OCC E3 2013 AwardsClayMeow -
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Best Survival Horror Game
Winner: The Evil Within (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO)
The survival horror genre has lessened of late, with previously big names falling further into the shooter department and relying on some rather "saw it coming from a mile away" scares. However, The Evil Within is looking to change all that thanks to Shinji Mikami and his team at Tango Gameworks. Mikami is the creator of the Resident Evil series, and if you remember how those games use to be, you'll know he is very intimate with the survival horror genre. This game is all about keeping gamers on the edges of their seats, with no real insight as to what potentially gruesome thing awaits you. Players take on the role of Sebastian, a detective who is investigating a mass murder at an asylum. Sebastian and his partner arrive only to see other police officers succumb to grisly fates, and then you get knocked unconscious. When you awake, you're hanging upside down in a meat locker and have to find a way to escape.
It gets worse from there, actually, as terrible monsters roam around the building and you need to find exactly what the hell is going there. You also have to deal with your partner's fall into madness while investigating the asylum, oh, and find a way to escape, of course. Publisher Bethesda is promising a true survival horror experience for The Evil Within, and I have to say from everything shown at E3, it's looking to deliver on that. A modified version of id Tech 5 is powering the game too, so you can be sure Mikami's new vision of hell will look spectular. Just try and not wet your pants while playing, or even watching any gameplay footage for that matter. Oh, and before you think you can do the same thing after dying in the game, think again; the AI is dynamic.
Runners-Up: Daylight (PC, PS4)
Daylight is another game that can be considered a true survival horror, especially when you realize your character lacks weapons. You're armed only with a cell phone, and it serves as your light source, too. Daylight has you waking up in an abandoned hospital, and outside of that we don't really know a ton. We do know the game features procedurally generated levels, so no two experiences are ever going to be the same. It also means items you find in one playthrough could be in a totally different spot or gone altogether in another, so try to not freak out too much. Daylight is being built with Unreal Engine 4, so it's going to have some really incredible lighting, shadows, water, and more to add to the horror.
Winner: The Evil Within (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO)
Some of you young folk may only think of Resident Evil as the action shooters they are now rather than the survival horror games they used to be. There hasn't been a really good, true survival horror game in a long time, but the genre seems to be making a comeback – thus the addition of the category this year. While I was impressed by all the survival horror games this year, The Evil Within is the most promising. Resident Evil's creator, Shinji Mikami, is at the helm and publisher Bethesda promises "a return to pure survival horror." Aside from creepy atmosphere and mysterious creatures, that also means limited resources – don't expect to be gunning down too many enemies.
Bethesda is being tight-lipped with the story, but we do know you play as a detective who is called to a distress call at an asylum where things go horribly wrong. Cliché, I know, but have faith. The gameplay demo shown at E3 is the beginning of the game, where you wake up after being knocked out unconscious to find yourself hanging upside down in a human meatlocker of sorts. Later in the demo, the player triggers an alarm when he tries to escape and is then pursued by a large humanoid wielding a chainsaw. Let's just say it didn't end well for the player. The game has a very cinematic feel, aided by the 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio, which is wider and thinner than the typical 16:9 or 16:10 ratios. The id Tech 5 engine powers the game.
The Evil Within is a purely single-player game, but not every playthrough will be the same – AI is dynamic. As such, you will not be able to simply memorize enemy movement patterns and behaviors – The Evil Within wants to always keep you on your toes, move cautiously, and adapt on the fly. While the demo simply had the one chainsaw- wielding guy, there will also be several grotesque horrors to contend with. For example, if you watched the live- action announcement trailer, you may still have nightmares of some bloody, multi-limbed, female-like monstrosity. Yes, "she" will be in the game.
Runners-Up: Dying Light (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO), Daylight (PC, PS4)
While The Evil Within may be the more frightening and intense experience, Dying Light may very well be the more enjoyable one. The latter is a first-person, open-world zombie game developed by Techland, the studio behind the Call of Juarez and Dead Island games, as well as the upcoming Hellraid. But Dying Light is not another zombie hack- and-slash game – it's more about scavenging for supplies during the day and surviving the night. It's Dead Island meets Don't Starve meets Mirror's Edge. Why the latter? Oh, did I forget to mention that there's Parkour? Unfortunately, gameplay was shown behind closed doors, so I cannot say how the game looks, but Dying Light will be using a new version of Techland's Chrome Engine, aptly named Chrome Engine 6. The cinematic trailer sure looked good though.
Not to be confused with Dying Light, there's also an upcoming survival horror game called Daylight. Daylight is an indie game, so it may not have the visual fidelity of the other two games, but it does have something they don't – procedurally generated levels. No two experiences will be alike. Not much is known about the story, but you play a female who wakes up in an abandoned hospital with only your cell phone for illumination. There are various objects in the game, such as flares, but the procedural generation affects items as well, so you can never count on anything. It's great to see the resurrection of survival horror games!