Please note that while every attempt is made to present this review free of spoilers, the events in "The Consequence" do take place concurrently with those in The Evil Within so it may include topics that have minor spoilers.
Just over a month ago, "The Assignment
", the DLC expansion covering Juli Kidman's path through the events of The Evil Within
was released. Now, the second half of her story, "The Consequence
", has arrived. With "The Assignment" setting a relatively high standard
for The Evil Within
's additional content, does "The Consequence" manage to meet and possibly exceed its predecessor or does it fall short of that mark?
A simple image can carry so much meaning
"The Consequence" picks up immediately where "The Assignment" left off, with Agent Kidman making her way to Beacon Hospital in an attempt to make sense of what's going on around her. Throughout the course of the DLC, the are several instances where the action intersects with the core game, and it's the kind of situation that is immediately rewarding to someone familiar with the that content. Without exception, the story is the greatest strength of "The Consequence"; not only does it serve to show an evolution of the character of Juli Kidman, but it also addresses what she was up to during those times in The Evil Within
where she and her partners parted ways. Unlike many survival horror games that are so wrapped up in twisting the story that the details get lost or confused, the questions raised about Kidman's involvement are answered mostly clearly, which is a satisfying thing to behold. Unlike the core Evil Within
experience, the run up to the end for this expansion actually feels satisfying, with the final confrontation legitimately providing some jumpy moments.
Watch out for when enemies swarm
In addition to the continuing tradition of an excellent story (and it can't be emphasized enough how much the events the DLC actually help to clear up some questions that are raised in the core game) there is also the presence of fantastic sound design. Sound is not only important for locating items on which Juli must shine her flashlight, but also creates effective scares for the player. Once Juli is spotted by an enemy, the music kicks up and adds to the sense of tension. When the music silences, the threat is gone, too. Sounds like the tapping of Kidman's heels on the ground can alert enemies to her presence, meaning that silencing them (by crouching to walk) is key to success in the game. The voice acting is also exceptional, as threats leveled at Kidman by her shady benefactor are delivered with a level of viciousness that makes the listener understand their power. Kidman's answers to these threats also show her convictions to her own plans, and are conveyed clearly through Jennifer Carpenter's voice work.
Some familiar locales are present throughout the DLC
As with "The Assignment", the gameplay in "The Consequence" is initially focused on trying to avoid enemies instead of engaging them. Unlike the first DLC, however, more gameplay elements are present, which is in and of itself both a good and a bad thing. The good of it is, as before, the game moves out of its core comfort zone and forces the gamer to play differently. Stealth is handled the same way, by either crouching behind objects and luring enemies by shouting at them or throwing bottles in the opposite direction of where Kidman has to go in order to clear a path to the next section. If a slightly more direct approach is generally the player's way, there are some opportunities to sneak up and attack enemies either by pushing them off ledges or using a conveniently placed axe. Little is changed here and that's good, as it's familiar and still divergent enough from the core story to feel like a unique experience.
The Chemical Light adds a new slant to gameplay
Early on, Kidman loses her trusty flashlight, and is instead tasked with using chemical lights (utilized by tossing them on the ground, and they're unlimited in number, so chuck away!) to navigate a darkened building. The use of chemical lights is a really interesting idea, but the section for which they're used is short - so short, in fact, that it's completely possible to duck any of the enemies lurking around the now-even-darker corners of Krimson City and not even realize they were there. Also, making it so that the player has infinite chemical lights lessens the urgency felt through much of The Evil Within
, where struggling with limited resources adds to the immersion into the game's world.
The light is coming to get you
Once the lights are restored Kidman conveniently comes across a handgun and, shortly thereafter, a shotgun, and this is where some of the bad elements of the changed gameplay comes into focus. On one hand, there's a definite sense of relief in finally having access to a way to fend off enemies, but it does take away from what made the DLC feel so distinct from the on-disc content. It's not that Kidman's ability to use a weapon is at question - she is a member of the Krimson City Police Department after all - but there's an adjustment that has to be made from taking one's time to look at the environment for ways to avoid conflict and being required to go in guns blazing. Another consequence of the re-inclusion of firearms is that the light-based puzzle-solving and progression through "The Assignment" is very much reduced from the two chapters included in the previous DLC. Where much of "The Assignment" was spent checking all the walls for one of those Mobius symbols or listening for indicators that one was near by, this is almost absent in "The Consequence". Using light is still the solution for acquiring the game's collectibles, but the sense of always checking the walls just in case is missing this time around. If the two expansions were presented as a single DLC, it's possible the shift wouldn't seem as jarring, but it's a shame to see these elements more marginalized in favor of the third-person shooter gameplay present in the core title. Further, unlike Sebastian, Kidman is not given the opportunity to upgrade anything, whether it's firearms, health, or stamina. While this is sensible for storyline purposes, it lends to some frustration that Kidman is as good as she'll ever be while the other protagonist can be improved to ease gameplay. Thankfully, this isn't a major concern as the content is too brief for leveling up to be a major factor, but it is something to consider.
Paranoia, paranoia, everybody's coming to get Juli
The achievement list reads almost exactly like the list from "The Assignment". There are chapter-specific achievements, such as one for restricting the use of chemical lights
in chapter three or one that cleverly alludes to The Evil Within
. Collectibles return with achievements for scooping up all the Personnel Files
, Research Documents
, and Hidden Letter Scraps
. There is also a KURAYAMI mode
achievement, which involves playing the DLC with even less lighting available than normal. For those looking to complete the DLC, two playthroughs will be necessary as KURAYAMI difficulty doesn't become available until the DLC is completed for the first time.
"The Consequence" has many things working in its favor. We definitely get a much better sense of Kidman's motivation, what exactly the limits of her loyalty are, and to whom that loyalty lies. The presentation is also top notch and continues the feeling from "The Assignment" that the content was not simply cut from the disc and then released later to make some extra money. "The Consequence" does run shorter than "The Assignment", and the inclusion of gunplay does hurt this expansion somewhat. Despite this, if you enjoyed The Evil Within
and "The Assignment", this is a must-have, and the combined weight of "The Assignment" and "The Consequence" makes purchasing the Season Pass for the game a very easy investment.
- Kidman's story concludes and actually provides answers to some questions raised in Evil Within
- Excellent sound design - playing with headphones on makes this even better
- Does not simply feel like "cash grab" DLC
- Strays from gameplay elements that made "The Assignment" stand out
- Game time is quite a bit shorter than that of the first DLC
The reviewer spent approximately three hours wrapping up Kidman's side of the story and earned 7 of the DLC's 10 achievements along the way. This review is based on the Xbox One DLC code that was supplied by the publisher.