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The Evil Within

R18: violence and horror

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this game.

The Evil Within poster

Date registered: 01/08/2014

About the game

The Evil Within is a third-person survival-horror game from acclaimed Japanese game director Shinji Mikami. A single player game set in the present day, it follows Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he is called to a grisly mass killing at Beacon Mental Hospital.

Attacked by Ruvik, a murderous inmate with supernatural powers, Castellanos wakes in a nightmare world of giant monsters, distorted humans and madness. Trapped inside the mind of a serial killer, Castellanos must battle his way through disturbing memories and tortured manifestations to save his remaining officers and unveil the source of the evil.

Gameplay typically consists of exploring through stealth, with the player choosing to avoid or kill enemies in order to progress. However some sequences such as boss fights or chase scenes require more direct combat. As the player progresses they scour the world for supplies and ammunition, as well as various upgrades such as increased health, sprint distance and weapon abilities which aid in surviving the increasing challenges.

Gameplay - characters battle it out in the grounds of the Mental Hospital

Classification criteria: Horror

Horror is dealt with to a high extent and degree. The player explores dank and decrepit environments such as the halls of a ruined asylum or an underground warren of torture rooms. These echo with the sounds of nearby enemies, necessitating a cautious and tense navigation of the chambers. Exterior locations, like a dark misty forest, use trees to occlude both player vision and the presence of enemies while allowing the opportunity to escape pursuit for a time.

Chase sequences further the horror with Castellanos' panting terror accompanied by a menacing soundtrack and the guttural sounds of pursuers. Failure to avoid or defeat enemies results in gruesome death sequences which increase the overall degree of horror.

Gameplay - a human spider - the result of medical experimentation

Classification criteria: Violence

The game frequently depicts the infliction of serious physical harm to a strong degree. Blood is dark and wet, giving it a realistic tone. Attacking an enemy results in blood spray and a bloody wound on the enemy model. The strongest infliction of serious physical harm occurs when the player dies. These gruesome deaths vary depending on the enemy type and attack used. Environmental hazards such as spinning blades also result in bloody decapitation or dismemberment.

Gameplay - blowing the baddies apart with gunfire

Classification criteria: Cruelty

Cruelty occurs throughout the publication with rusting torture devices and the deformed humans indicating a history of cruel violence. The story also deals with cruelty, such as references to human experimentation and torture.

Gameplay - the discovery of a gruesome blood-spattered torture chanber for medical experiments

Classification criteria: Highly offensive language

The game contains a limited amount of highly offensive language. Spread across a cited 15-20 hours of gameplay and used in a horrific context, such language is not likely to cause serious harm to its audience.

Gameplay - the face of a man, screaming, lying with his head tied down with barbed wire

Decision summary

The unrestricted availability of The Evil Within would be injurious to the public good. An intense survival horror game with cinematic presentation, its frequent and strong depictions of horror, cruelty and violence would shock and disturb younger audiences, including teenagers.

While placing a restriction on the availability of the game infringes on the right to freedom of expression as set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 requires the lowest reasonable restriction on publications if they are likely to cause injury to the public good. As adults have the maturity to place this challenging content within the context of a gruesome survival horror, they are unlikely to be unduly affected by it.

Therefore The Evil Within is classified as objectionable unless its availability is restricted to persons who have attained the age of 18 years.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R18 label
R18: violence and horror