It’s time to explode viscera! Ash Williams is back, but this time it’s not to chop up demons in a new cinematic adventure by Sam Raimi, but rather in a video game production. But does this Evil Dead: The Game live up to the original films?
“THIS IS A MAGIC WAND! A DOUBLE BARREL REMINGTON”
“Tatre put trobeen ha zar Kanda! Kandaaa! Kaaandaaa!“, a poor unconscious has again read the evil lines of the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. It was enough to bring back a horde of demons on planet Earth and the good old Ash Williams who had nevertheless decided to take his retirement after the conclusion of the Ash vs. Evil Dead series in 2018. Yes, for the fortieth anniversary of Sam Raimi’s cinematic saga, all these beautiful people have given themselves an appointment in Evil Dead: The Game. like many games that pay homage to the horrific licenses of the 80s – we are thinking here of Friday the 13th, Predator: Hunting Grounds and, to a lesser extent, Dead by Daylight –, Evil Dead: The Game opts for asymmetrical multiplayer gameplay. On the one hand, it invites players to join a team of four survivors, and on the other, to embody the demon of Kandar.
Let’s start with the survivors who have a gameplay more or less similar to what can be found in an action game in third person view. Here, the objective is simple: once the group is balanced on one of the two maps of the game, it must fulfill a series of objectives (find three pieces of the map, a scroll, and Kandar’s dagger) in order to once again annihilate the evil that is eating away at the Necronomicon. To do so, you obviously have to work as a team, since like the heroes of Friday the 13th or those of Dead By Daylight, the latter are easy prey when they stand isolated from the rest of the group. . A solitary hero is obviously more fragile and also sees his fear gauge increase more quickly, which darkens the player’s screen, makes him more detectable in the eyes of the demon and above all more vulnerable (we’ll come back to this). However, unlike the two aforementioned productions, in Evil Dead: The Game, a well-armed solitary player can still defend himself, since it is possible to make the powder speak and smash skulls with well-placed tatanes; this is also where Saber Interactive’s multiplayer production stands out from the competition. Once the beginnings of the game have been completed – which consists of searching the various barracks to stock up on weapons and resources –, the title is a real action game that gives pride of place to confrontations. Always nervous and dynamic, the fights are constantly punctuated by a rain of hemoglobin and jaw-dropping finish-moves. In other words, the brawls between survivors and mutants are a real eye-catcher, especially since we have the right to a diversified arsenal ranging from a simple pistol to a pump-action shotgun, including a crossbow and a multitude of hand-to-hand weapons. -body (shovel, baseball bat, cleaver, chainsaw, etc.).
Different characters for different classes:
Even if the cooperation aspect is mainly highlighted by the sharing of resources and mutual aid between players when a hero is down, Evil Dead: The Game offers several playable characters. These come from the various films in the saga and even from the series: players can embody multiple versions of Ash Williams, but also Annie Knowbury, Lord Arthur, Pablo Simon Bolivar and many others, all of whom have their own characteristics. . Cheryl Williams, Ash’s sister, plays the role of support and restores life to the whole group, Linda B. Emery can fire without using her ammo and the Ash version of Ash vs. Evil Dead stuns all nearby enemies. All these powers can also be improved at the end of the game through a skill tree unique to each hero. You understood, if you play with friends, there is enough to constitute a robust team.
Nevertheless, although spectacular, this “action” bias lacks a bit of adjustment and balance. He makes the survivors feel like he’s controlling super-powered heroes, not being at the mercy of the demon, which goes against the very genre that wants to create a horrifying and anxiety-inducing atmosphere. This feeling is further amplified when playing with friends. Against a close-knit team, the demon has almost no chance of winning.
Evil Dead: The Game: We survive with class despite a broken team
“SOMEBODY IS IN MY CELLAR”
Devilishly opposed gameplay-wise, playing Kandar’s demon mostly results in controlling an on-board camera that floats in the air; a more than welcome idea that directly echoes the various feature films of the saga since the demon, an evil presence that possesses everything is anything, is above all represented in the films by a spinning subjective view. When you control this camera, the objective is to scare the various survivors who wander through the woods by opening portals here and there that let in skeletons, zombies and other deformities. The most astute players can even let the heroes go about their business to prepare the ground, where they are likely to pass, by installing minions and traps. It is for example possible to put mini-Ash in supply boxes, which will please fans of the third film, or even to give life to certain trees which will not hesitate to hit the heroes’ heads with their branches.
Solo for lone players:
Evil Dead: The Game is above all a multiplayer production that takes on its full meaning when five players find themselves in a single game, however, to satisfy all player profiles, the title from Saber Interactive also offers a Solo component. In particular, there are five missions that retrace the different adventures of Ash Williams and which allow you to unlock new heroes, but also an option to play the main mode only with the AI.
All these manipulations make it possible to increase the strength of the demon and, at the same time, to instil fear in the eyes of the members of the opposing team. This is where it all gets interesting, since once a character is frightened, it is possible to possess them for a time to turn them against their friends. Besides, as a demon, it is possible to possess the survivors, but also a tree, a car and the many monsters that swarm the map. It is even possible to embody Warlords, overpowered monsters, to undermine the last forces of the enemy. Unfortunately, when playing a skeleton or an undead, the fights are a bit messy; the player will sometimes have the impression of typing into the void, the fault of a lack of finish-moves when playing the antagonist. Nevertheless, despite these small deviations, it is by controlling it that the game takes on its full meaning since it is really satisfying to ruin the game of the good guys surprising them with machiavellian plans.
We scare the survivors in Evil Dead: The Game
Even if the two gameplay proposals are really solid, the game quickly gives the impression of going in circles. All the parts look alike and are built on the same diagram: the survivors must always complete the same objectives to close the Necronomicon, and this, in the same order, while the demon prowls around. To bring a little diversity, the objectives are still placed randomly on the mapbut unfortunately this is not enough. This weariness is reinforced by a very slow progression system and by the fact that there are only two maps to explore. Fortunately, whether on old-gen or next-gen, these are very pretty visually. They are sublimated by different luminous atmospheres, all successful, which we rediscover according to the weather conditions. Although most of the time the environments are immersed in darkness, it is also possible to play on snowy playgrounds, to navigate the asphalt and the various muddy paths in the rain or to be chased by the demon at dawn. Note also that the maps are large enough to bring their share of ideas and environments. Players will be able to wander through Ash Williams’ iconic cabin, but also through a junkyard, factory, aircraft graveyard, mansion, cave, and more. A good thing, since the Evil Dead cinematographic saga is not really known for making people travel.
If the launch of Evil Dead: The Game is less catastrophic than that of Friday the 13th, note all the same that it is not completely joy. Possessed by demons, the servers seem to do as they please and are regularly unavailable (which prevents players from joining a game). Luckily, when everything is working, matchmaking is super efficient and usually finds matches in less than 30 seconds.
Finally, let’s dwell on the fan service, since if Evil Dead: The Game is perfectionist in one area, it is in this one. In addition to bringing together all the characters from the saga, Saber Interactive’s game also brings together the original cast. In the skin of Ash Williams, we find Bruce Campbell, the actor who played the hero of the license on the screen for almost 40 years. For their part, Betsy Baker takes over the role of Linda, Ellen Sandweiss plays Cheryl Williams again and Hal Delrich returns as Scotty. Better, all the actors of the series Ash vs. Evil Dead are also in the game, just that. To top it off, the title continues to multiply the winks by offering players to rediscover cult places from the films as well as iconic phrases, and even takes up the visual grammar of the franchise. As we said earlier, we find this famous on-board camera when we embody the demon, but also the mini-Ash, the living hand or even this famous fog which seems to be possessed. You have understood it, with Evil Dead: The Game, fans will be thrilled.
- Dynamic clashes…
- Finish-moves that have a mouthful
- Characters from the entire Evil Dead saga (films + series)
- Two very different gameplays
- Easy on the eye on old-gen and next-gen
- Modes for solo players
- A beautiful tribute to the universe of Sam Raimi
- … But drafts, especially when one embodies the demon
- Two cards only
- An unscary demon and overly resilient heroes
- Slightly capricious servers
Magnificent tribute to the saga that inspired it, Evil Dead: The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer game that surprises with its constant dynamism and frenetic action very well staged. Unfortunately, the software quickly turns in circles. Despite the multitude of playable characters and the two gameplays offered (survivor or demon), Saber Interactive’s game does not manage to diversify its approaches. A production that primarily targets fans of the genre and the cinematographic creations of Sam Raimi.
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