When you play The Evil Within, you quickly get introduced with 3 key characters, Sebastian, Joseph, and Juli. While Sebastian's storyline focuses on the events that happen to him, it also reveals a good deal about Joseph. In the meanwhile, the third character, Juli, is hardly seen for most of the game. DLC add-on The Assignment reveals to the world what Juli has been up to during the events that occurred after the initial investigation of the multiple homicides in a mental hospital, and her story is equally, if not more, chilling than the main game.
What is The Assignment?
The Assignment is an story add-on DLC for The Evil Within. For those unfamiliar with TEW, this game is a survival horror title from the man who pretty much started the genre Shinji Mikami (who is responsible of the creation and fame of the Resident Evil series). The Evil Within is Mikami's first foray at helming a game in the genre after his departure from Capcom. While there are nods and references to RE, this game is done in a completely different direction in both gameplay and narrative.
This add-on focuses on Juli Kidman, who is a character best described as a cross between Jill Valentine (considering that she is quite an appropriate protagonist) and Ada Wong (for reasons best revealed by the game's story). Her dialogues are well written –especially when compared to the dry-toned script that Sebastian got, and this makes Juli all the more relatable and likeable to the player.
As a survival horror game, facing off against supernatural nasties is the name of the game, and in this case, you need to do a lot of sneaking around in order to get things done. You will rarely have to actually kill anything, which is pretty surprising, but the game makes clever use of puzzles to show you that Juli is as capable as the other characters (if not more).
Excellent Stage Design
One of the best things about The Evil Within is that the visuals are astounding. The careful use of limited lighting to further draw out the utter spookiness and nerve-wracking feel of the various rooms and corridors you travel past is downright effective. There is also an undeniably ghastly appeal to the way that the background objects seem like macabre interpretative designs that deserve to have their own little tragic stories told.
But more than the aesthetics, the level designs lend themselves nicely to Juli's gameplay. It complements her ability to deftly sneak behind low walls, get around enemies, and move by without being detected. While the AI is still plagued by the same advancing triggers that were present in the main game, it is much less noticeable here –you do not feel as if the monsters have some magic intuition telling them to constantly hound the area you are in (even though they technically are still doing just that). Even better is the way that little hiding holes, lockers, and other great hiding spots are situated accordingly to the player's benefit but still be located in such a spot that it does not feel like the game is spoon feeding you the steps needed to win.
How it Fits
As great as the gameplay is in The Assignment and how much more intriguing the story is here compared to the main game, you still need to play The Evil Within before stepping into the DLC. The more basic reason is due to the fact that you are playing certain events that are pretty parallel to the events happening with Sebastian and Joseph –without the foreknowledge of what's happening on the other end of the story, Juli's tale loses the context that gives it depth.
What is even more important is that Juli's role, despite being the great heroine that she can be, is still that of a supporting character in Sebastian's story. Her arc may reveal key plot points and details that were not even hinted at, but ultimately, all these bits and pieces of information are not without value unless you already know what happened with Sebastian and Joseph.
Should Have Been Part of the Game
There are tons of reasons why DLC is released as DLC –even if many fans believe that the content could have been included in the main game (sometimes, it actually is –the 'DLC' is simply an unlock code), and that's a technical issue that we would rather not talk about. But such is the case with The Assignment –it is an add-on. Still, considering how much value it adds to the overall game, it would have been amazing to have the contents of this game be intertwined with the main game as a single playable experience. And that is a testament to how impressive The Evil Within's The Assignment is.