If I had a pound for every time I typed the word Bethesda this week, I could probably have outbid Microsoft and purchased ZeniMax myself - but it's such a big win for Xbox fans that it's hard not to talk about it. The initial announcement seems like a lifetime ago, and now here we are, it's official, the knot has been tied, and we can now enjoy the honeymoon phase. The analogy for this being the huge addition of Xbox Game Pass games this week - one of which holds a special place in my heart.
And that little gem is The Evil Within. A series which has gone slightly overlooked with all the other big names being thrown around. Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, Doom - they've all been talked about massively as the deal has transpired, but my poor little baby has sat at the side lines, like the last one to be picked for a football team at school. But really, it's the underdog out of the whole lot and worth anyone's time - horror fan or not.
Very few new IPs dare to try something new and different these days. We have the same open worlds, the same first-person shooters, and the same predictable horror games, but The Evil Within is so much more. Sure, it wears its Resident Evil inspirations on its back like a 'kick me' sign, but it has a whole identity of its own that is just so weird and strange to me that I can hardly believe an AAA game such as this got made. Everything feels so off key and out of touch, that it's consistent uneasiness is what makes it incredibly unique.
Over recent weeks, one of the main media consumptions has been WandaVision - a watercooler show which has got everyone talking. Each episode delivered new breadcrumbs of information and kept people hooked. The Evil Within has a same premise of throwing you in at the deep end and slowly unravelling the central mystery to you. Its confusion is one of its charms and the final 'aha!' moment is worth the gruelling, terrifying ride. It's chapters also play out in a serial fashion, turning it into an easy to binge horror show
But the story alone wouldn't be enough if it wasn't packed with intense horror, which it delivers by the bucket load. All these years later and some of the disturbing visuals are burned into my retinas as if I've undergone some terrible laser eye surgery. Honestly, there's one creature that goes by the name of Laura which has had me checking every nook and cranny of my house multiple times in the occasional late night thought I might have mentally projected her into reality. Arachnophobes, you have been warned.
These horrifying situations are only further amplified by the lack of ammo and resources in the world. I don't respond well to stressful circumstances, but the fact that The Evil Within constantly has me pushing past my inner struggle to prevail is a testament to how engaging it is. Through its disgusting art design and engaging narrative, I wanted to see and explore every corner.
But my main point is that I hope it encourages people to seek out its vastly superior sequel. If you think I've given glowing praise to this, you've seen nothing yet. Everything this game does right, The Evil Within 2 dials up to eleven, but to make that journey worthwhile, you need to go to the beginning, experience the roots, and invest yourself in the story. The sequel has some huge emotional payoffs that I'm not sure would work without seeing how it all started. I even teared up by the end of it, which is not something you can say about many horror games.
I'm sure it'll be added to Xbox Game Pass in the future, but for now you have plenty of time to experience its origins. I want this series to be successful, I want it to share it with more people, and I want to continue. So if you're going to do one thing this weekend - grab some covers, turn off all the lights, and dive into one of the best haunted house rides that Xbox has to offer, because The Evil Within is an absolute treat.
Will you be checking out The Evil Within on Xbox Game Pass? Let us know in the comments below.