Evil Dead: The Game
Developer: Saber Interactive Inc
Publisher: Boss Team Games, LLC; Saber Interactive Inc
Genre(s): Action, Horror, PvP
Platform: Xbox (Also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC and coming soon to Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 13/05/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Are you ready to step in the shoes of Ash Williams and face off against the armies of darkness? In this chaotic co-op PvP multiplayer based on the iconic Evil Dead franchise, you can play as good or evil – team up with three other players, explore, loot and fight as you play as characters from all three original Evil Dead films or take control of the Kandarian demon and hunt down Ash and his friends, possessing Deadites, environmental objects and even other players in an attempt to either kill or stop the survivors from completing their objectives.
Prepare yourself and grab your boomstick!
A Visual Treat for Horror Fans!
If you so happen to have never seen any movie in the Evil Dead franchise, like me, then fear not; it will certainly not affect your experience playing this game. If you have seen them, then, of course, you will see direct references to the films, which is cool.
If you are a fan of survival horror then this is the game of the year for you with over-the-top gore and amazing graphics; what more could you ask for from a horror game? When you start hacking and slashing at a Deadite with whatever melee weapon you can find whether that be a pickaxe or even a sword, blood will splatter across your face and clothes and it even matted your hair. You’ll find many little quirks like this that not many horror games have used before.
The cabins and the forest are equally as scary as the demons themselves as they’re visually realistic and give more of an element of dread wherever you wander off to in your game. I usually tend to prefer first-person games, however, on this occasion playing in third-person worked extremely well visually. You’re able to get a feel for your environment and can get a good look around when you’re on the search for loot. Plus being able to see when an enemy is coming behind you – where you wouldn’t in first person – helps a lot in this game. You don’t want to be in a situation with more Deadites than you can handle!
Typical 4 Player Co-Op
Straight away I noticed similarities to previous horror games I’ve played before; it reminded me a lot of Left 4 Dead and Friday the 13th: The Game with the weapon melee gameplay and aesthetic. In a way, I found this a little disappointing as I expected the game to have more of an original feel, to have more depth and differences compared to other 4 player co-op games that have already been done. Nonetheless, Evil Dead: The Game still feels satisfying to play. Who doesn’t like teaming up with their friends in a horror slasher sort of game? Unfortunately, the gameplay lacks polish; becoming stuck on certain objects and being unable to vault and climb over fences and rocks from time to time can get you into trouble, especially if you’re the last alive on your team and they’re relying on you to stop the forces of evil and bring them back into the fight.
I feel like the game has a lot of potential that is wasted; apart from the few single-player missions you can do to gain extra characters, there isn’t much else you can do. When you team up in PvP, there are only two maps available currently, with the same objectives each time. You have three map pieces that you need to locate before you’re able to collect the Kandarian Dagger along with the Necronomicon’s lost pages in hopes to stop the player who is controlling the demon. As fun as this can be, it can become extremely repetitive and eventually, boring. This would mean I would get a maximum of a couple of hours of gaming time on it per day before I lost interest.
Picking Your Character
Both playing as a survivor and a demon can influence the gameplay in a variety of ways, for example, there are four classes to choose from when you play as a survivor; Hunter, Leader, Support, and Warrior. Within each class, there are different characters from the franchise to choose from with their own set of abilities. Choosing wisely based on your gaming style can make all the difference.
A hunter survivor is at their best behind a ranged weapon as they will inflict the most damage with guns compared to others; they can also carry more ammo. Leader survivors can boost their stats and those of their teammates which can be very useful near the end of each game. Support survivors are efficient at keeping themselves and others alive as long as possible, starting the match with extra health boosts known as Shemp’s Cola and shields called Amulets that can also be used to heal their whole team. Warrior survivors are the damage dealers of the group; they’re able to deal more melee damage to the demons as well as withstand greater amounts of incoming damage due to their tank-like capabilities.
If you want to play as a Kandarian Demon, there are only three classes; Necromancer, Puppeteer, and Warlord. As a Necromancer, (based on Evil Ash from Army of Darkness) you will have the ability to summon a skeleton flautist that increases outgoing damage to units that hear it. Puppeteers are skilled at possession and so you’re able to cause more fear into the survivors by controlling the minds of the living. A Warlord is very similar to a Leader survivor; their main focus is to buff the units to increase their damage output while simultaneously reducing incoming damage.
As you play and complete matches, you gain experience points (XP) to use on your characters and level them up. The more experience you receive, the more skills your characters can unlock. These skills differ when you compare characters. It’s best to play around and see which skills suit your style of play.
Don’t Be Afraid
Evil Dead: The Game comes with a lot of unique features that other 4 player co-op games have not done much before. During your game as a survivor, you have a fear meter that you need to keep an eye on as it plays a huge part in the game. The longer you stay in the dark, for example, your meter will rise and your character will become more scared. Jump scares will start to happen to you as your fear level peaks, however after a few games, you start to adjust and get used to them and they become normal to expect. Also, you risk becoming possessed by the demon the longer you stay afraid in a match, and because of this, you will end up hurting your teammates and they will need to defend themselves against you for you to gain control of your character again.
To lower your fear, you have a few options to consider. You do own a flashlight that you can turn on and off manually, this is best used inside the houses you enter in search of loot. There have been a few times, I forgot to switch the flashlight off when I didn’t need it and I found it quickly drained the battery. Once it had reached zero percent, there is no way to replace the battery so be aware of this when you play. You can find matchsticks when you look around, grab as many of these as you can as you will need them when you’re in the woods to light fires. The light from the fire will help drain your fear and your whole team can benefit from this.
Tired of Being Good?
If being a good ol’ survivor isn’t for you, you can always play as the Kandarian Demon. You have to collect energy orbs around the map to gain your abilities and kill the survivors before they take their final stand to defend the Necronomicon. With your abilities, you can place traps to scare the survivors and strategically summon Deadites through portals to ambush players who wander off by themselves. Unfortunately, the ability cooldowns are very long-winded and tedious which resulted in having to fly around most of the time for their crucial energy orbs. The Deadites seem like they don’t do too much damage and players often just run away from them, leaving you having to do most of the necessary damage yourself and risking all four survivors teaming up on you. I wasn’t much of a fan of playing as the demon as I felt like it could do with more work to make the experience more enjoyable.
Although the aesthetic of the game is quite impressive, Evil Dead: The Game lacks polish. Something is definitely missing, whether that be a new mode or a more solid single-player experience. It doesn’t quite have the appeal to keep players coming back so far. Hopefully, with continuous updates, this may change in the future and will be worth returning to again and again.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase Evil Dead: The Game for Xbox from the Microsoft Store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.