Evil Dead: Game Review (PS5)

As a complete sucker for asymmetrical multiplayer and vintage horror movies, you better believe I was excited about the prospect of Evil Dead: The Game. With its wacky cast of characters and love of over-the-top gore, I’m hard pressed to think of an IP that’s perhaps more suited to asymmetric multiplayer processing than Evil Dead.

With this in mind, do Evil Dead: The Game does he manage to reach the lofty heights of subsequent movies and TV series, or does he crumble like a lifeless corpse just decimated by Ash’s chainsaw? Let’s dissect (totally intentional pun).

Seeping authenticity

Evil Dead: The Game

So, I’ll cut to the chase; if you are a fan of evil Dead and multiplayer games, then Evil Dead: The Game will be a literal dream come true for you. With a massive cast of characters spanning every movie and the TV series, plus three armies of demons to support when playing as the Demon Kandarian, the level of fan service here is unmatched. Whether you play as Ash, Cheryl, or own Evil Ash as the demon Kandarian, each character and monstrosity has been painstakingly recreated to accurately replicate their big and small screen counterparts.

This is a project that was clearly a labor of love for developers Saber Interactive and screams of a game that was made by fans of the source material, for fans of the source material. Every moment in the game is dripping with authenticity, and whether you’re spinning Ash’s chainsaw as he does his corny jokes or lifting skeletal minions off the ground as a Kandarian demon, it’s an experience that will keep you entertained. firmly integrated into the mad world of evil Dead. Luckily, he doesn’t play half bad either.

nightmarish adventures

Evil Dead: The Game

If you played something like Dead in broad daylight or the relatively recent adaptation of Friday 13andyou already have a good idea of ​​how Evil Dead: The Game asymmetrical hijinks play out. Playing as survivors, teams of four must work together on fairly large maps, completing various objectives along the way, hopefully on the way to victory.

Victory in Evil Dead: The Game ultimately comes to seal the Necronomicon in a final showdown against the demon Kandarian, but there’s a lot to do before reaching that ultimate encounter. Players must first secure three map pieces, each laid out in a different location on the map, before then heading to various ritual sites where they must secure the Kandarian Dagger and the Lost Necronomicon Pages.

While collecting the Map Pieces is generally uneventful, things get really spicy once the dagger and page locations are revealed on the map. With these locations also visible to the Kandarian Demon, the action suddenly focuses on these small areas, where players must hold for a while before the dagger or pages are secured while being bombarded by enemies. After that, you’ll then have to engage in another set piece that will see you banish a group of powerful entities from the world, again while being absolutely hammered by enemies, all before the final showdown in which you will need to defend the Necronomicon as it is sealed.

Diverse and impactful combat

Evil Dead: The Game

Luckily, the survivors are well equipped for the job, with each of the 13 belonging to a specific class and equipped with their own unique abilities. Cheryl, for example, can drop healing auras and passively heal the team whenever she uses a health consumable, while other characters are more focused on extra damage or defense, like Henry the Red, that can take tons of damage. and equip additional shields.

This diversity among the characters is welcome and perfectly complements the already satisfying combat. The maps have a variety of melee and ranged weapons scattered around the location, which, aside from a few limitations such as Ash being the only one capable of wielding a chainsaw, can be equipped by any character. Crossbows, rifles, shovels and, of course, the trusty boomstick all pop up and handle with a satisfying heft that makes dispatching demonic hordes a truly visceral and gory pleasure.

The only notable issue I can point out with combat is the confusing decision to apply a rarity scaling to weapons scattered across the map. Taking the approach of countless ARPGs and looter shooters, loot comes in color-coded tiers, ranging from Common to Legendary, with Legendary loot being extremely hard to find. In the context of this world, it makes absolutely no sense for loot to be prioritized in this way and it feels like an arbitrary way to slow down the player’s build-up in any given match. This can make gearing up well for the later stages of a match an exercise in frustration, and if you go into those final battles with just a common weapon (which can happen quite often), well, be prepared to really hitting the wall of the balance issues that currently exist between survivors and the Demon Kandarian.

Demonic Delights

Evil Dead: The Game

Before I get into these questions, I just want to be clear; playing as the Kandarian Demon is an absolute blast, and easily my favorite way to engage with Evil Dead: The Game. Roam the map in first-person as survivors try to complete clear objectives, playing as the demon sees you sucking infernal energy, which can then be spent to deploy minions, boss characters, possess objects and minions (and later the survivors themselves), and setting traps to torment the opposition.

As you do all of this, the demon gains power, levels up in threat level, which in turn allows upgrade points to be spent on things like giving more health to your minions, becoming more efficient at possession and reducing cooldowns on the frequency. you can spawn elite enemies and bosses. It’s a total hoot as you cause mayhem and try to derail the survivors, causing their fear meters to increase. As their fear increases, they become more visible on the map and eventually open themselves up to possession, in which case you can take control of them and turn them against their allies for a short time .

And that’s fine, honestly. The amount of thought that has gone into making the Demon Kandarian just as, if not more fun to play than the Survivors, is amazing. Watching your diabolical plans successfully unfold on screen is a satisfaction unlike anything I’ve experienced in any other asymmetrical multiplayer title. However, as fun as it is, you can’t help but feel that this is all a bit unfair given the current state of the game when it comes to balance.

Hellish balance issues

Evil Dead: The Game

See, as the survivors scour the map, desperate for something more effective than the handgun peashooter they first stumbled upon, the demon Kandarian doesn’t face the same fight to get himself. powering. As long as you set traps, spawn minions, and pick up hell energy, this threat level will continue to grow and grow.

By taking the Warlord class, which has absolutely become the meta go-to for demon players, it’s entirely possible to have increased the durability of your skeleton minions and boss spawns to the extent that by the time survivors are ready to play for daggers and lost pages, victory is almost guaranteed. Couple that with the Warlord’s ability to resurrect dead allies and the speed at which fear meters can fill up to make it easier to possess survivors, victory is often all but guaranteed within the first ten minutes of a match.

Despite all of this, while I’d love to see competitive matches become more mainstream, I honestly don’t care if the whole experience is that unbalanced. Even being at the end of a crushing one-sided defeat, the core combat and gameplay loops of Evil Dead: The Game are so much fun that even a complete landslide loss doesn’t seem like a waste of time. And that says a lot about the tremendous work that Saber Interactive has done to bring this universe to life.

In For the long term

Evil Dead: The Game

Meta-progression systems also mitigate the frustrations of a devastating loss, which will be the real hook for people who intend to stick around for the long haul.

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you will be rewarded after each match with experience which will translate into skill points when leveling up. These can then be spent on a massive set of skill trees, allowing for permanent buffs to things like damage, healing abilities, and overall defense. There’s an awful lot of work to be done, with each character and demon variant having its own skill tree, and anyone who wants to consider maxing out a skill tree will need to spend a lot of time on Evil Dead: The Game.

I’m sure there will be a lot of complaints about the slow leveling, and I’d be inclined to agree. Even after about a week of putting in a good number of hours each night, I’m still far from unlocking the best skills for my principals, Cheryl and the Warlord. As far as demonic skill trees go, that’s not much of an issue, but with survivors already on the wrong side of the balance equation, having the skills and game-changing buffs locked out behind such a grind may discourage some people. .

That being said, there’s no denying that it adds to the longevity of the package. Between single-player missions that show you the ropes of the game while taking you through iconic moments from evil Dead story, and the skill tree draw for the massive roster of characters and demons, this is hands down the most comprehensive asymmetrical multiplayer game I’ve seen at launch.

Conclusion

Evil Dead: The Game is an experience that overflows with an appreciation for the source material from every pore, while delivering a gaming experience that delivers fun and scares in spades. For players looking to delve deeper into character progression and team compositions, there is an absolute wealth of content available to level up and experiment with. While the initial balance issues can’t be ignored, even those struggle to stop me from going back given how much fun can still be had, despite Saber Interactive’s need to create a more level playing field. If you like asymmetrical multiplayer or evil Deadthen grab those boomsticks, you won’t be disappointed.


Final verdict: 4/5

Available on: PS5 (revised), PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC; Editor; Interactive Saber; Developer; Interactive Saber; Players: 1-5; Released: May 13, 2022; ESRB: M for Mature; MSRP: $39.99

Full disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.