The Evil Within is a brutal game. It wants you to fail, and even tells you how many times Sebastian died when you clear the final chapter – how thoughtful!
Here are some survival tips to give yourself the best chance of reducing the end-game death count.
Green goo, or gel, is the nectar of the gods in the distorted reality of The Evil Within. It is responsible for all of Sebastian’s physical attribute and weapon upgrades and can be the difference between getting stuck at an impasse and being powerful enough to overcome a challenge pushing you to the limits.
Like Resident Evil 4, all of the crates and pots lining the corners of rooms can be smashed, using melee to conserve ammo, often revealing varying amounts of Green goo, as well as other goodies like much needed ammo. You’ll also find some Green in drawers and cupboards, and from killing most enemies, but the biggest stockpiles often come from scouring the crates in each room.
Now that you have an abundance of Green, you’ll be regularly upgrading Seb’s kit back at the asylum. Here’s where it becomes really interesting: on the surface, it’s a fairly simple upgrade system, but it will come to dictate how you play. Choosing to first focus on health and sprint attributes, for example, will keep you alive longer, but at the cost of underpowered weapons.
Likewise, you’ll need to weigh up which weapons you use most and which need most storage capacity, as well as scope for critical hits. Here are some quick upgrade tips for the opening chapters:
Upgrade health once, then upgrade the effectiveness of syringes, rather than health again: You’ll rarely have full health, so being able to replenish more of what you have with a single syringe is more beneficial, plus rare med kits slightly increase the health bar.
Upgrade sprint early: Seb is horribly unfit and can hardly run. Even with upgrades, he’s not much better, but the difference between 2 and 4 seconds of sprint stamina is immense.
Upgrade the quantity of matches multiple times: It’s super cheap to carry 15 or 20 matches, and in a game that’s so consumed with fire, they’re essential.
Upgrade critical hit on your handgun: It’s also great on the shotgun, but best to focus on one weapon first. This will improve your chances of one hit headshots.
There’s a plentiful supply of Green goo, but Goddess statues are much more rare. Smashing these open will net you a key, which can open one of the lockers in the asylum. These are full of supplies, including more Green and ammo, and other nice surprises (as well as some disappointments considering how hard these are to find). Keep an eye out for them, as they can be a quickfire way to reach the next upgrade.
If you’re striving for that next big upgrade, killing bigger enemies will reap bigger rewards – so more Green goo. However, it’s not always worth the pain. Some of the biggest, strongest, enemies will drop upwards of 3,000 Green, but you’ll need to expend a lot of ammo to make it happen. Ask yourself: is it really worth it?
On casual difficulty, it is. Ammo is scarce at times without being especially hard to replenish, but on survival or above it’s probably not worth engaging any of the bigger, troll-sized, enemies unless you have to. They take more ammo to go down and it’s much harder to find more, all just to nudge closer to an upgrade.
It’s easy to forget about half the crossbow bolts as there are so many you don’t need, but they all have a place. Explosive and shock bolts quickly became my favourites, to the point where I hardly used the others until late into the game, but that could have been a huge mistake.
In most of the boss fights, or against bigger creatures, especially, the freeze bolt is super effective, in conjunction with the shock bolt, to momentarily incapacitate the opponent in question so you can rattle off headshots aplenty or set up a fire trap they can’t do anything about.
While The Evil Within does bow to the modern convention of permitting aiming and firing while moving, it’s not recommended. It otherwise feels like a survival horror game from the early-to-mid 2000s, back when you had to stand and fight or run away. Accuracy takes a massive nosedive while moving, and it’s more of a slow crawl than serious motion. You’re much better off sprinting to momentary safety, since by now you’ve upgrade sprint, and aiming stationary from afar at whatever was trying to kill you.
Stealth kills are hard to execute in The Evil Within, but worth the practice. Keeping your eye on the enemy eye, which alerts you to enemy presence and if they’re aware of you or not, is integral as you sneak up to some of the weaker chumps and put a knife in their heads. You’ll need to keep quite, and turn off the lamp, to give yourself the best possible chance of not being spotted. If they see you just before executing, all hell will break loose and certain death is on the cards. If performed correctly, you’ll save precious ammo and matches, and ideally not alert anything else of your position.
On a related note, stealth without killing is also possible but takes serious concentration. It requires patience and a keen eye for movement patterns, as well as traps which are littered all over the place and ruddy loud.