Horror Purists Unhappy With The Evil Within Reviews

Most hardcore survival/horror purists love the game, and can't understand certain reviews.

Most hardcore survival/horror purists love the game, and can’t understand certain reviews.

Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between critics and gamers. This usually happens with a niche title, one that will only appeal to a certain demographic or audience. That’s why you’ll often see die-hard fans of Japanese RPGs lambasting professional reviews for simply not understanding that increasingly niche genre.

Perhaps we’re seeing something similar with the latest survival/horror release, The Evil Within. Created by Resident Evil guru Shinji Mikami and his team at Tango Gameworks, this creepy, challenging adventure has satisfied a great many horror purists. They love the inherent difficulty and don’t really mind the lack of polished mechanics. They focus on the good; the thrills and chills, the amazingly effective atmosphere, the pure survival elements, etc.

However, with a Metacritic score of only 76 (the Xbox One version inexplicably has an 83) and scores as low as 5 and 6, there are a lot of annoyed horror aficionados out there. And if you ask them, they all say basically the same thing: The critics who scored the game so low just don’t understand what we want, and what – to us – makes for a great survival/horror experience. Perhaps there’s a kernel of truth to that.

If you don't understand the target audience, you might issue a review that fans really hate.

If you don’t understand the target audience, you might issue a review that fans really hate.

On the other hand, should critics completely ignore a game’s obvious failings and drawbacks? It’s clear to many that The Evil Within lacks a certain refinement in the control and combat categories that we typically associate with high-profile third-person games.  And as this directly impacts the gameplay, is it really unfair to focus so strongly on such flaws? And when the fans accuse critics of “whining” because the game is too hard, isn’t there a difference between a stiff challenge and unfair, frustrating difficulty?

In the end, maybe it doesn’t matter. The fans in question know what they like and they also know that, chances are, Mikami and Co. are going to deliver. Therefore, these followers probably won’t put as much stock in review scores. On top of which, The Evil Within isn’t exactly a mainstream game designed for casual participators of the hobby. No, it’s full-on hardcore and those who will love it do their research. As such, they don’t rely on scores quite as heavily.

Lastly, it may behoove critics to acknowledge and understand the targeted demographic for any given game. In our estimation, you don’t write all reviews exactly the same way; there are a lot of factors to consider. If you consider those factors before evaluating, you’ll probably end up with an analysis that will be appreciated rather than ridiculed.

4 thoughts on “Horror Purists Unhappy With The Evil Within Reviews”

They’re unhappy because the critics didn’t handle this one correctly.

They wanted something different than a horror game, it seems. Either that, or they just harped too much on the technical stuff.

I don’t agree at all.

The Evil Within just isn’t polished enough to be considered an elite game. Horror fans can like it all they want; doesn’t stop the game from having significant issues that critics aren’t allowed to ignore.

It could just be that the game isn’t that good. Why over-analyze it? 😉

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