Evil Dead: The Game comes as somewhat of a surprise. The franchise has seen numerous titles in the past, including the wildly underrated Evil Dead: Regeneration. However, they’ve largely concentrated on story driven single-player campaigns. Evil Dead: The Game is nothing like this. It offers an asymmetrical multiplayer experience. And one that ranks highly in both ingenuity and enjoyment. This Evil Dead: The Game review will explain why.
Four players enter the map as Survivors, with a fifth cast as the Kandarian Demon. The game insists you play through a lengthy tutorial before jumping online, and for good reason. Evil Dead: The Game is a mission-based multiplayer experience. Even one weak link in the team can quickly lead to failure. Each match has several stages. As a member of the Survivor team, it’s your job to find parts of a map, then take control of two items in tense standoff battles, before the final fight with the Dark Ones. It’s tough when you’re first starting out. Conversely, all the Kandarian Demon player has to do is stop the Survivors.
Playing as the Kandarian Demon is a little like a videogame version of the evil wizard in Hero Quest. You get to see the whole map – all the trap placements and enemies within – by flying around akin to the first-person ‘Evil Force’ of the Kandarian Demon of the movies. While in this mode you can collect Infernal Orbs, which you can then spend on laying traps, possessions and summoning additional demons. As the match progresses, and you strike fear into the hearts of the Survivors, you’ll be able to unlock and upgrade more powerful demons, including Elites and Boss characters.
The Survivors play more like a traditional third-person action team game. There are nine Survivor characters available to begin with, each split into classes: Leader, Warrior, Hunter and Support. However, within those classes each character has their own unique ability which can be activated at any time, pending a cooldown. This may decrease your teammates’ Fear levels, health restoration, or increased melee strength, amongst others, and can be very useful when used correctly. Additionally, each character has its own skill tree, which can unlock stat bonuses or additional abilities. It’s going to take a handful of matches before you can unlock the bonuses that really make an impact.
Each match has a 30-minute time limit for the collection phase, and then unlimited for the Dark Ones battle. The matches start off relatively slow as the Survivors gather equipment and explore their surroundings, and the Kandarian Demon is gathering Infernal Orbs and studying the layout of objectives. Soon enough though, both sides will feel they’re ready to engage. However, it’s usually the case that only one actually is, of course.
There are a few additional features outside of the core multiplayer experience. There’s a single-player Mission mode, which offers a handful (with the promise of more to come) of solo missions which reward additional skins for successful completion. What’s more, despite no mention of it in the pre-release hype, it’s possible to play the multiplayer aspect offline with AI teammates. While it of course isn’t as good as the real thing, it can be an enjoyable way to spend some time while waiting for friends to join. Sadly, you won’t gain experience for your characters here.
Evil Dead: The Game is a fantastic looking game. Each character has been finely modelled with fantastic attention to detail. The glossy flowing hair and rain slick environmental objects are particular highlights. There are a few graphical glitches – constantly vibrating ranged weapons during melee attacks was one of particular note – but hopefully these will be ironed out in due course. The score is also fantastic, setting the player into their role and building perfectly during moments of high adrenaline. It should be noted that this Evil Dead: The Game review was conducted on Xbox Series X, but we can imagine that PlayStation 5 and PC gamers will see similar visual and aural performance.
Prior to launch Evil Dead: The Game seemed to divide opinions. Some love the idea of setting out on a large map, tackling missions while facing an unseen foe. Others suggested that it’s likely to be a half-baked licenced title. Thankfully, the latter were entirely wrong. Evil Dead: The Game is a fantastic multiplayer experience, and even serviceable in solo play. It provides a taste in your first few matches that sucks you in. Once you know what you’re actually doing, it’s a hugely compelling game of cat-and-mouse. Grab a few friends and head online today; you won’t be disappointed.