Evil Dead is a cult franchise in every sense of the idea – a variety of divergent media in the realm of comics, games, and merchandise; all humbly originating from a simple premise of a few films: a man sadistically tormented by demonic forces until he’s barking mad. The Evil Dead fans are fanatical for more material, the protagonist Ash is revered along with the man behind him (Bruce Campbell), and the original setting of a quaint little cabin in the wood still reverberates to this day. Have elements all adapted well for an Evil Dead: The Game effectively – the official lore, the classically Evil Dead horror comedy, and the history with which fans feel a connection? Most importantly, is it a fun experience for gamers and not exclusively fans?
As characters, who are each based on the film or show counterparts, quip during explosive bloodshed of hostile hordes, where locations are lovingly and accurately rendered environments of the franchise, there’s certainly a feeling of being a protagonist in the Evil Dead universe – a much-needed feeling for any familiar world being recreated for a player’s expectations. Each character may have a class, but they’re each notably unique and accordingly designed for their role in the movies – Pablo is certainly not a warrior and instead assumes a support role. The four classes (Warrior, Hunter, Support, Leader) each uniquely contribute to the objective respectively: DPS (melee build), possession control (ranged build), healing (variable build) and finally buffing (balanced build). Evil Dead: The Game is correctly atmospheric to not be a generic adventure and also enjoyably thrilling – the bloodshed is euphoric in full splatterpunk mayhem.
You and three other characters will explore a vast map of the Evil Dead universe – locations such as Castle Kandar in Army of Darkness – to complete three core objectives, leveling up as you go and also collecting rarer weapons, whilst a fifth player, who roams around in the notorious ‘chase camera’ of the films, will utilize a variety of powers to sabotage progression. Each of the three demons, including their respective armies, are based on corresponding franchise entries as followed: Necromancer (Army of Darkness), Puppeteer (Ash vs Evil Dead), and Warlord (Evil Dead 2). The demon player will choose an antagonist to determine their playstyle, theme, and also their boss, but they may also level up in the session (or outside for other stats) to define a more personalised build.
A fun mechanic to mirror the films – the demon player may possess any player into a deadite, whose avatar beautifully transforms into one of a demon, once their fear level is maximized; players must thus balance their fear level as an underlying mechanic affecting the pace. The demon’s repertoire, however, also includes also possessing trees, cars, and staging jumpscares – each one pertinent to the universe on which it’s based. Evil Dead: The Game – whether the faithfully voiced and acted characters or the mechanics relating well to either events or lore of the movies/series – is absolutely a passionately crafted game for fans of Evil Dead; objectives smoothly integrate important lore of Evil Dead (Kandarian Dagger, Necronomicon, Dark Ones) and weave these into gameplay without disruption to core entertainment value.
The combat is brutal, intricate, and oh so cathartic: enemies can be numerous and timing is everything as you strive to disbalance the enemies (each having a meter of such) – all culminating in the option for a finisher that produces varied animations. As a depth to skill, you must know also when to deploy a brutal finisher, dodge for a breather, or tactically flee to conserve valuable resources, or even pursue the objectives as time management. The scavenging is also addictive, too, in the downtime between intense combat and the more repetitive objectives – new acquisitions actually upgrade equipment level and develop your skills. Furthermore, the shacks, houses, and cabins are typically shrouded in darkness and decay – it is legitimately spooky to explore these when the audio design is on point (such as the insane screams of deadites).
As asymmetrical multiplayer games becomes increasingly common, there is, unfortunately, a risk of repetition – a redundant meta and tedium of repeating objectives. Fortunately, Evil Dead: The Game offers a delivers satisfying process and does not rely on only the theme to lazily attract dedication – it’s enjoyable to scavenge, level, explore and fight. Each demon also changes the setup significantly to encourage a much-needed variety, but also the character choices are fun to try – each one having personalised skills and a critical, separate role. How the match unfolds will be adequately dynamic enough – where the fights are unleashed, how the team coordinates the objectives and the fluctuating intensity of the antagonist plotting against you.
A player may play as Ash from any of his appearances as a variant, and his charming wit is never short during any of the action – how is that not an immediate sale to any fanboy of Ash Williams throughout his saga? You are promised an abundance of campy one-liners – such as whilst his meek college boy looks of Evil Dead 1 or his hardened, sarcastic self of Evil Dead 3! Nevertheless, Evil Dead: The Game is not only appealing to fans – it is a fun experience with surprising precision to combat and depth as well as teamwork synergy. Whilst it does considerably sacrifices any horror immersion for humour and action frequently, Evil Dead long became an effective balance of these three. Any fan will definitely enjoy slaying skeletons from Army of Darkness and facing Eligo of Ash vs Evil Dead – there are no shortages of affectionately detailed homages in the enemy designs or the set pieces. As an adaptation and asymmetrical game, Evil Dead: The Game is successful as Friday the 13th: The Game (unfairly underrated) – any player will definitely thoroughly enjoy their first dozen or so hours. Replayability will never be infinite and I cannot comment on the competitive scene or those nitpicking after investing hundreds of hours.
For being orientated around action successfully as a rarity in the subgenre, which only Hunt: Showdown surpasses in comparison, it certainly distinguishes itself from peers (Dead by Daylight, Video Horror Society, Identity V) and upcoming competitors (Ghostbusters, Killers Klowns from Outer Space) – players will be much more empowered from their capabilities available and will not simply be evading head-on fights. Although the meta of character customization may be relatively shallow, it affords particular predictability for easier balancing and therefore a refined experience.
As you drive around with companions or shoot a wave of deadites who’re assailing your position, one must admire the scenery, lighting, music, and graphics – Evil Dead: The Game, despite any unpolished moments, is clearly wonderfully designed – a treat for any fan or person appreciative of multiplayer ‘horror actioners’. Nevertheless, there are a few flaws – the single-player experience, essential for certain multiplayer unlocks, is bland and abnormally difficult (no checkpoints) – bosses are also frustrating as bullet sponges. Furthermore, the technical performance on PC is abysmal for any lower-end system – it is unusually demanding without any substantial reason.
Evil Dead: The Game should endure as a solid experience, especially for fans’ outlet to relive their fantasies of reenacting their franchise, and the fundamental framework is there to sustain it – more characters, maps, and villains easily refreshing the experience. I only hope, however, that the player base will persist until further expansion – the fallback alternatives being lackluster in comparison (AI-controlled sessions are never preferable). A tricky situation of multiplayer-dependent games is they require an active player base and the skill margins of active players (compared to new fresh blood) must never become too wide.
Definitely pick up Evil Dead: The Game whilst it is active and newcomers also exist – it should be available as a bargain by now! Furthermore, there’s upcoming DLC that will further complete the Evil Dead universe being represented, supposedly focused on the 2013 remake! It is not only an atmospheric fan service, it is an intensely fun action game of horror motifs and not merely hide-and-seek – an approach few asymmetrical multiplayer games actually accomplish. The balance is also effective – neither side will dominate to a point the other is not having any enjoyment.
Grab a chainsaw or sledgehammer today at S-Mart, so many options for reaping carnage!
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