Licensed horror games can’t help but follow the trend popularized by Dead by daylight in their quest to favor asymmetric multiplayer games over standard single-player games. Friday the 13th: Game, Predator: Hunting Groundsand upcoming Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre such entries in this niche, with Evil Dead: The Game being the newest of the bloody group. But instead of respectfully translating the coveted franchise into the online space, it clumsily hammers together a handful of mundane, monotonous mechanics into an experience hardly even fit for fan service.
However, this does not mean that there is literally nothing for them. Evil Dead: The Game has many references to three Sam Raimi films and the ill-fated TV series, Ash vs Evil Dead. There are snippets of lines that reference specific events in the franchise, as well as famous landmarks such as Knowby’s cabin, El Brujo’s cabin, and the trailer park where Ash lived. even if they are rather simple structures that cannot be interacted with, they do not have much value in a real match and are only worth viewing once. The digital tour is aided by an ever-present darkness and shockingly detailed visuals, two aspects that transcend their gritty contemporaries and fit the eerie mood. Evil Dead the game should strive.
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Most of the cast returned to reprise their roles, and while many come in handy during their rare battle barks and brief audio diary monologues, Bruce Campbell certainly stands out. His cheeky, sarcastic wit is infectious as always, and his image of the Butcher with an arrow and a chainsaw hand is still interesting after all these years.
However, as with dead eyes, featureless models for those characters who only vaguely resemble actors, almost everything else is horribly inadequate. And the rot starts with the main game loop. The four human survivors are tasked with putting together the map, retrieving the Kandarian Dagger, and collecting the lost pages of the Necronomicon before finally destroying the Dark Ones with a magical beam. Although the locations vary, it is a remarkably repetitive cycle that does not change from match to match. Great multiplayer games mask their inherent repetition and Evil Dead: The Game it’s just not diverse enough to do so, and all the reasons for this become even more obvious when you look closely at its many flawed mechanics.
Finding the three pieces of the map is always very easy, as the game tells players exactly which area it is in. The beacon will hover over a piece of the map when the player is within 25 yards of it, further shortening the search as the game mindlessly reveals its location. It’s boring every time because it’s too straight forward and the Kandarian Demon is too weak at this stage to interfere, so he can’t even rely on unpredictable people to change the flow.
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Obtaining a Kandarian dagger and the lost pages of the Necronomicon is just as boring. Both targets are King of the Hill-style targets where hordes will pour in as the small meter fills up. Mindlessly slashing fragile opponents is already exhausting, and it’s no surprise that the game repeats this quest twice.
Shooting beams at disguised Dark Ones is also a joke. Everyone can spread out quite far apart, so it’s hard for an opposing Kandarian Demon to stop all four players from firing their beam. Since wearing down their shields is mostly a given, this means that the final step in protecting the Necronomicon from the dead is as inevitable as it is simple. Those measly two minutes that the evil beings have to destroy him are laughable, because that time is not enough.
Many of these troubles are due to his catastrophic balancing. Survivors with the most superficial understanding of the game may win an undeserved victory. Light garbage collection and occasional use of each character’s abilities will make almost every group unkillable, as the weak AI isn’t smart enough to outrun four people with more than seven brain cells each. And if someone did fall, resurrecting them on one of the many altars would be quick and painless, and allow the survivors to easily undo the hard work of the Kandarian demon.
Survivors may seem too strong just because of the weakness of the Kandarian demon. Instead of manifesting as a single character and stalking people like a masked assassin or a high-tech alien hunter, players fly around in spirit form and set traps that are powered by a meter that fills up from collecting orbs all over the map. Setting traps and successful attacks earn skill points that can be used in various stats such as trap effectiveness and minion health.
But it’s basically useless due to the disconnection that comes with calling minions instead of manually doing the dirty work. Filling the battlefield with fragile followers is like a real-time strategy game that is unsatisfactory due to how quickly they are sent back to hell. You can take possession of them to play a more direct role in the action, but these corrupted souls die too quickly to do anything meaningful.
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The limited resource pool and lack of abilities also means there’s almost no strategic cooldown management, because what few powers a Kandarian Demon has are held back by agonizingly long-term players. Survivors often wait idly while the Kandarian Demon’s powers recharge, only to immediately wipe out a lone unit that seeps in after the first cooldown hits zero.
The AI will not pour in in large enough numbers to cause a panic. Either way, they are too weak to do anything. Direct combat falters for the same reason, as those very fragile units need to be possessed, and the small possession buffs they receive are subtle. Placing traps is usually useless due to the sheer size of the map. Spawning in units is distant and uninteresting. Because of this, the helpless Kandarian demon is utterly inadequate and morbidly useless.
Boosting his stats may bring some benefit, but there are far more issues that plague both teams. Shooting is relatively reliable due to smooth and highly sticky aiming, but the more predominant hand-to-hand combat is braking. It’s puree in the extreme, and fights always degenerate into trains of characters who fight aimlessly. While dodging is an attempt to add depth, it does little to dissuade users from pressing the attack button unnecessarily and is the main reason the game is so bland; there is basically nothing to learn.
Instead of rich mechanics that keep players coming back, Evil Dead: The Game tries to encourage replay value with its permanent buff skill trees, which are as problematic as they look. New players are at a disadvantage not only because of inefficient training, but also because of the lower stats they will have when they first enter. Adding RPG mechanics that break the balance and punish newcomers is a sloppy and thoughtless attempt to add depth to the game. shallow game.
Bad design also shows up in smaller ways. The fear meter that builds up while players are in the woods is tiring and the survivors have to keep an eye on it at all times. Annoying pop-up windows with instructions constantly interrupt the action. The above tutorial itself is seriously flawed and doesn’t properly teach the intricacies of the two sides, not to mention the differences between each character and class. Console users cannot rebind controls. Interaction hints take too long, if they register at all. It’s just full of petty disagreements that interfere with an experience that’s already pretty bad.
Multiplayer is its biggest goal, but the game also features a few single player missions, all of which are, as expected, awful and lack the personality and style of the series. Instead of offering an interesting «What if?» scenarios, gamifying famous scenes, or actually teaching players the game in a way that mismanagement can’t, they all end up as mindless checkpoint-free vignettes with the same outdated combat that drags on too long. Those who want access to all the characters will have to go through these grueling, overly difficult trials of patience, another example of a backwards look at unlocking.
Evil Dead persists because of its characters, lore, and mixture of gore and gore – most of which are almost completely absent – so it’s puzzling at first that this isn’t a story-driven game with a powerful campaign that could better highlight those strengths; single missions are clearly not suitable here. Choosing to go with the asymmetric multiplayer horror trend instead of creating something that potentially better suits the franchise doesn’t automatically curse you. Evil Dead: The Game, although. Instead, the game is cursed with a complete and utter lack of fun multiplayer mechanics. With such a lackluster set of systems, identical objectives, terrible single player missions, and underwhelming demon gameplay, Evil Dead: The Game unlikely to live long enough to vacation in Jacksonville, and likely to die in broad daylight.
As explained in ComingSoon’s review rules, a score of 4 means Poor. The negatives outweigh the positives, which makes it hard to get through.