In terms of films, The Evil Dead series has a track record of being far better than it has any right to be, low-budget faults and all Evil Dead: The Game is in the same boat. While it has a lot of things that irritate me, like minor inclines that my wimpy survivor couldn’t climb, finicky command prompts, and so on, it also succeeds overwhelmingly in being a balanced, compelling battle of wits graphically mind-blowing games and reflexes that has kept my attention for more than 20 hours which is no small feat.
Apart from the clunkiness, playing as a survivor captures the horror movie sensation of banding together to defeat an overwhelming evil menace, while playing as the threatening demon is a diabolically enjoyable misadventure that fulfils the malicious genius ideal.
Evil Dead Features
Yes, Evil Dead: The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer game in the tradition of Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th, but it’s done in a wacky, Bruce Campbell smothered style that’s every bit as bizarre and campy as the cult classic films. Mechanically, it’s not very innovative in each match, four playable survivors must work together to escape being maimed long enough to conduct a rite that would rid the country of all evil, all while experiencing the full misery of the map’s geometry.
Simultaneously, one evil player uses an army of zombie troops and a bag of devilish tactics so deliciously pleasurable that it’s difficult to feel sorry for the unfortunate people who have succumbed to your dreadful might. Even when its rough edges make me scream louder than any jump fright, that game of cat and mouse is an incredible delight no matter which side you’re on.
It differs from its genre counterparts in that the humans are capable of self-defense. Surviving as a survivor seems like a classic squad-based third-person shooter that draws heavily from the battle royale format, in which you go about as a squad seeking for loot and killing adversaries as you gradually level up.
Tasks to Perform
Only this time, your goal isn’t simply to survive, but to complete tasks such as discovering map pieces and defending places in order to claim relics for the cleansing procedure. With a variety of combat and ranged weapons to discover, as well as 13 characters to pick from, each with their own set of powers and skill trees to level up, the game’s progression system drew me in right away with all the numerous ways things might go.
Hunter class players, for example, excel at utilising ranged weapons and have skills that make them a significant pain in the demon player’s side, such as one especially excellent character who can evict demons from bodies they’ve inhabited. Alternatively, you may play as Lord Arthur, an amusing old-timey knight who swings a sword and can boost the squad with effects that make them more dangerous in fight.
With all the numerous ways things might play out, the progression system hooked me early on.
The worst aspect about playing as a survivor is that you’re more likely to encounter Evil Dead’s trademark clunkiness when travelling across the landscape. There is no jump button, and the settings are often uneven, so you’ll constantly find yourself trapped on a little rock or other minor barrier even at the most inconvenient times, like when a demon is attempting to rip your face off.
Sometimes a suggestion will enable you to climb over modest barriers, but more often than not, even something as simple as a low hedge wall will need you to walk all the way around it. Meanwhile, the devil can fly over everything, making the errors as asymmetrical as the game’s architecture.
Aside from being trapped in a life-or-death battle with small pebbles, you’ll have to contend with a lack of a lock-on system when fighting undead mobs, finicky interaction prompts to do things like light a campfire or revive a fallen teammate that frequently fail to register during critical moments, your character freezing in place for several seconds for no apparent reason, and more.
Safe Zone Concept
The incredibly unpleasant safe zone concept, which confines your team to a progressively constricted region as the play progresses, is perhaps my biggest pet hate. If you’ve ever played a battle royale game, you’ll be familiar with the concept, but Evil Dead takes it to the next level by making the safe zone changes unexpected, fatal very instantaneously if you cross them, and highly variable.
I’ve had entire matches ruined because my team finished an objective only for the safe zone to jump to another portion of the map a few seconds later, trapping half of the squad in an inevitable death zone and putting an end to any possibility of winning. That’s quite aggravating.
Making fun of the survivors with godlike abilities is a goal that never gets old. Fortunately, playing as one of the three playable demons has less drawbacks, owing to the fact that you play as a flying sphere of evil that can swiftly hover around the area and screw with the survivors with godlike abilities, which is an aim that never gets old.
That’s in part because Evil Dead gives you so many options for achieving your nefarious goal: you can summon hordes of computer-controlled enemies for the survivors to fight, set traps that spawn enemies and increase their fear when sprung, or even possess undead characters to control them directly, making them even stronger and more difficult to deal with.
Furthermore, by frightening the human team with traps or demonic skills and dividing them from one another, you get the opportunity to possess the survivors for a brief period, turning them against their own comrades, which may be catastrophic.
Another funny approach to win is to just waste the survivors’ time by taking control of their automobile and driving it down a cliff, forcing them to spend important time roaming about on foot, or by taking control of a tree and smacking humans in the face while they attempt to relax around a campfire.
All the while, you’re levelling up and obtaining increasingly powerful demonic skills, until only the most determined and skilled players have a chance against you, and it’s all so gloriously nasty. In this type of game, I generally prefer to play as the survivors rather than the monster, but Evil Dead quickly won my heart it’s certainly the finest monster mode I’ve ever seen.
It’s simply so deliciously nasty. Of course, once you’ve mastered both survivor and demon modes, there’s not much more to do than grind for XP and level up your characters. And, while I was easily lost in over 25 hours of battles, the package does feel a little thin on substance in some areas, particularly when it comes to maps.
There are just two, and while they’re both very vast and include a few unique sections, after a dozen or so battles, I started to notice that I was seeing a lot of the same places over and over, which wore down Evil Dead’s freshness. You can only spend so much time in a derelict doll factory before you feel like you’ve seen all there is to see in a derelict doll factory and wish you could see some other sorts of failing enterprises, ya know?
Evil Dead: The Game – April 2022 Screenshots
Single-player missions are necessary to unlock some of the coolest characters in Evil Dead: The Game, such as Pablo from Ash vs. The Evil Dead or the renowned King Arthur himself, but these missions are without a doubt the worst aspect of the game.
While they are meant to be palate cleansers for the multiplayer centric experience, they end up being monotonous slogs over the same map sections where you do a few fetch quests, battle a few foes, and receive snatches of plot via still pictures that crop up to disrupt your playing. They’re not only boring, but they also lack checkpoints, meaning you may die and lose 20 minutes of progress, forcing you to start over.
Because you’re playing alone as a survivor in a mode that seems tacked on, flaws like the aforementioned poor safe zones function, which destroyed numerous runs by shifting safety zones to other sections of the map without notice and quickly killing me, are exaggerated enormously.
They even had the guts to try stealth mechanics in one of the missions, which worked about as well as you’d expect and made me wonder if the unlocked characters were worth it. The good news is that there are only five missions to complete, and after you’ve completed all, you’ll never have to do them again, but completing them all is a horrible process.
Evil Dead: The Game is a fantastic asymmetric multiplayer game that, like its original material, is far better than it deserves to be, considering its irritating lack of polish and limited map and mode selection. Playing as a survivor is a fantastic cooperative shooter experience, despite frequent issues with janky level geometry that leads to unfair deaths and other questionable design choices.
While playing as the evil mastermind is downright fantastic thanks to the amusingly fiendish ways you can mess with the other team. The single-player story missions are a depressing mess that I could have skipped if I hadn’t been compelled to play them for unlocks, but the rest of the game lives up to the iconic goofy films that inspired it.
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- May 20, 2022