Now listen up you primitive screwheads...
As a massive fan of the whole Evil Dead franchise, I was more than a little bit excited to get the chance to review the latest video game instalment, Evil Dead: The Game. Developed by Saber Interactive, who also published the game with Boss Team Games, Evil Dead: The Game is an affectionate tribute to Sam Raimi’s horror franchise. Well, hello Mister Fancy Pants, it’s available to buy on all of these platforms – Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of this review, I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
With this being another asymmetrical style multiplayer horror game such as the likes of Dead By Daylight, Friday the 13th and Left 4 Dead, you could be forgiven for thinking “why would I play this instead of any of the other games like this?”. Well, let me tell you why! While Evil Dead: The Game does indeed bear some similarities, it is a whole unique experience onto its own. Also it’s honestly worth it just to hear some memorable Ash J. Williams quotes voiced by the man himself, Bruce Campbell. You can play in a team of 4 survivors, either with other players or with computer AI. Your objective is a simple one. You must destroy the Dark Ones and banish the necronomicon (The Book of the Dead) back to the Underworld. To do this, you need to find and collect 3 lost pages of the necronomicon which have been scattered across a fairly sizable map. Once you have these, you will then need to collect the necronomicon and Kandarian dagger which are the only things that can destroy the Dark Ones. Next up you will have to defeat the Dark Ones and then banish the necronomicon back to the Underworld, all while trying to fend off the evil Kandarian demon. Now it doesn’t seem so simple right? Well that’s because it is far from an easy task to claim victory. As a survivor, you are going to have to scavenge for weapons which include axes, knives, spears, and of course Ash’s beloved chainsaw, as well as ammunition, health items, defensive items, and even in-game upgrades if you are to succeed in banishing the book of the dead back to whence it came. The upgrades are very important because, as you progress through each game, the demon becomes stronger and stronger so you need these upgrades in order to stand any chance of winning. You have to do all of this while trying to manage your fear level. If your fear level gets too high, the demon can find you quickly and possess you. You can reduce your fear by lighting bonfires or standing under any source of light.
Your other option is to play as the Kandarian demon as you try to stop the humans in their bid to destroy the necronomicon. You will fly around the map collecting infernal energy which is your power and allows you to carry out all of your ghastly actions in the game such as setting traps for the survivors or summoning deadites. As you collect the infernal energy and use it, your threat level will also increase and you will level up which gives you the ability to summon more deadites, stronger deadites and also your boss deadite. Like the survivors, the demon also gets the chance to perform in game upgrades to make various aspects of your gameplay stronger. The location of the survivors will appear to you if they start driving a car or if their fear level gets too high. Once you locate the survivors and catch up to them, then it's time to start having fun. Set traps for them and portals to summon deadites and once their fear level inevitably gets high enough, you can possess them which gives you control of their character for a short period of time. This is great as you can use this to attack and damage the other survivors and also increase their fear level. You also have a charge attack which doesn’t inflict any damage but if successful will perform a jump scare on the selected survivor. This raises their fear level quite drastically so is a very useful tool for the demon player. Unless you come up against a team of well co-ordinated survivors, it felt like I was always in control of the game when playing as the demon. It is a lot of fun and very satisfying. Just like the survivors, you get the choice to play as the demon against other players or computer AI.
Make no bones about it, this game is tough, very tough. In most instances, it felt like the demon was very overpowered. If you come up against a good demon player, I feel like it would be almost impossible to win as a survivor. I think as players become more familiar with the game and learn how to play better that this will change, but for now at least, I definitely felt like the demon was very very strong.
There are 13 playable survivors in total, 4 of which you have to unlock by playing through the single player missions. As you complete games, you earn skill points which can be used to upgrade each character's abilities.
There are 4 different classes of survivors which include Leader, Hunter, Warrior and Support. Each survivor character has a special ability which can be used during the game. It is wise to take note of your ability before you start the match so you can learn how to best use each one to your advantage. It’s also a good idea to have a variety of classes in each team, for example, a team with 4 warriors will probably do a lot worse than if you had a team with one of each class. Each class brings its own advantage to the fight.
You can choose from 3 playable demon classes which are puppeteer, warlord and necromancer. Again, each of these have their own unique abilities and strengths. The puppeteer is geared more towards possession of deadites and survivors. The warlord will summon more tank-like deadites, while the necromancer allows you to summon an army of skeletons to go to town on the survivor players. It takes a little bit of time to get to grips with each different class here but I really did have a lot of fun messing with the survivors.
Currently, the game only has 2 multiplayer maps with a 3rd on the way but each map, although fairly similar in design, is big enough that only having two really didn’t feel as though anything was getting boring or repetitive.
Evil Dead: The Game also comes with the option to play 6 short single player missions. These missions can unlock various pieces of lore, new costumes, and playable characters for the multiplayer modes. The single player content seems a bit sparse, but my goodness is it tough. I have been unable as yet, to get past the 3rd mission. There are no checkpoints in these missions, so if you die, you have to restart the missions from the beginning. This is extremely frustrating and makes the missions very tough to complete. Just one checkpoint half way through each mission would be so much better and much less frustrating.
This all sounds really… groovy right? Well unfortunately, even though I truly wanted it to be, Evil Dead: The Game is not perfect by any means. The controls felt very clunky and unnatural. There were a few times where my button presses did not register straight away when trying to light bonfires, get into cars or vault over walls. Probably the most frustrating thing that I found was the lack of ability to climb up onto even the smallest of steps or platforms. If I was running through the woods and came to a path, but the path was elevated even slightly, you can’t just step up onto the path. You have to run all the way round until the elevation of the path matches that of the elevation of the level you are currently standing. This is something that definitely needs to be addressed in future updates. It sounds like a minor issue, but I cannot tell how annoying and frustrating this is in-game. It seems a bit stupid that I can vault over fences and walls but I cant step or climb up to a level that's only a couple of foot higher than where I am standing already. While playing as a survivor, there were so many times I got stun-locked when the demon player was attacking me. There didn’t seem to be any break in the attacks long enough for me to dodge. The Kandarian demon is difficult to control as you try to fly around the map and never feels like you are in complete control.
Visually, on PlayStation 5 at least, this game is absolutely stunning. It really does look so good. In true Evil Dead style, this is an absolute blood and gore fest. As you are hacking away at deadites, blood splatters all over the camera and completely covers everything. The animations when performing finishers are incredible - they are so brutal and incredibly satisfying to watch.
The sound effects are also wonderful and really add to the immersion. The music is dark and eerie and fits perfectly with the game. Many of the original cast have come back to voice their characters which is a lovely touch. Some of the voice lines really made me smile.
It really feels like the developers were also big fans of the franchise and a lot of care and incredible attention to detail has gone in with regards to referencing the movies and TV series. It’s a wonderful thing to see. I do, however, worry about how much life this game will have in it for the future. The developers have already announced that some extra content is on the way including a new map and I can definitely see scope to add some more single player content and maybe a couple more characters from the franchise, but I really hope this doesn’t burn out too soon and fade away into the darkness, because I really feel like they have the potential to make this the best asymmetrical multiplayer horror game out there.
So to sum up, Evil Dead: The Game is a bloody, brutal and incredibly fun trip into the world of Evil Dead. Yes, this is yet another asymmetrical online multiplayer, but for me, it has more than enough unique selling points to stand on its own. Even with a few little annoying issues, I really, REALLY enjoyed hacking and slashing my way through armies of the undead. This is a MUST BUY for any fans of the franchise and I would even urge anyone who has never seen or heard of Evil Dead to take a punt on this and give it a try. So I guess that only leaves one more thing left to say… Hail to the king baby. Oh, and remember, shop smart, shop S-Mart.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 4.5 decapitated deadites out of 5.
For more information on Evil Dead: The Game please use the following links...
Many thanks to Honest PR for the Review Key.