Evil West (PS5) – game review
Evil West is a mix of elements from several of my favorite series. I eagerly awaited its release, and whether I was disappointed or not will be discussed in the following review.
Evil West is a new project from the studio Flying Wild Hog, through which we got, among others, the Shadow Warrior series. The developers have come a long way from a small studio, dealing with rather budget projects, to a team whose works catch the eye of the entire industry. It was no different with Evil West, which looked intriguing from the first trailers. How is it in the final version? You’ll find out from our review.
The action of Evil West – as the name suggests – takes place in the wild west. However, we are dealing here with its alternative version. For there are vampires in the world, and our protagonist, Jesse Rentier, is part of an elite family that has decided to fight the bloodthirsty beasts. However, not everything goes according to plan. When there is a light in the tunnel, the vampires launch a massive attack, destroying our agent’s headquarters. To make matters worse, a whole new nemesis appears. A small, seemingly innocent vampire, endowed with amazing abilities.
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Jesse Rentier is fortunately not defenseless. Not counting the fact that the entire campaign can be passed as part of the cooperative mode, even alone the hero copes very well. At our disposal, we have quite a wide range of means with which we slaughter the opponents we encounter. At first, it’s just a gauntlet and a revolver, but as time goes by we get new items, such as a slingshot, a shotgun, or an electric prodigy, which is able to momentarily stun a potential henchman and make it easier for us to deliver blows.
Evil West in the original trailers seemed to be mainly a shooter. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. If I had to compare the game to something, the Dark Souls series, Devil May Cry, and God of War comes to mind. The game consists of moving from area to area and eliminating the critters you encounter. In the meantime, we accumulate funds with which we buy improvements to our weapons, as well as advance to higher levels and unlock so-called talents. All of this is in the form of a slasher with a fairly exorbitant level of difficulty, in which from time to time we also make use of firearms (although you can also rely on them more heavily).
The resemblance to the aforementioned series is rather strong. As for Dark Souls, the developers decided to take from it rather a high difficulty levels and bosses. Measuring against them requires the use of many skills of the hero. We need to be attentive, agile, and patient. You can’t mindlessly chop left and right here, unless on the easiest difficulty level. This is because it will quickly end in death. God of War and Devil May Cry appear in the overall progression, location structure, and so on. This is because the maps are divided into areas where we explore, as well as specific areas where we fight. Victory means we move on until we come across another group of assholes to slaughter. There are, of course, secrets, and information scattered around nooks and crates – well, basically the standard of the two series.
Fortunately, the developers of Evil West have managed to prepare something that has its own identity. Both the progression, level designs, combat system, etc. everything is unique and tailored for Rentier’s adventures. By far the best of all of this is, of course, the vampire chopping, which, by the way, should come as no surprise. There are many combos, weapons, and skills at our disposal right from the beginning, and sometimes we acquire more. The combat has been prepared very well. It is dynamic, fast, and engaging. During duels we use not only our own abilities, but also the environment, because we can, for example, toss some bloodsucker with our chin, and then hurl him, for example, at crates of dynamite. The clashes, due to the variety of weapons, are constantly changing. We also have to adjust to what we are currently facing.
The enemies in Evil West are divided into three main categories. We have cannon meat, which does not require some particularly sophisticated tactics and extermination techniques. There are mini-bosses, with which you have to struggle a bit longer. Then, of course, there are the bosses, requiring precision, patience, and observation. Regardless of who we fight, we need to keep in mind the weaknesses of each opponent and exploit them accordingly. For example, a henchman with a large shield is practically invulnerable, but it only takes a few solid blows with a gauntlet, or a decent shot with an edged weapon, for the shield to go haywire, exposing us to the more vulnerable parts of the opponent. Other opponents must be dealt with similarly, which is of course very gratifying.
Evil West overall is a very good action game, but not everything has been equally polished here. Two slightly weaker aspects are the scenario and the location designs. The story the developers have prepared is of a banal kind. We have an unmilitary creature that we have to get rid of. The only hope is us, so we trudge forward and fight. Unfortunately, not very interesting intermission scenes and somewhat silly dialogues do not help. I realize that the screenwriters probably had such assumptions about the scenes, but I often skipped them in the later stages, they come off as mediocre, which is a shame. I also have to complain about some of the locations. There are some that look okay, but far too many red, orange, and other flashy colors here. The graphics quickly tire the eyes. A greater variety of colors would certainly be a plus.
I would rate the overall quality of the visuals as good. Evil West laughs at Unreal Engine 5, which makes the animations very nice, the optimization on PlayStation 5 doesn’t raise any objections, and we can observe a lot of great special effects on the screen. However, I’m not entirely convinced by the aforementioned colors, texture quality, and shading. Sometimes the shadows appear in odd places, only to change position when we get a little closer. It looks as if the shadow is detached from the object casting it. I know, the details, but the overall quality of the setting loses a bit. Shading problems also occur during some interludes. For example, a new opponent appears, and this means that we have a short presentation. During it, the shading is different, as if kicked up, and only when the game hands us back control of Jess does everything return to normal. So much for the fact that the graphics are summatively competent and certainly don’t get in the way while playing. The soundtrack, by the way, also matches the whole thing and I would rate it a four (on a six-point scale)!
All in all, Evil West is one of the better action games I’ve had a chance to play recently, although not everything here is equally thrilling. It’s the kind of interesting de-stressor at which you can spend a dozen hours and not think excessively about plot nuances, battle tactics, and so on. You sit down, play, have fun, and then go back to some chores. If you like slashers, I recommend them. I think you will have a great time!
Graphics: Optimization on the plus side, but the quality of some of the textures, shadow problems, and angry colors on the minus side.
Sound: It’s okay, although some dialogues can cause embarrassment.
Playability: Enjoyable gameplay, with a polished and engaging combat system being the highlight.
Idea and premise: Nothing extraordinary here. A conglomeration of several different series, but executed well.
Interaction and physics: The excellent combat system gets the job done!
A word at the end: I wondered whether to give “good” or “great,” but it seems to me that the pros outweigh the cons!