Evil Dead: The Game Review
Evil Dead: The Game is a fitting homage to the film and TV series that inspired it, hail to the king baby, Ash is back! My full review.
Evil Dead: The Game is an action horror experience splicing the iconic Evil Dead cinematic franchise with an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game. Like the spine tingling multiplayer games that came before it, in Friday the 13th: The Game and Dead by Daylight the game offers many similar tropes, but is also unique in arming players to defeat the forces of darkness. The over-the-top gore, dark humour and bloody battles make this experience a worthy addition to the Evil Dead franchise. Let's rev that chainsaw and cut through all Evil Dead: The Game has to offer.
Evil Dead: The Game Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch (coming soon)
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
Developer(s): Saber Interactive
Publisher(s): Boss Team Games
Genre: Survival horror
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Teamwork makes the dream work
Evil Dead pits a team of four players against a horde of monstrous Deadites controller by one human player. Although the 4v1 survival horror format does borrow heavily from other titles, Evil Dead: The Game still manages to feel like its own unique experience.
Good (Survivors) vs. Evil (Kandarian Demon)
As the survivors team, you'll need to work together in order to complete various phases with an objective at the end. These different stages will take you and your allies across a sprawling, spooky map from different parts of the franchise.
Multi-phase level progression
In the first phase survivors need to secure map pieces and head to various ritual sites. Next, you'll need to seek out the Kandarian Dagger and the lost Necronomicon Ex-Mortis pages which appear on your newly pieced together map. These locations are also shared with the Kandarian Demon who can send evil minions to thwart your team's efforts. This is where all hell breaks loose as your opponent will know where you are headed and send in the "undead calvary."
Pages, daggers and the undead
The objective in this phase is to keep the dagger or pages for a set length of time while battling back swarms of enemies. Then, in order to save the world, you must banish a powerful enemy reinforced by dozens of minions. In the final phase of battle, there is one final stand-off during where you must defend the Necronomicon and survive the onslaught of foes.
Become evil incarnate
On the opposite end of the Evil Dead experience is playing as the all powerful Kadarian Demon. As pure evil spectre you float around the map spawning hordes of enemies, setting traps or going more "hands-on" and playing as undead characters to directly engage the team of survivors. During later stages of the round (and enough levelling up) you can ratchet up the survivors level of fear and eventually possess them and attack their party. The entire process really gets its hooks into you as you battle for supremacy.
Single Player Missions
Evil Dead: The Game also comes with a single player experience to add some variety to the overall package. Make no mistake, the focus of the game is on the multiplayer component, but this a nice addition and offers more fan service. The menu presentation is very cool looking with each level represented as a VHS tape displayed on a CRT T.V. This really doubles down on the old-school horror film experience. Selecting a tape will launch a slice of the Evil Dead story to experience with various objectives. These are a required play through to obtain powerful characters like Pablo from Ash vs. The Evil Dead or Lord Arthur. Unfortunately, the missions are mostly a retread of the multiplayer experience, using the same maps and fetch quests. Completing each objective does give you a brief cutscene that moves the story along via still images.
Ash, I need a save!
The character models and environments look great but there are some puzzling design decisions with the single-player "Missions" mode. The first issue is that there are absolutely no save points during these segments, so if you die you need to completely replay the level. It makes the mode needlessly frustrating, and you end up losing hours if you die. The second is that you are completely alone which goes against one of the main tenants of Evil Dead: using teamwork to win. Finally, there is no co-op functionality so if you want a buddy to help with the fight you're out of luck. Still, it's nice to see some fan service for those who want to fight through the Evil Dead story solo. I really wish more effort went into a further fleshed out single player experience, having this included could have made Evil Dead: The Game one of the best horror games in years. It's still fun to play, it just is very light on content at launch.
Final Thoughts: A bloody good time
Evil Dead: The Game is a gory, gruesome love letter to the Evil Dead franchise and an ode to all things Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. From the maps inspired by locales from the franchise, to iconic weapons like Ash 's chainsaw, every element will excite fans of the series. This isn't for the faint of heart as there are some explicit death animations that wouldn't be out of place in a R-rated horror movie.
The game does have some technical hiccups with audio cutting out, characters getting stuck in geometry and button prompts not always registering. These are by no means deal breakers, and this is an otherwise great package. If you're a fan of the Evil Dead franchise you owe it to yourself to check out this game. It's gory, gruesome fun that captures the spirit of the movies. The multiplayer is where the game shines, but even the single player missions are worth checking out. Just be prepared for some frustration if you die and have to start from the beginning. As it stands, it's still a bloody good time and a game horror fans shouldn't pass up.
Evil Dead: The Game PROS
+ Online multiplayer is a lot of fun and highly addictive
+ Great fan service for Evil Dead fans
+ Fun playing as both survivors and demons
+ Expansive cast of characters with meaningful progression
Evil Dead: The Game CONS
-Single player / story mode is a retread of multiplayer maps
-Only 2 maps to play on at launch
-The multi-phase online experience can drag on with little variety in objectives
-Technical glitches like inactive button prompts and getting stuck on level geometry hamper the experience.
Overall Rating: 30.5/40 (76%)
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.