Developed by Tango Gameworks, whose founder Shinji Mikami created the Resident Evil series, The Evil Within is an action horror title that greatly benefits from its brutal pedigree. Please note: unlike a lot of the family-friendly fare found on Coin-Op.TV, The Evil Within is rated M for Mature and quite violent, so younger gamers should definitely steer clear. Yes, I’m talking to you.

Like the first time I played the original Resident Evil on PlayStation, I wanted to make sure that my environment was juuust right to get the full experience from The Evil Within, so I shut off all my lights and turned the volume on my television ever so high enough for the creepy ambient sounds to make the hairs on my arm stand on end. It didn’t take long for me to feel the effects of these immersive measures, as I was cringing in disgust and shouting expletives at the screen within minutes of loading up the game… and I loved it.

As Detective Sebastian Castellanos, players are tasked with investigating a grotesque mass murder at a mental institution that has left those within slain. It is during this investigation that Castellanos and his colleagues Oda and Kidman (voiced by Jennifer Carpenter, famous for her role as Debra Morgan on the Showtime series Dexter) are introduced to the supernatural powers of the mysterious Ruvik (Jackie Earl Haley, Watchmen’s Rorschach and Freddy Krueger in the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street remake). Things go from bloody to freaky in a flash as Castellanos finds himself scraping for survival while trying to solve the mystery behind Ruvik.

If you’ve played survival horror games before, then you’ve got an inkling of what you’re in for. While there are a multitude of weapons in The Evil Within, from your standard pistol and knife to the Agony Crossbow with its various elemental bolts, offensive items are quite scarce. You may find that sneaking around or causing distractions by throwing bottles and such is easier than facing an enemy head-on. Chances are you’re right, as even the most insignificant of enemies is capable of choking the life out of you and recreating that infamous scene from American History X.

Castellanos can survive the world around him somewhat if you spend a little time leveling up his abilities, including stamina, gun damage, and the health he can regain from injecting syringes, though there’s still no known cure for a blade in the spine. Heck, even Professor Frink was only able to cure fifteen of the seventeen stab wounds in Mr. Burns’ back before hitting the wall.

I’d rather not go into more detail about the story surrounding The Evil Within, as it is lynchpin that holds the game together. Whether running away from the undead through a dark forest or carefully disarming traps instead of getting sliced in blown in half by them in a claustrophobia-inducing cave system, this release is all about taking in the atmosphere before it takes you out first. Fans of the horror genre will definitely want to pick up The Evil Within… and leave their night light on.

The Evil Within is now available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Steam.

The Evil Within Official Trailer