The Evil Within’s first slice of blood-drenched DLC, The Assignment, was a somewhat surprising success. After all, the story-based expansion’s emphasis on stealth over the main campaign’s visceral gunplay didn’t exactly look great on paper, but its execution was hard to deny as anything other than solid. Marrying pant-wetting atmosphere, gory environments and some tense enemy encounters, Juli Kidman’s methodical creep fest could be seen as the antithesis of Seb’s rollercoaster, head-popping antics. It worked great, and set up the scene nicely for part two, The Consequence. So, with Kidman’s journey at an end, how does Tango Gameworks’ latest DLC shape up?
Like its predecessor, The Consequence places much of its focus on atmosphere and stealth, a union that works just as brilliantly as it did in the previous DLC as you creep around warped, bloodied halls and corpse-ridden chambers, lodging axes in your enemies’ cranium. There’s far more exposition this time around however, particularly with your mysterious, chain-smoking boss at Mobius,who frequently taunts our heroine throughout her nightmarish adventure.
It’s welcome too, as there’s plenty more details unveiled regarding the use of STEM, Ruvik and of course how Juli’s adventure interweaves with Sebastian and Joseph’s antics; you’ll cross paths a few times, only this time, you see things from Kidman’s side. There’s still plenty of collectibles to hoover up too, including new music tracks and cassette tapes, the latter of which helps to flesh out the narrative more. These sections never feel intrusive either, and are seamlessly integrated into the meat-and-potatoes of the core gameplay. Besides, you can skip them if you wish (not that you should, that is).
For the most part, The Consequence has you skulking around suitably creepy locations, avoiding foes, while solving some rudimentary puzzles and progressing through on your mission to extricate the mentally unstable Leslie from the malevolent world created by STEM. That’s fine for the most part, and there’s always a palpable sense of dread that accompanies Kidman as you progress; enemy encounters prove quite tense too, and there’s immense satisfaction in calling out your lumbering adversaries from behind cover to surreptitiously move past them to safety. Amusingly, there’s also the ability to sneak up behind them and shove them off the edge of a platform if you fancy it.
Still, like The Assignment, Juli’s exploits are again let down by some frustrating design decisions. You can wield an axe for stealth kills, but can’t use it as a basic melee weapon, even though Seb is more than capable of using anything he can get his hands on during the main campaign. Juli is pathetically weak too, and will bite the dust in two hits, regardless of their severity. Needless to say, it can get tiresome when she is felled by a measly punch or two by the standard Haunted foes. Likewise, the one-hit kill abominations, such as the corpse-like crawling monstrosities and the intimidating Lamp Lady, prove highly annoying after repeated deaths. It all feels a bit cheap, especially when Kidman can’t even run for more than 5 seconds without stopping to catch her breath—even if there’s an axe-wielding mutant hot on her heels. Tango could have at least given her more stamina or offered an opportunity to counter enemy attacks, rather than just running away and hoping for the best.
As such, a few sections can prove more frustrating than terrifying, and more than often I found myself just glad a particular area was over, rather than a sense of tense accomplishment you’d otherwise associate with The Evil Within. Fortunately, these areas aren’t too common, and when you are finally given a chance to fight back (something which I won’t spoil in great detail), it’s immensely gratifying to fill a particular nuisance full of hot lead. In fact, it’s one of the highlights of The Consequence’s two chapters.
Pleasingly, despite its annoyances, The Consequence is a thrilling, atmospheric gore-fest that holds up almost as well as its precursor DLC. For those of you invested in The Evil Within’s intricate lore and Saw-esque horrors, there’s absolutely no reason to miss this latest slice of DLC, which provides a fine complement to the original game and a fine showcase for Juil’s part in the whole, twisted affair.