Fans of horror are living in a great era. Every year, it appears that a few big horror titles are adapted into games, most often in the asymmetrical multiplayer category.
Casting a group of friends as helpless survivors against another player chasing them as a mysterious adversary is always a good concept on paper, even if the final results can differ greatly. This basic concept is maintained throughout Evil Dead: The Game.
Even though there is a brief tutorial that sets you up for the start as a survivor and a demon, in-canon narrators guide you through each stage in actual battles. However, if you’re ever unsure of what you should be doing, your present goal is also openly stated at the upper right of the screen.
Another problem with these types of games, which is that survivors are frequently defenseless against the bad guys, is addressed in Evil Dead: The Game.
In Friday the 13th and Dead by Daylight, your only true choice is to flee from your pursuers, just as Tommy Jarvis is no match for Jason Voorhees’ machete. But Ash Williams, wonderfully voiced by the game’s original performer Bruce Campbell, doesn’t simply possess a chainsaw arm for nothing.
When you see deadites, you ought to and must give them despair. Axes, hammers, pistols, shotguns, and all sorts of arsenals can be found over the map, and they don’t just stun the demons, they slay them.
Taking the position of a brave survivor as part of a squad of four, or a lone Kandarian Demon out to kill the four of them, Evil Dead is a game that delivers fun, even if you don’t usually enjoy this type of thing. What Evil Dead gets right is — and you might want to settle down for this — making it fun to play as both a survivor and an evil being.
The survivor action has a Battle Royale vibe to it, as the safe area shrinks as you accomplish tasks. The pressure mounts as the Demon player progresses, gaining more and more power, including the ability to transform into a devastating “boss” Deadite — Evil Ash from Army of Darkness is one of them — who hit harder than any summon and allows the Demon to deal devastating damage to players for as long as they’re active.
The strategy on each side is based on planning and timing, with the chances usually tilted against the survivors due to the Demon’s ability to conjure more and more Deadites as the game progresses, including the ability to release more powerful monsters more frequently.
Let’s start with the surviving squad. Taking charge of your chosen human (think different forms of Ash from the series, characters like Ed and Annie from Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, Pablo and Kelly from Ash vs Evil Dead, and so on), you must track down four parts of a map across one of the (currently) two massive areas.
Once these have been located, you must obtain both the missing sections of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis and a centuries-old Kandarian dagger. Finally, it’s time to go locate the Necronomicon and banish the evil Dark Ones, ensuring victory for the good people.
Of course, you can’t expect to do this without opposition, and the Demon player will do everything they can to fight. Fortunately, you can battle back using both types of weapons (shotguns and chainsaws are included) and different abilities and boosts, which can be improved as you level up each character.
Meanwhile, the Demon player controls the evil “Force” seen in the Evil Dead films, flying around each map in first-person and collecting Infernal Energy, which is then spent on summoning Deadite creatures, jump-scaring players, and creating scare traps by possessing trees, cars, and chests that survivors may be browsing through at any time.
It’s amusing, especially when you own a vehicle that players are driving and dispatch it off to who knows where to use up their time. You can also possess players who have become fearful enough (in-game, of course) and have them assault their own pals — though we liked sending them on a wild goose pursuit and squandering everyone’s time.
It’s mostly a multiplayer game, but there are some single-player tasks to accomplish in order to acquire more characters and variants. Unfortunately, they are easily the worst portion of the game, so dull that we would have preferred their elimination.
When the content is as poor as this, less is more; perfunctory run-around of the game’s areas that appear to have been tossed in out of duty rather than the creators having any truly fascinating ideas for them. Worse, they can be glitchy — and having the “safe zone” suddenly flicker off and cause you to perish twenty minutes into an already-unfun task with no checkpoints is a nightmare. We have to say no.
We could disregard it if there were no rewards connected to it. An inevitable but minor flaw in an otherwise enjoyable game.
Here Are All The Available Platforms:
- Nintendo Switch
- PlayStation 5
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X
- Xbox Series S
Evil Dead: The Game is a great asymmetric multiplayer game that, like its inspiration, is far better than it has any right to be, despite an irritating lack of polish and a dearth of areas and options. Playing as a survivor is a fantastic cooperative shooter/slasher experience, despite frequent issues with janky level geometry that leads to unfair deaths, while playing is simply fantastic, thanks to the amusingly fiendish ways you can mess with the other team.
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