Evil Dead: The Game

Evil Dead: The Game Review

There’s no surprise, given my enjoyment of the Resident Evil games, that I’m also a huge Evil Dead fan. Growing up, Evil Dead was one of the first horror-based series that I would actually watch alone at home when my parents were away camping or whatever. It was a good mix of horror and comedy that drew me into the film franchise… And the man who is 100% pure awesome, Bruce Campbell, helped with my enjoyment of the movies too. On the other hand, Evil Dead hasn’t had a great history when it comes to video games. I’ve played most of the games from the PlayStation Evil Dead: Hail to the King through to Evil Dead: Regeneration on the Xbox (I skipped mobile games and Ash’s cameo appearance in Dead by Daylight) with some enjoyment but ultimately a disappointment. Now we have Evil Dead: The Game, a 4 vs 1 survival horror kill fest that is meant to be the most accurate Evil Dead game to date… Will it hold up or join the pile of disappointment?

Evil Dead: The GameName: Evil Dead: The Game
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Saber Interactive & Boss Team Games
Game Type: Team Based Survival horror
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
Release Date: May 13, 2022

Story

Evil Dead: The Game doesn’t really have a story per se, but more of a general idea behind what you are doing. Playing as Ash or one of the many other characters who have appeared in Evil Dead movies and the TV show, Ash vs The Evil Dead, you are tasked with finding the map to the pages of the Necronomicon, The Book of the Dead, and the source of the Deadite’s power, gather the pages of said book, grab the Kandarian dagger, and close a rift that is bringing the Deadites into the world… and that’s it… Kinda.

There is another mode within Evil Dead: The Game that is a mission mode, which does its best to recreate some of the best moments from Evil Dead movies and TV Show, like Ash chasing down Linda, his girlfriend from Evil Dead, after chopping his own hand off and replacing it with the iconic chainsaw. These segments see you taking control of one single character and pretty much doing the same as you do in the main multiplayer mode. While it was great to start the first mission inside the classic cabin in the woods from Evil Dead, you quickly abandon it to head out into the larger world and leave it behind. It would have been awesome to have to be inside the cabin a lot longer, dealing with Deadites and the cabin itself messing with your head, leading down into the basement or something for the finale of the mission, but Evil Dead: The Game is more about the whole world around the moments, not the moments themselves.

Evil Dead: The Game

Graphics

The one place where Evil Dead: The Game doesn’t skimp out is the graphics. From the locations, which are some of the best recreations of the Evil Dead: The Game movie locations I’ve seen in a long time, to the characters themselves looking almost perfect (Though some characters like Kelly have an almost cartoonish look to their faces) for people who might have been scanned for this game or recreated using archival footage from the movies and TV Show.

The overall world of Evil Dead: The Game gives a very dark and spooky vibe, with low fogs happening in some forest areas, to the red sky in some levels where you know the Deadites are going to reside. Even the lighting is done really well, once again pushing how good Ray-tracing graphics are used to create atmosphere, with the best example seen in the screenshot below where Ash is standing in front of a fire, with the light dancing on his face and body with an orange/red glow that fire creates. Then you have the gore… If there is one thing Evil Dead is known for is the excessive gore involved in the death of Deadites and other characters and Evil Dead: The Game keeps this standard up by having cuts appearing on limbs, faces being blown off Deadites to show the bone underneath, and some extremely gruesome finishing moves that look like they were ripped right out of the movies.

However, the overall game is pretty dark, making you have to rely on things like fire pits and a torch in order to find your way around the map. Not to mention that the selection of locations is pretty sparse, reminding me of playing Friday The 13th when it first came out. You’re going to see yourself spending a lot of time running through forests, trailer parks, and farm-like areas searching for the items you need to do the same objectives over and over again, which feels like a waste of such a good graphics engine.

Evil Dead: The Game

Gameplay

I’ve already pointed out the main objectives of Evil Dead: The Game where you are doing five things:

  1. Finding map pieces
  2. Waiting for Necromonicon pages
  3. Waiting to collect the Kandarian dagger
  4. Shooting lightning at Kandarian demons
  5. Defending the book till the spell ends

While this is the main point of EVERY map in Evil Dead: The Game, you do have some other things going on. You’ll be collecting Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary levels of weapons in both melee and firearm forms, using all the numbers to make your numbers bigger so you do bigger numbers in damage. Then there are collectible Pink F bottles which you use to bolster your in-game stats like melee, firearms, shield, health, fear reduction, and stamina which resets with each game. For the Deadites, you collect red soul orb resources that you use in order to summon more Deadites into the game, possess other characters (Which gets easier the more fear the survivor has), and evolve into boss-level characters like Evil Ash from The Army of Darkness.

While the above are the basics, you do get more in-depth with skill trees which you grow over time through the XP that you get per game, making your survivor or Deadites into more powerful and skilled versions of themselves as a way to keep you grinding through the game over and over again. There are some unlockables in Evil Dead: The Game, but they are just a few extra Leader-class characters to be added to the roster… Oh yeah, I forgot about the class system.

Before each match, you get to select from either Survivors, the hero characters from Evil Dead and Ash vs The Evil Dead, and the Deadites; which come in groups of DPS, Tank, and other varieties. The same goes for the Survivors. You have Leaders (A class that buffs others and doesn’t increase their fear meter quickly), Warriors (Melee), Hunters (Ranged), and Support (Healers/Pack Mules). Don’t worry, there is an Ash for each class in the Survivor group, making the others pretty much redundant as everyone pretty much plays the same. With these classes selected, you can just go around doing what needs to be done.

One other thing I want to point out is that Evil Dead: The Game is a game that plays like ass with a controller. In a game where you NEED to have your head on a swivel, watching for Deadites from all sides, the slowness of the controller input and speed in-game is just trash. I spent many games dying because I couldn’t see the Deadites until after they had hit me from behind or the sides as the camera turn was so slow it was pointless doing anything but run all the time. As a Deadite the controller works well because most of the time you are using a first-person camera. But if anything, I’d suggest playing on a PC rather than a console.

Evil Dead: The Game

Replayability

Evil Dead: The Game is one of those games that is designed to keep you grinding and playing as much as possible. The overall skill tree takes quite a long time to unlock anything of decent value, so you have to keep going online to play more and more. Yes, there is an AI multiplayer mode where you can either play co-op against an AI opponent or have a game full of bots. The problem with this is that you don’t get as much XP playing against bots as you do playing against other players. Not to mention that, as usual, the AI is intentionally dumb as shit when you are playing with a Survivor bot group while the Deadite AI is quickly going to overpower you as soon as you’re found on the map.

Now, being honest, I didn’t personally get a chance to experience the online mode as I’m using a US review code and I’m not shelling out an additional AUD$25 just to play something I can check out via Twitch or Youtube for free. From what I could see on those platforms, the usual issues seem to rear their ugly heads. Given that Evil Dead: The Game is a multiplatform cross-play game, you’re going to experience some sort of slow down, lag, or connection issues thanks to nothing being universal when it comes to console and PC gaming. There will be times when you’re wanting to do something, click or hold your button, only for that action to not register and nothing happens, or it’ll happen moments later when what you wanted to do will have no point.

The other thing is that this is going to be a cooperative game, especially for the survivors, which means that playing online is a communication nightmare since not everyone is going to have communication open or the equipment to communicate via console, and PC players wouldn’t touch in-game voice communication with a 10-foot pole, making keeping everyone together or heading the same direction something of a pain in the ass, leading to many pointless deaths. However, as a Deadite, since you’re playing solo it becomes a great time and very easy to overpower the survivors. Evil Dead: The Game is a game where playing with friends is going to be a must, same with playing on a PC.

Evil Dead: The Game

Closing

You can see from the beginning screen in Evil Dead: The Game that the developers are huge fans of Evil Dead franchise. They put a lot of dedication to making the characters and locations as authentic as possible from the movies and TV Shows so you know that this is an Evil Dead game. However, the game comes off as a more dedicated version of Dead by Daylight, with only Evil Dead characters to choose from. Playing as a Deadite is the highlight of the game, showing that there was some effort put into making at least one part of Evil Dead: The Game as fun as it could be given the limited lore to work from with the demons, but on the survivor side, things are just terrible… and that comes more from the human issue than a gameplay issue.

If this is what Saber Interactive can do with a multiplayer idea for Evil Dead: The Game, I’d love to see what they could come up with for a more single-player experience, maybe something that plays through all the movies and the TV show… Give us a full recap of the stories of Ash Willaims in a style that is fitting and fun. But for Evil Dead: The Game, the version we got, I see this dying off quickly unless Saber Interactive can follow it up with a lot more content very soon.

Review Disclosure StatementEvil Dead: The Game was provided to us by Saber Interactive for review purposes. For more information on how we conduct and handle reviews here, please visit our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info. Thank you.

Summary

Evil Dead: The Game is a game that is great in concept, but makes the same mistake that other games looking to dethrone Dead by Daylight make: Focusing on one franchise and expecting it to carry the whole experience. Evil Dead: The Game has a solid foundation but stagnates very easily due to a lack of variety in gameplay objectives and maps. Not to mention it relies on people working together in order to win as one side, which doesn’t work without a solid communication system that everyone actually uses or a community that actually wants to work together.

Pros

  • The best Evil Dead game graphically
  • 4 Ash’s to choose from
  • Gorey as fuck

Cons

  • Limited maps
  • Same objectives time after time
  • Playing with random humans worse than playing with the dumb AI bots
Overall
2