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In My Console: The Evil Within

I love survival-horror. Ever since the early days of Clock Tower, Silent Hill and Resident Evil, I was pulled into these extreme worlds of scary monsters and dark adventures. There's something about venturing into the unknown and fighting evil that really connects with me as a gamer. It's one of my favourite gaming genres. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by, the landscape of survival-horror games have changed and it's no longer just a scary world out there - it's the hybrids that reign supreme. One of the games released this year promised to head back to the survival-horror roots of gaming. Did it live up to its hype? The video game I'm going to be discussing today is the bloody supernatural adventure: The Evil Within.

The Story: Players take on the role of Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he's pulled into a nightmarish world of monsters, death and a mystery spanning the unknown. After responding to a police report at Beacon Mental Hospital, Sebastian encounters the villainous apparition known simply as "Ruvik" who leads Sebastian on a horrifying adventure that bends reality. Joining Sebastian on his 15 chapter story includes fellow detectives Juli Kidman and Joseph Oda, Dr. Marcelo Jimenez and his patient Leslie, and a nurse who knows more than she lets on.

Where To Play: The Evil Within is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and the Xbox One.

The Good: The Evil Within plays to its strength when it comes to horror. Dark and confined spaces, grotesque monsters, blood and unexpected surprises - the game wasn't missing its mix of survival-horror. I quite enjoyed that for a few portions throughout its story, I was pleasantly scared. (Seriously, there were mannequins...lots and lots of mannequins!) I miss the scare factor of survival-horror games and before I even began this game, I was a little hesitant that it wouldn't live up to its "horror" hype. I wasn't fully blown away, but I did enjoy the horror element.

There's one fact you will come to understand when playing The Evil Within: you will die - A LOT. This is no easy game. Around every corner, every room, there are potentially many hidden ways to die. You would be surprised at the number of times I was killed by traps, common enemies and big boss battles. The Evil Within is a tough game to play and coupled with low ammunition/supplies, finally completing all 15 chapters felt like a real accomplishment.

The Bad: The Evil Within has an interesting twist to it with its story. These articles and reviews are spoiler-free so I won't go into details beyond the bare bones of the plot. However, as I progressed through the many chapters, it became hard to get a clear grasp of the overall plot timeline. I understood many of the plot points about the villain, the deaths and missions but the overall arc was all over the place. A lot was happening at the same time and Sebastian was being pulled to different areas while given bits and pieces to try and determine the story. I had made a tiny logical guess by Chapter 4 and it proved somewhat right by Chapter 11, but I still needed to Google search a few articles and videos to fill in the story from people who pieced this together already. I like a story that makes me think so I was conflicted once the game was completed.

Also, I just want to throw this out there. I like Resident Evil 4, it's a good game that blended action and horror together. However, as I played the game, The Evil Within reminded me too much about RE4 to the point that I considered it nearly the same game. With the exception of The Evil Within being bloodier and scarier, the game was reminiscent to that vibe. The action, the mechanics, the male lead, the minions - it felt like a next generation spin-off.

The Results: 7/10!
The Evil Within strived to relaunch the roots of the survival-horror video game genre. It was creepy, it was bloody and it was a tough game to play. Through the eyes of Sebastian, you get to explore many locales that bridge on the horror cliché, like a mental hospital, graveyard and a large mansion. Monsters were plenty throughout the 15 chapters and they could sometimes feel a tad too familiar from other games, especially with the mindless villagers you face. The downside to The Evil Within is that the game doesn't offer anything new. Many of the locations, the enemies and bosses could have been inspired from horror tropes in the past. With the exception of a few items, like the agony bow or the plot twist, there wasn't much new ground covered, but with over 20 years of horror games already out (Wow, I feel old), it's hard not to expect some certain things to appear again. If you're a fan of horror, whether it's games or movies, The Evil Within might be your thing to play.
'Spectre': Bond 24 Reveals Name, Cast & Car

James Bond is ready to head out on his next death-defying adventure and finally the mission has a name. Revealed on Thursday at Pinewood Studios in London, Bond 24 will officially be known as 'Spectre'.

The official synopsis for the film is as follows: "A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE." (via Independent UK)

Spectre will feature many of the returning cast members from Skyfall, like Daniel Craig (James Bond), Ralph Fiennes (M), Naomie Harris (Moneypenny) and Ben Whishaw (Q). Joining the cast this time around will feature a few new characters like Andrew Scott (Denbigh), David Bautista (Mr. Hinx), Christoph Waltz (Oberhauser), and upcoming Bond Girls Léa Seydoux and Monica Belucci as Madeleine Swann and Lucia Sciarra, respectively. Bond is nothing without his automobile, which will be the Aston Martin DB10.

Many details are still being kept under wraps but rumours are swirling that longtime iconic 007 supervillain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, will make his reintroduction to the series with this film. Spectre is set to be released on November 6, 2015.

Are ready for James Bond's next mission? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Big Bond Book Club: From Russia With Love
I'm bad. I don't just mean bad in a mean way but bad in an "I'm sorry!" way. I've stopped counting the time since the last moment I "promised" to write the next edition of The Big Bond Book Club. I've probably written that I would write the next post more times than actually completing the blog post. Weeks? Months? Maybe a year? Years even?! I could check back into the archives but even then I wouldn't be surprised at the date. Suffice it to has been a LONG time. With that being said...I'm sorry.

The last time I left off the series was with the fourth book - Diamonds Are Forever. It reached a medium thrill but for full details of the comparison, you can check out my article with the link above. For those unfamiliar with this series (I wouldn't be surprised - it has been a long time), I read a James Bond book chronologically from its release date and watch the corresponding film from the MGM series. I critique both against each other based on what I like and don't like. The scales don't always fall on the side of the movie series so I wouldn't prejudge just yet for all you naysayers and movie-only fans out there. The story I'll be reading today is the fifth book in the series: From Russia with Love.

The Story (novel): SMERSH, the menacing Soviet counterintelligence agency, plots to assassinate James Bond in the hopes of discrediting not only him but his agency as well.

The Story (movie): SPECTRE, a secret organization, plots to assassinate James Bond.

Time has passed since the last time I read the book and watched the movie. It took a while to remember everything so I will keep this post short and brief. I'll probably expand this section further in future posts when the updates are more timely. (Seriously people, I'm really sorry!) With the exception of a few details - such as the name of the organization and updating the time period - I didn't notice much of a difference from the source material to the big screen. An organization still seeks to eliminate Bond, a beautiful woman manipulates him for the motives of said organization, and a slightly deranged woman tries to kill Bond with a her shoe. If this were any other series, I might laugh at writing that line but with all the unique gadgets and weapons, it feels right at home. Almost playful and giddy in a way.

My Favourite: The Movie!
From Russia with Love is not my favourite story in the James Bond universe. Woah...wait...lower your pitchforks and drop the flaming torches now, 007 fans! Hear me out. I understand that this story is a favourite by fans of the series; it has a lot of iconic moments and characters that resonate with fans (i.e. Tatiana Romanova, the shoe, SPECTRE/SMERSH). Unfortunately, I wasn't really pulled into the story. Blame it on the plot, the time period difference or the source material but I felt it was an average adventure in the Bond legacy. I mean in the stories before this book, he had to stop a space exploration or a voodoo drug kingpin with the help of his psychic ally. I couldn't quite get into the story. I've watched the movie and read the book a few times - it's good but not great.

Final scores:

From Russia, with Love (the book) - 4/10
From Russia with Love (the movie) - 5/10
NEXT: The sixth addition in this blog series is bringing it all back to the beginning. That's right! Slip on your cabana wear, grab your seashells and head to a tropical destination, I'm going to be reading "Dr. No!" It's funny to think that the first film in the movie series is actually the sixth entry in the book series. Comparisons will be on the lookout for my next post.