Evil Dead: The Game Review – A groovy gore-fest, but something’s missing
Evil Dead: The Game is a loving declaration of love to Sam Raimi’s horror franchise and its base of loyal fans. I’ll put my hands up and say right away that I’m indifferent to the Evil Dead movies. While I’m a horror devotee through and through, my love lies in the gritty nature of Rob Zombie movies when it comes to those delicious horror/camp crossovers. That being said, I have a great appreciation for Sam Raimi’s work and was still incredibly interested in seeing how the direction of his films would be applied to an asymmetrical horror game.
A must for Evil Dead fans and still great fun for the rest of us
Despite my interest in the game, my hopes were never high: the last multiplayer horror game I played – Back 4 Blood – triggered one of the biggest feelings of disappointment I’ve ever experienced when it comes to gaming. Yes, really. So while the two games are very different, this time I couldn’t help but expect more of the same; Both are horror-focused multiplayer games from developers with patchy histories. You understand my warning, don’t you?
But I was pleasantly surprised by Evil Dead: The Game. It felt like the title largely learned from previous mistakes in the genre. There’s also no need to worry that a lack of love for Evil Dead will dampen your enjoyment – the game is playable and parsable in its entirety, even if you don’t know anything about Ash and friends; You will simply have several punch lines flying over your head.
I’ve put hundreds of hours into games like Dead by Daylight and Left 4 Dead 2, and my efforts certainly didn’t go to waste when I loaded my first game, Evil Dead (it feels so weird to say that). While it shares obvious similarities to other asymmetric horror games that require survivor cooperation, Evil Dead: The Game remains incredibly fresh in its approach to the genre. Imagine if they gave Dead by Daylight a good soundtrack, an easier-to-maneuver interface, and a character leveling system that didn’t take hundreds of hours to complete. Then imagine if they mixed that with the humor, gore, and utter mayhem of Left 4 Dead 2. Finally, imagine that the gameplay is absolutely action-packed without feeling convoluted or overly complex. What you’re imagining right now is probably not too far off from what we’re getting here.
Superb graphics and a fresh gameplay loop make hacking and slashing so satisfying
What also struck me when first opening the game and later loading into a match is how beautiful it all looks. From loading screens to character models and maps, everything looks impressive – probably the kind of visuals that will stand for the entire generation. Jumping into a new map can be confusing at first (that’s what those brilliant weather and lighting effects make sure of), but you’ll soon realize just how much work has gone into the pristine environment. Scroll through the different menus for more viewing pleasure and just take a look at all the in-game artwork to discover. These illustrations often show Ash Williams and company in different situations – situations you may have found yourself in the game – and each of them is great.
At first I was concerned that Evil Dead: The Game would be too busy. However, it seems to have struck an almighty balance in terms of offering content without leaving you overwhelmed. When you first start a game as a survivor, there is so much to do; As well as collecting various key items to subdue the demon, you’ll gather resources (including Shemp’s Cola and Pink F***) and smash skulls as you work together. As a demon, you roam the map, empowering yourself, micromanaging your units, and later taking management into your own claws while interfering in the action. To put it simply, you never have to do the same thing for too long and because of that you don’t find it hard to keep going. Perhaps the loop is getting tedious after several consecutive hours of trying to relive Ash Williams’ most shameful moments, but when you land a satisfying, gory finisher on deadite after deadite, that badass superiority feeling reigns supreme.
Balancing will prove to be an issue over time
Evil Dead: The Game is not without its flaws. Having so much to do in a single game can get exhausting – especially without a team of friends to reinforce the experience. The gameplay loop does its best, but racing against time to complete objectives will present problems for some, especially those playing as a demon.
While I mostly played Survivor during my time on Evil Dead: The Game, I beat a few games as Demon (and even won one!), and balancing issues were already apparent. Fighting a single demon can be easy for four survivors when coordinated. The only reason I won a single match as Demon was because someone disconnected midway and Henrietta wreaked havoc on the remaining three in the final minutes of the match. Still, I’ve experienced the latter repeatedly as I approach the end of a game: Demon will summon a boss unit, and survivors will gather around them and melee the boss unit to the death. With chainsaws, hammers, spears and more swarming around you, it becomes nearly impossible to get to safety and give your boss a second chance. Playing as a demon is tough, and I think it’s meant to have a much higher skill cap than Survivor – but that’ll no doubt cause more problems as Survivor squads make the rounds. Especially if this game ends up in the hands of casual gamers who pick it up for the IP rather than a hardcore multiplayer experience.
A complete lack of accessibility options undermines the rest of the game
Balancing isn’t the only issue that might frustrate some players. Evil Dead: The Game also surprisingly lacks accessibility options. The first thing that struck me is the sensitivity. This can be adjusted in the Survivor settings, but even at the lowest sensitivity I could get dizzy from my own mouse movements. With demons, the deal is even worse; There’s no way to change sensitivity while roaming, nor can you disable motion blur unless you’re jumping into the game’s files on PC.
What I also found quite odd for a multiplayer game is the fact that there is voice communication but no option for push to talk. That would have been fine for the most part if I didn’t have to listen to a guy chew chips for an entire game while giving instructions to the team between bites. Luckily, you can mute louder players, but it would be nice to see a push-to-talk option added soon so we can play matches and communicate without overhearing allies eating or talking to their parents in the background.
Accessibility in video games is a pretty big deal for me, so I was disappointed that the basics were missing. While the lack of sensitivity scaling and push-to-talk were the biggest issues for me personally, the game also lacks accessibility options for color-blind gamers, you can’t rebind buttons, and you can’t make adjustments to subtitles or their size. It left me with a sour taste in my mouth overall. I definitely hope these settings are added to the game in the future, but launching without them feels incredibly off-putting to players who need these settings for them. It’s 2022, come on.
Evil Dead: The Game is a good time, albeit challenging (it seems that single-player missions are all struggling), but it really lets itself down with no basic accessibility settings available to players. The game itself is certainly impressive in terms of its fresh gameplay and remarkable graphics, and there’s plenty of fun to be had for fans of both Evil Dead and Sam Raimi. However, horror fans with no affinity to the series will likely find more enjoyment in alternative multiplayer horror games, and they will likely find more accessible games as well.
https://www.vg247.com/evil-dead-the-game-review Evil Dead: The Game Review – A groovy gore-fest, but something’s missing