No one screamed louder than I did when I watched The Game Awards a few years ago when a trailer for Evil Dead: The Game from Saber Interactive was announced for next-gen consoles. I have been a Evil Dead longtime fan as my dad showed me the movies at too young an age and always had a fondness for the video game entries in the franchise. They were imperfect classics when they were released, but they always reflected their time in gaming. Long live the king fits in with survival horror games from the original PlayStation Era similar to Silent Hill either demonic resident. Handful of BoomStick Y Regeneration fits very much to the action-adventure game like Devil can cry either soul reaper. It would be absolutely appropriate for a new console. Evil Dead game to fit into the already saturated genre of asymmetrical multiplayer.
Evil Dead: The Game is a multiplayer focused game similar to other titles in the genre like dead by daylight, Friday the 13th, Evolve, and many more games that have come and gone. You play as four survivors who must band together and use their individual abilities to survive waves of the undead and complete tasks to win the match. Opposite the survivors is another player who controls the dead and scares off unexpected players to finish them off before they complete their task of returning evil to hell. Most of my time playing the game was on PC and it looks amazing. Graphically, this is the best looking survival horror game out there.
On the survivor side of things, you choose from a group of characters from around the world. Evil Dead franchise. The star, Ash Williams, gets the most love in terms of playable options, as the character comes from a series where each entry of the films themselves are reboots of each other. Each movie features a playable version of Ash. From baby-faced Ashley from the first movie, Chainsaw for a hand in the sequel, time-traveling hero in Army of Darkness, to Ashy Slashy from the Starz TV series. Each in its own set of attributes unique to its class.
Other characters from the franchise’s history also round out the list, each with their own special ability that could help turn the tide against the darkness. Characters like Annie Knowby or Lord Arthur help increase ranged and melee damage or College Ashley and Cheryl can help keep the team fearful and healthy. Classes allow players to play the roles they enjoy the most and give them bonuses for doing so. Choosing the right classes to work together is absolutely key to winning games. In general, the class system works by giving players different abilities, but after playing a few matches, it seems like there are classes that need to be on the field if you hope to win. The controls feel much like a standard third-person shooter with a primary focus on glory kills to take down your enemies. This is where the game shows the greatest amount of lockdown and stiffness in character model actions and animations. It’s a jank, but it’s a fun jank nonetheless.
As for the player controlling the Deadites, as of launch, there are three classes to choose from with different abilities and special attributes for each. Warlord Class with their traditional possessed humans adds projectile vomiting and body blows as a weapon against the living. The Puppeteer class are demons straight out of the Ash vs. Evil Dead. When you knock them out, they explode with electrical damage that damages the player if they are close enough. Finally, the Necromancer, based on the movie Army of Darkness, invites undead skeletons with swords and shields onto the playing field. You start matches many meters away from the players, slowly leveling up over time and setting up different traps and scares, adding a kind of Dungeon Master feel.
As you place obstacles for the other players and possess them when their fear meters rise, it adds some much-needed chaos to the game that is super satisfying, especially when they drop a mini ash trap or severed hand. This brings the right amount of scares and silliness. Over the course of matches, you start to feel like a chess master who finds fun ways to hinder your opponent’s moves and ways to knock them off the board one by one. Compared to other games in this genre, having this amount of freedom is more liberating than being tied to an entity like Jason or a dead by daylight assassin.
Even though this is a heavy multiplayer focused game, there are some single player missions that players can access to help unlock more costumes and characters to play as. The first mission is definitely the highlight as it recreates an iconic scene from Evil Dead 2 which is a lot of fun to play. It uses the game mechanics to your advantage and makes the gameplay feel like you are playing a next generation Evil Dead single player action game. Players may want to jump into these challenges right away, but be careful because the missions are actually longer and don’t provide a checkpoint system that results in starting the mission all over again if you miss an objective.
Right now Evil Dead: The Game it’s in excellent shape to compete with today’s survivor horror genres, but to stand out above all the titles that had brief windows of success, there are a few things holding it back. I really hope that we can see it in the future with updates. Online play at the moment is quite hit and miss with several instances where, while in the heat of a very intense match, players may randomly leave the game without re-entering. Once in an online game, a fellow player while performing a simple attack managed to get stuck in the wall of a building. Progression from match to match is a bit slow, which makes seeing incremental upgrades harder to get the most out of in survival horror games.
Evil Dead: The Game Review | final thoughts
I’m happy Evil Dead: The Game it exists and it’s as fun as it is beautiful to watch. The love and care that the developers have for the series shines through in every detail of the game. From the score, the gameplay, the easter eggs, and the returning cast members reprising their roles. Crossplay is absolutely key to the future success of the game and it works amazingly well as one would expect. This is a treat for fans of the franchise and genre that I hope will not only keep this game alive with an active community and allow Evil Dead games to stay great.
Tech Raptor reviewed Evil Dead: The Game on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.