Evil Dead is the series i did not follow very much, yet aware of their presence in the movie industry. Resident Evil was more of my kind, most likely due i could also play it on my old PSX.
When i heard Evil Dead: The Game is on the works, i wonder how it could work out. Not every movie could be made into playable game, so i had my doubts and expectations. Lets see how good the Saber Interactive’s Evil Dead: The Game looks.
Fear Against The Dark
Evil Dead: The Game is a multiplayer-oriented game. There are 4 survivors trying to keep dark at bay and aim to cleanse the world, while the evil-player (aka demon) tries to hold off survivors. When you play as survivor, the atmosphere catches you fast (especially on first runs) and limited-to-none ammunition makes you feel more desperate. Melee weapons have unlimited durability, but you will always look for better ones in rarity. Rarity is available for weapons as well with improved stats.
One of the fundamental mechanics of the game is fear meter. Which fills up whenever you are in dark or trigger some traps. You get your fear meter increase more when you are alone as well. High fear meter means you can be get possessed by evil-player. You can get some jumpscares out of thin air and those will move you from your chair when you are concentrated.
As evil-player, you try to push fear meter of the survivors, while trying to stall them or directly make them dead. Since you get more powerful by time, every bit of tactic helps you. You can open portals and make your units spawn, make a tree ‘boo’ at the survivors or just directly possess one of your minions and get old-school action, rather than a strategy-like game. The balance is just right to make both sides feel entertained.
Pages Of The Fear
There is only one scenario, which starts with we try to collect 3 pages from a large map with couple locations. The maps and their locations stay same, yet the pages and other objectives move around each game. When collecting pages, game just tells you the location of the next objective but not directly where to look.
For the next objectives, players need to stay in an area for a while, however this creates perfect opportunity for evil-player to throw whatever they have at you, since if you get overwhelmed and leave the area, you lose some precious time.
In moments like these, the skill and synergies makes most of use. There are 4 different Survivor classes, Leaders, usually enhance rest of the groups power and less effected by Fear sources, while Hunter class makes more out of ranged weapons. There are total 13 characters to choose from, with each having their own skill tree. Not all characters unlocked at first, we’ll get more on that later.
Similarly, demon has some classes as well, each kinda shifts what is your first moves would be for a while, yet all shares same goal at the end. Since you are all alone in your demon playthrough, adapting one class right after another is much easier than on survivors.
Lets Get Evil
The game plays out well, especially with proper teammates. Right now, the matchmaking is new and i did not figured out if it is skill or level based, or none, since matches depend on making the right strategy at the end of the day (night?).
This gets a bit frustrating though, when someone on your team decides to be lone wolf for some reason and takes nearest car with them. It may help to split 2-2 in certain occasions (for first two pages for example), but that split could bite back easily with a clever evil-player.
Game controls are a bit clunky, i couldnt feel the flow whenever i am doing an interaction. With the dim atmosphere being cherry on top, you feel stressed until a hand coming out from a chest, attacking and middle fingers you when its going back to void. Those moments are scary first, then just a breathing room for you since they cannot be interrupted even with enemy attacks.
With a game every thing is there for a reason, for example, flashlight in houses makes you be able to find more items, soda heals you and amulet is basically armor, you cannot jump. That could be overlooked if there is no little uneven terrain you feel easy to go through or directly stuck at somewhere. Dying is no-turn-back situation so it is very frustrating to lose in those situations. This adds element to be careful where you step when you move, yet i dont think it is intended way to play at all.
Game did not give me any performance issues on my system, yet the scrolling through menu is even a do-wait sequence similar to animations. The graphics look good and crossplay works as intended. I asked Samet Basri Taşlı, one of my colleagues at Wallbang to his thoughts about PlayStation 5 version’s performance:
“I played the Playstation 5 version of the game and I am very satisfied with the overall performance. The lighting and reflection effects are quite good, the models look very nice. The map is divided into several zones, each with its own unique atmosphere, beautifully rendered. I did not experience any noticeable FPS loss in the game running at 60 FPS.
The game has crossplay support, so you can play the game with your friends or other people no matter what platform you are on. That’s great, after all, one of the most important points in this type of game is the number of players. Moreover, with crossplay, finding other players is not as problematic as some games (Tiny Tina’s Wonderland). We also played with 2 Playstation, 1 Xbox and 1 PC players in the same match and finished the map without any problems. Crossplay works fine.”
Go Get Them Ash! (no, seriously)
The game has some single player scenarios, called Missions, for you to complete alone. Those can unlock some recordings, as well as cosmetics and new characters. That is a good addition for newbies, even when they are basically go-grab missions. There are good details like your girlfriend’s head speaking to you while you are on your way to finish it off for good. There is not much of them to complete. But the no-checkpoints mechanic ensures that you play at least few of them repeatedly. Arent we all okay to some die and come back from start nostalgia?
Aside from Missions, you can train yourself with real game scenario versus AI, yet those do not reward any experience. I couldnt find it written somewhere though, only to learn i have spent 30 minutes for nothing.
In the end, i can say Evil Dead: The Game is one of the better adaptations of movie franchises. It will decide its lifespan by how much it will get supported in the following months. I would like to see some improvements on gameplay as well, but for sure the game’s future looks more bright than it is atmosphere. Do not let that candle extinguish!