Evil Dead is a cult horror franchise that boosted cheesy one-liners and chins that could cut glass into the mainstream, it has been years since we saw Ash in the medium of video games and Evil Dead The Game is here to hold fans after Ash and the Ghost Beaters got cancelled.
First, Evil Dead The Game is a mostly multiplayer experience, while there are currently 5 single-player missions where you unlock costumes, audio recordings and extra characters it isn’t exactly what I would call a substantial meal.
The missions generally teach you how to get to grips with the game as survivors after you’ve played through the brief tutorial, they are a great way of learning the map and getting a cheeky dose of fanservice, the first mission involves the task of taking Linda’s head to the shed!.
There are tons of references within the missions to the 3 Bruce Campbell lead films and Ash Vs Evil Dead, safe to say if you aren’t familiar with the exploits of Ashley J Williams a lot of this isn’t going to appeal to you.
Evil Dead The Game is for want of a better word, nice to look at, graphically pleasing even and has plenty of the ol’ red stuff that the franchise is known for.
Sadly you can’t tweak any of the in-game graphics which means especially on consoles you’ve got to live with an unhealthy amount of motion blur, you can remedy this on PC but not so far on consoles.
Many of the original voice actors are back and of course, front and centre is Bruce Campbell voicing 4 different versions of Ash, the music and sound effects while fine initially don’t seem quite well mixed and tend to drown each other out when things get a little hectic.
The main bulk of Evil Dead The Game is a 4 Vs 1 competitive multiplayer involving 4 “Survivors” trying to stop the Demon who is controlled by another player.
This is done by finding 3 pieces of a map, then collecting the Kandarian Dagger and some Lost Pages from the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, then using these you banish “The Dark Ones” and then have to defend the Necronomicon from being destroyed before it can seal away Evil.
Matches usually consist of the Survivor team running around a giant map comprised of places from The Evil Dead and Ash Vs Evil Dead, scavenging for supplies and weapons before taking on the objectives while the Demon sets out to make your job hell.
Survivors are broken down into archetypes, leaders, warriors, hunters and support and have abilities suited to that type, you have melee weapons such as Ash’s iconic chainsaw to hand axes and spades and of course, you’ve got ranged weapons because what Evil Dead game would be worth it’s salt if it didn’t have a Boomstick?.
Each hero type has certain abilities such as Cheryl Williams who is a supporting character and can drop a heal with an AOE and Scotty who’s a warrior who can shout, causing enemies damage and pushing them back.
You’ll get further perks through levelling up characters, this is done through use or using “Spirit Points” which are gained through online matches, you then dive into the stat tree and spend some precious skill points.
Combat is mostly melee focused with a weak and heavy attack, a “finisher” style move if you knock the foe off of their balance bar as well as a dodge attack which is tied to a stamina bar, you find Shemp’s Cola which fills your health and amulets which grant you a shield, finally Pink F drinks allow you to improve stats mid-match to help you stand against the ever-growing Demonic presence.
Demons select from 1 of 3 armies, traditional deadites, the electric alien type of deadite and the undead army from Army of Darkness led by the imposing Evil Ash.
You glide around the stage in first person much like “The Entity” from the films, trying to scare and kill the Survivors ensuring Evil can continue to roam the land.
You collect orbs of “Evil Intent” as you fly around and this powers your abilities, you can spawn troops, possess vehicles, trees and survivors, charge survivors with a dash to bring up their fear and spawn playable boss characters to bring the heat.
Initially, you’ll have little idea where your prey is until they start to make noise or drive vehicles, then you can start to hunt them down and bring up your skills by terrorising them and levelling up much in a similar way to survivors.
Being a horror title fear is a key component in the game, spend too long in the dark, keep triggering traps or spend too long around the demonic presence and you’ll get scared, once this happens not only can the demon see wherever you are but can posses you causing all kinds of chaos.
Again each Demon team has its own particular sets of abilities and skills that you can unlock through playing as them or again via spirit points, while all playing slightly different than each other it seems the current flavour of the week is Evil Ash as 9 out of 10 times you’ll be facing him down.
Over the last few days, I’ve polished off all the missions and played a lot of the game online thanks to a healthy player base, made even healthier due to cross-play with Xbox and PC.
Evil Dead The Game is a load of fun but does feel like after a few games you’ve seen everything it currently has to offer.
There is an Army of Darkness map coming soon but as it stands you have 1 large map and 1 set of objectives which starts to wear thin after a while, this is a shame as the game is a lot of fun even if it’s mostly carried by fanservice.
While I’m not usually a fan of these online multiplayer experiences, I love Evil Dead The Game and will continue to play the game down the line with Season Pass 1 already being available. I would LOVE more objectives, maybe a horde or defence mode, basically I’m just begging for more combat.
Finally, a rather weird omission is there is no reference or content from The Evil Dead reboot which I would have loved to see, still, it’s early days and will hopefully see much more content over the coming months.
Fun and full of fan service just a little light on content currently
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