The Evil Within technical review

Posted: October 16, 2014 by ryanlecocq in Reviews, Technology

The-Evil-Within-logo

Honestly it would be easiest if I could just make this article one word: bad.  Not the game, I love the game so far.  It’s just that for starters I spent the first 24 hours trying to get it to run without crashing.  It wasn’t one easily resolved bug either.  Oh no.  First I had to get it to start without crashing.  Then after a few hours I solved that and then had to solve why it crashed in the intro logos.  After solving that I had to deal with crashes at specific points in gameplay.  After a day of basically re-building my new game from broken parts, I finally got to start playing yesterday.  It wasn’t even like I was one of a few or that crashes were confined to specific hardware.  Everyone on the Steam forums were having similar issues and not all of us were lucky enough to finally get it working.  There are probably still several thousand people at least who bought this game on Tuesday and still can’t play it.  That of course only applies to the PC version, so we’re only talking about a fraction of a fraction, but this is still up there with the worst high-profile PC ports.  Even Dark Souls would at least run when it came out on PC.

With that first nasty business out of the way, let’s move on to more.  All console versions and unmodified PC versions are capped at 30 frames per second and feature large black bars on the screen due to the theater wide angle the developers enforced.  The only real good news about this is that the Xbox 360 and PS3 are able to run the game surprisingly well with somewhat reduced visual quality.

This game is really the ultimate quandary if you are a gamer who owns a console and a PC.  The console versions will work right out of the box and let you play this really fun game.  On the other hand, both console generations are locked at 30fps and 1/3 of your screen is covered with black bars.  The PC version already has community fixes for both of these issues, but you may not be able to run it even with the exact recommended hardware.

If you can put up with the insane level of ownership required to get it running perfectly on the PC though, I would highly, highly recommend that route.  The game has pretty high requirements to run well, but for the most part makes good on it.  While idTech 5 is not what I would call the most efficient engine, this game puts out very impressive imagery with it.  It’s not so much that the effects on display are anything new as much as it’s the fantastic visual design.  The Evil Within uses its’ textures and lighting to produce some very creepy and atmospheric imagery.

I’m not going to post benchmarks as this game is all over the place on performance and varies system to system.  I was finally able to get it running pretty well though and can give you a more accurate list of minimum and recommended specs.

Minimum specs (low @ 720p, 30fps):

Any fast dual core, I ran at low settings on a Phenom II 560 BE @3.6GHz

4GB RAM

DirectX 11 REQUIRED! nVidia 550 ti or AMD HD 5770

38GB required after install

Recommended specs (maxed @ 1080p+, 60fps):

Intel i7, Sandy Bridge or above.  AMD FX 8000 series or overclocked 6000s.

8GB RAM

nVidia GTX 670.  AMD HD 6970.

Note:  The reason the gpus don’t match up in series is because a GT 450 will not run it, while a GTX 460 is actually much better than a 550 ti.  By the same token the 670 and 580 GTXs.  The cards listed are the lowest that will actually run it at said settings, based on verified benchmarks by myself or trusted Steam friends.

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