesitant to continue.
I feel as though The Assignment showcases the heart and soul of what the game should really be about. Forget giving me lots of weapons to take down opponents; hand me a torch and I’m much happier. With the second part due around the end of April, I look forward to finishing of Julie Kidman’s story and seeing how things wrap up.
I had a great time with The Assignment and suggest that if you own The Evil Within, you should download it straight away and prepare for a heap of scares. Don’t forget to wear headphones for ultimate immersion, as you’ll see they ramp up the tension in the video below.