The Evil Dead movies have a different flavor compared to equally venerable horror franchises like Halloween or Friday the 13th. What the Evil Dead does differently, and does it very well, is mix quirky action comedy with some truly ghoulish monsters and horror violence. It’s no surprise that its popularity has endured since its debut in 1981, but it still seems like its potential is largely untapped in the gaming world.
Due to May 13, Evil Dead: The Game wants to change that. I recently got to play about an hour of the game with the staff of developer Saber Interactive, who also made the World War Z game. Not only is it true to the goofy horror of the original movies, I was also surprised at how much fun I had scaring myself.
First of all, Evil Dead: The Game is a great tribute to the beloved horror series. Serving as one of the breakout hits of the original trilogy and three-season television series, all starring cult movie actor Bruce Campbell, the game channels Deadite murder and comedy horror into the structure of a game. multiplayer. (The Deadites are a species of parasitic demons and main antagonists of the Evil Dead franchise.)
Four players fight to stay alive as survivors; another player uses a variety of demonic magic to stop them. Structurally it is quite similar to the popular dead by daylight – a great fit for Evil Dead.
Paying homage to the main location of the first two films, series protagonist Ash Williams and other survivors face the forces of darkness in a vast forest filled with supernatural horrors. You’ll be able to form a team of four as survivors, each of whom plays as different classes: leader, support, warrior, and ranged. The playable characters are mostly made up of familiar faces from the original movies and TV series, including fan favorites Pablo and Kelly.
But of course Ash Williams, played by returning Bruce Campbell, returns. This character is quite an icon and I couldn’t resist playing as him, although the other playable characters are also interesting. In a clever twist, there isn’t just one version of Ash, but four different incarnations based on his many appearances throughout the series. So if you prefer Ash from Army of Darkness, then you play as that, with different abilities than his counterparts.
In my interview with Saber Interactive Creative Director Tim Willits, he said that the focus for creating the Survivor team was to satisfy long-time fans and give players variety when they jump into a game.
“The Evil Dead universe is so great. Bruce Campbell is a legend, and the amount of lore and lore in the universe is so rich,” says Willits. “What happens [Evil Dead: The Game]that it’s an asymmetrical horror game, is that the hero Ash Williams and the other survivors can kick some ass and win.”
The big difference between this game and other horror games of its kind, such as Dead By Daylight or Friday The 13th: The Game, is that Evil Dead: The Game gives its “survivors” the means to defend themselves against the forces of darkness. . . When I was able to play as the survivors, I felt as if I had entered a true action-horror game like The Evil Within or Resident Evil.
By gathering supplies, you could gather a rifle and chainsaw to take down some roaming Deadites. It was exciting to be able to take them down with Ash’s chainsaw finishing moves, and taking them down allowed me and my squad to clear a path for our set of objectives. However, one thing survivor team players should keep in mind is your character’s Fear level, which will make them susceptible to the fiercest attacks and even possession by each game’s big bad. That’s when the creepier side of the game starts to show.
The roaming Deadites are just a hindrance. The real The threat is another player pulling all the strings. In addition to playing as survivors, you can also play as the architect of the Deadite invasion. When you play as the demonic force, shown from the first-person perspective just like in the movies, you can freely move around the map to lay traps, power up roaming Deadites, and take direct control of powerful demons or even the survivors themselves. .
Playing as the survivors is nice, but Evil Dead: The Dead really shines when you’re the one who shakes up the events of the game. One of my favorite moments came from playing as the antagonist. After setting traps and stalking the survivors from the shadows, I saw the crew of four trying to quickly make their way to a nearby vehicle. I activated a fear-based ability that triggered a jump scare effect that hit survivors. Since they were distracted, I immediately used my demonic powers to possess the car and rammed it into the group as more Deadites surrounded them. It was very satisfying to watch the chaos unfold.
I appreciated that there is a lot of variety and depth to both the good and bad sides of online matches. Survivor mode gameplay feels like a cooperative survival horror game. On the contrary, the antagonist gameplay is a more dynamic tower defense style mode, and that’s a really cool combination.
Evil Dead: The Game is very much multiplayer first, but there’s also an additional mission mode for solo players that recreates some scenes from the movies, like the cabin invasion from the original film. It’s a nice addition to the game, and the developers already have plans to add more characters and content with a season pass. While the game so far will mostly cover the original trilogy and TV series, the game’s developers had some appreciation for 2013’s Evil Dead remake.
“There are a lot more characters, demons and weapons that we can add to the game, and we’ve already shown some content in the season pass,” says Willits. “But not to give away too much, we have ways to tweak the game in the future, so maybe we’ll see some cool stuff… we meet Jane Levy, who played Mia. [in the Evil Dead remake] very well. That is all what I am going to say”.
I’ll admit, I was initially a little apprehensive about a new Evil Dead game. While there have been some in the past, particularly on the original PlayStation and PS2, they felt more like retread exercises on the iconic Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. So far this new game branches out into ambitious territory, and I was impressed with how it came together to form a multiplayer experience that pays homage to the goofy nature of the Evil Dead, but also delivers some genuine jump scares.
It can be a difficult thing to balance, but I felt that Evil Dead: The Game so far seems like an interesting take on comedy horror in a game, which is pretty rare. This latest Evil Dead adaptation could be the game that fans have been waiting for for a long time.
Evil Dead: The Game will be released on May 13 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.