Without giving too much of the story away, in The Executioner you assume control of the fearsome Keeper aka Boxhead.  A character that was one of the main foes in The Evil Within whose purpose was to simply butcher you, but he just so happens to have more about him then you initially thought.  Sent into STEM with his own goal of redemption with the pretence he will save someone very dear to him, his tale might just surprise you, sadly the gameplay might not (in a good way at least).

With The Assignment and The Consequence, Tango Gameworks tried a slightly different approach by making it pretty much stealth orientated throughout.  Despite it growing a little repetitive towards the end, the approach worked rather well.  In The Executioner other then it being in a first person viewpoint (in comparison to the previous third person), its gameplay is pretty much all out action.  When I saw the trailer for this DLC, it took me by surprise, but I was intrigued by its gameplay choice; especially after the strenuous on the edge of your seat gameplay that we had from The Evil Within and the two previous pieces of DLC.

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However, while I enjoyed the all out action approach to begin with, I started to lose interest very quickly.  The Keeper soon becomes over powered (even to begin with), offering very little difficulty challenge, especially when you start to level him up by collecting the coins to purchase upgrades and equipment.  I know the Keeper is a very strong character and it’s only right that he should quickly dispose of the Haunted, but I still expected a challenge with the end of stage bosses at least.  The ease of disposing of the bosses wasn’t helped by the fact that the A.I is very dumb and most can be quickly killed by spam attacks.

Even the first person viewpoint doesn’t seem right and it just comes across to me as an afterthought.  It’s safe to assume that like the main game and the expansions, The Executioner would have been developed in third person, but in an attempt to help differentiate itself, they changed its perspective (in my opinion).  For me personally, it feels a little unnatural and I would have much preferred to play this in the original third person, perhaps a choice of various viewpoints would have been welcomed.

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One change that you will also notice from The Executioners visuals, is that the black-bar has been removed from the screen.  Having the choice of whether to have the black bar or not, has been available to PC gamers since around the launch of The Evil Within and it’s something that console gamers have also wanted the choice of.  We still don’t have that choice, as it’s been made for us.  I can see why the black bar was used in the first place, because with it gone and with it not compressing the screen, you can see the framerate suffer as a consequence and this was something that wasn’t too great in The Evil Within to begin with.

With the previous two pieces of DLC, they took me around 3 hours each to finish.  The Executioner took me just a mere 90 minutes to finish on my first playthrough.  I suppose you could argue that The Executioner is half the price of The Assignment & The Consequence, so it balances out.  Truth be told, looking back in hindsight, I believe the previous pieces of DLC should have been around 5 hours each and The Executioner should have perhaps hit the 3 hour mark for the asking price of £4.  That’s not to say that The Executioner doesn’t have its replay value, because it does and the following features could be used in its defence.

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Throughout its short campaign you will encounter challenge rooms, where you are tasked to beat the wave of enemies and as a reward, you will earn coins to spend on items and upgrades.  Yet, much like the campaign, they’re not very challenging, despite them being challenge rooms.  But they are particularly handy if you want to grind through them to earn coins and max out The Keeper.  Upon completion of The Executioner you will unlock an extra challenge room to take on and a new boss battle, as well as the usual New Game+ to carry on with your acquired upgrades.

I went into The Executioner feeling quite optimistic about its approach, but I found that the gameplay didn’t feel all that natural, in fact it was very awkward at times, especially when trying to be precise with my melee attacks.  I also become quickly board with its level design and progression and while I had hoped the campaign was a little longer, the 90 minute playthrough was arguably a blessing in disguise.  The only standout moment from The Executioner was The Keepers quite surprising tale and in reflection it’s certainly made the moments that I thought were tedious in the previous two pieces of DLC shine in a new light.  If you’re desperate to learn more about The Keeper or just longing for a little more The Evil Within, then you might want to purchase this DLC.  If not, then I’d wait until The Executioner is on offer, even at the £4 asking price.

You can read our reviews of the main game and its previous DLC via the links below.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake and you can check out my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/solidus5nake