Evil Dead the Game review: Hail the King, baby

A faithful asymmetrical recreation of the classic film franchise.

evil Dead is the latest 4v1 asymmetrical horror title, this time coming from World War Z developer Saber Interactive.

Following successes like Dead by Daylight, Friday the 13th and Predator hunting grounds, how is this new licensed property going? The answer, really, hinges on your knowledge and love of Sam Raimi’s comedic horror franchise.

Multiplayer

evil Dead draws from every iteration of the franchise: the original diabolical death, Evil Dead 2, comedy-oriented army of darkness and finally the most recent Ash vs Evil Dead TV shows. In its bread and butter, 4v1 online multiplayer space, heroes of all works must work together to chain evil MacGuffin Necronomicon and get rid of the demonic Kandarian menace that the infamous book brought forth.

Compared to people like Dead in broad daylightthere’s a lot to deal with inside evil Dead. Survivors will need to find melee and ranged weapons – and ammo for them – as well as health recovery items in cola, amulets and matches that provide a shield to bring light into the world. With the supplies in hand, you and your team will first need to find three portions of a map which will then lead to a Kandarian dagger and the missing Necronomicon pages.

Whereas the Map Pieces are simply there in the world to be picked up – and you’ll get an idea of ​​which part of the map to search for before an on-screen indicator actually shows you where they are once you are close – the last two can be obtained items require a big fight. Once triggered, your team will need to fall back and tackle any Deadites the player controlling the evil force can throw at you.

You are not done there; with all items accounted for, the team of four will finally have to use the Dagger against the Darkness – essentially by holding down Y while dodging their projectiles and any Deadites that spawn – before a final encounter where you have to keep the Necronomicon while you contain this.

Ideally, your team should move as fast as possible to get the job done before the demon controlling Deadite becomes too powerful, but you have to juggle this brute force attack with proper resource management. A gun isn’t very useful without weaponry, and you’ll definitely need health items as this is a very combat-focused title. If you miss a scenario, you will have to be flooded with matches as a level of fear will constantly build up if you are away from your teammates. If you don’t manage this bar, you will set yourself up to be possessed by the evil player.

If you’re alone and the demon player finds you, you’re essentially grilled, at their will as they spawn baddies that will drain your resources. If you are downed, you can be revived, but this requires another player to support you or collect your soul to be redeployed to an altar. Vehicles can help bridge distances between players (who can still see each other on the map), but they will alert the demon to your presence.

Finally, heroes are divided into different categories that offer unique abilities. Leaders fill their fear levels slower and can buff the abilities of those around them with the press of a button (provided it’s not on cooldown), Warriors have extra health and can inflict more damage. melee damage, Hunters can carry more and have more stamina, and Finally, Supports spawn with items, can carry more items, and can help heal teammates.

Match completion (and achievements) award XP, which can then be fed back into your character. Everyone will have their own progression, but so will you as a general player; you can trade your global XP to power up characters of your choice.

Survivors have a host of skills and special moves to level up, and you can certainly create a character that uses a very different playstyle from another. If you prefer to be a ranged player and attack with well-placed headshots, you can do that…although I’m much happier getting up close with a fire axe. When it comes to combat, you will not only need to deplete your opponents’ health bar, but also a balance bar that will allow you to deliver a crushing finishing blow under the right conditions.

As for the player controlling the demon, you are tasked with collecting hell energy, represented by red orbs, around the map. Three different types of demons have different abilities, with some more tank-like and capable of dealing damage, others that easily possess units, and another that has electricity-based powers.

Demons can possess evil trees, take over vehicles, and infect chests with mini ashes or Ash’s evil hand rather than useful treats. Unable to see survivors at first, once the demon has an idea of ​​where opponents are, they can never truly be lost. The key to the demon is to collect energy, spend it wisely to spawn or possess units, and create boss spawns at choke points or, even better, when a survivor is alone.

While the demons grow stronger by completing the necessary actions, the survivors must find Pink F Flasks in the chests. They’re marked with a distinct audible trigger and it’s important to point out here that once found, each Survivor who hits the chest will receive upgrade items; they are not the exclusive property of the person who finds them. In short, mark each chest you find and encourage your teammates to collect its goodies; you’ll need the extra boost as the match progresses.

The result is sometimes stunning. If you have players who don’t fully understand each part of the game loop, you’re probably going to struggle; they will be of little use or simply die on the map with little chance of being recovered or resurrected. Resources are also extremely limited, and your team of four is basically forced to aggressively grab whatever they can. If a player has all the matches and is separated, you are in contention.

Teamwork and communication are key, and we all know how the internet works. I think friends who gather will have more fun than those who queue solo in games (that is, unless those solo players take on the mantle of the demon).

While things seem largely balanced, it’s much easier to play as a demon once you know what you’re doing because there’s so much less to juggle at the same time. Survivors can handle demon streaks well, but they may not have time to try to reach a light source, so even those in control will soon lose that as they can be possessed and used as a weapon against their teammates rather than an asset.

There are netcode issues that are hard to ignore. Undead will occasionally warp around you when you try to make contact with their head. More frustratingly, you’ll walk up to a fire source and hold down the Y button to light it up only to find that nothing actually happens after all this time. In this case, watch your character carefully – if the “light” interface shows progress but your character does not attempt to light a flame, the game has not correctly registered your intention.

Problems aside (but please work on it, Saber), fans of asymmetrical horror will find a lot to like in evil Deadis multiplayer, just like those who hold evil Dead near and dear to their hearts. If you are both? Even better.

A player

The single player mode is intended for evil Dead Fans. Saber does a terrific job on every level of making this whole package feel like a love letter to the franchise. The visuals and its soundtrack perfectly illustrate this, and parts of the single-player mode do as well.

Players have options when it comes to playing solo; they can team up with AI opponents to tackle “multiplayer” (much like human opponents can take on an AI demon if they choose). True single-player mode comes in the form of five missions that recreate iconic moments from the evil Dead franchise. They make me yearn for a real solo evil Dead game at the same time they make me want to pull my hair out.

Simply put, when it comes to getting back to basics – Ash or Pablo versus the Deadites – it works. When it becomes a boring exercise against a loaded boss after twenty minutes of play without a checkpoint, it’s not. Mission endings feel cheap and unbalanced, and I’m not the first to hope Saber revisits their composition. It’s a shame, because the majority of the experience is a nostalgic and enjoyable frolic.

Despite their chaotic state, missions are essential for finalists and achievement hunters – you’ll find characters like Ash vs Evil Dead‘s Pablo are locked behind them. By far, the mission titled “Kill ‘Em All” proved to be the most frustrating…so much so that we’ve made it a guide here.

Globally

It’s a little rough around the edges at times, but there are some amazing selling points when it comes to evil Dead. It looks, feels, and sounds like procedurals, even down to the motion of the evil presence as it stalks Ash and his friends through the dark, cold woods.

Priced at AUD$60, it’s a little too underdeveloped to be recommended as a single-player game, but evil Dead fans who don’t mind playing online will find themselves devoting hours and hours to it. Those who like 4v1 games will definitely enjoy this too.

evil dead the game is currently available on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5.

evil Dead was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox Series X, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s rating scale.

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