Looking for a comprehensive Evil West Review? We’ve got you covered! In an age of Gunslingers and legends, Evil and monsters from nightmare plague the lands, only a small group of brave souls stand before them, the Rentier Institute. Here is our Evil West Review.
Tumble through a vast world of lore and nightmarish creatures in an adventure that follows a parallel timeline where technology is advanced and “Progress” is the name of the game. Players take control of the character of Jesse Rentier, son of the founder of the Rentier Institute and field operative who happens to be the best in his area of expertise.
Developed by Flying Wild Hog and Published by Focus Entertainment, this adventure into the world of the Wild West is something that is remarkable, to say the least. Released in 2022 this somewhat Red Dead Redemption crossed with Van Hellsing is really something that needs to be experienced. The combat is a 50/50 blend of Close Quarters and Ranged and the worlds give a nice feel of Industrial Progression into the 20th-century Industrial Revolution and the grittiness of the untamed wilderness of the Wild West.
Starting the game is a little confusing, you are dropped into hunting down this person for your mission and in a very short time you are introduced to the “How the game functions” along with common enemy classes you will encounter on a frequent basis. Once you make it to your home base and learn that the Institution is under siege from the Vampire you met at the end of the second mission things start to get interesting as you are forced to flee the safe haven your character has known and head out into the night where monsters own the landscape. Once dawn breaks relative safety is restored and a new home base is established. From here you will deploy to new locations over the remaining 10 or so missions until the end of the game. Each mission holds something new to explore, whether that be an environment, enemy, or tool of the trade. Following a somewhat linear story of revenge against Felicity, the young Vampire from the beginning, you will head to a variety of locations from towns to oil fields in hunt of your prey and the answers to other questions.
Playing the game is not too different to something like a soul’s experience, where you are always on guard. This isn’t to say the game plays like a Soul’s game as this is so inaccurate, we pick Soul’s games because the damage output, health, and even the animations somewhat feel like you are in a more friendly version of Dark or Demon’s Soul’s. Mechanically the game runs smoothly other than the brutal nature of the core mechanics and the fact that Jesse seems to function better using his 6 gun which is activated without aiming. Although he has a Crossbow and Rifle which he could aim, aiming takes a second or two and in that time you could have received a hit and recovered or needed to dodge an attack which makes aiming a little impractical in a few situations.
Despite how fast-paced the gameplay feels, it feels too slow in navigation sections when outside of combat. There are puzzles in a lot of these sequences which makes the overall feel of the slowness more apparent on subsequent playthroughs, which are needed for the fabled Platinum Trophy.
The game feels like, as stated in the introduction, it plays off a 50/50 blend of Close Quarters and Ranged. This isn’t too inaccurate as a lot of the time I found myself going into Melee range and beating on enemies more than sticking at a safe range and sniping. The only real reason is that the distance you stay away can change drastically, depending on who you are fighting, in a short time. This is more evident in the Humanoid Bats which heal allies in range, singularly these can be more annoying than even bosses which is a little ridiculous.
As games have increased in visual quality over the past few years, Evil West is no exception. Visually it looks enticing to play, and entertaining to experience. The Animations are smooth and different enough from other games to make you want to see what it’s all about, and the same for the art style. Personally, I would call it a semi-stylistic game as there are sections where it feels like realism is incorporated to make the flow of everything work, however, the visual look says a stylistic approach.
As playing through the game there was something that irritated me and I wasn’t able to place it until finishing the first playthrough, this was the Minimalistic HUD. Throughout the game, the HUD is just simply not there a lot of the time, there is an exception, which is if you have a co-op partner. Simply put the HUD is only really active if a combat stance is taken. If you are simply exploring or looking around the world the HUD is only going to trigger when a player interacts with a collectable or interactable object.
Overall the team at Flying Wild Hog did a good job at blending the themes, Visual Spectrum and feel of the game. All these aspects make up what the game is and how it plays out over the 16 chapters of the story.
To conclude, the game is a visual treat, and a bonus to PS+ Subscribers in January 2024, although it is sadly an overlooked game from 2022 for most, we at Game Craves expect this to be a hit with players.
From characters to enemies, environments to tools of the trade and even the fact that the game is a two-person co-op adventure, Evil West is a thrill to experience. Although the hardest difficulty, Evil, is highlighted to be particularly challenging, this author has yet to see the difficulty spike and push through to being actually hard. That being said some players might find it a challenge at times. Overall the spike from Normal to Evil is minimal at best and the only real “Challenge” was the aforementioned healers.
Out of all the parts of the game that were memorable, it would have to be in the way the game introduces you to Jesse, who is this carefree character who is better off alone. As the game progresses his determination changes from the care he has for the Institution, to destroying the monsters who have brought everything down around him, even if that means hunting his own people.
Overall the story feels like it is missing something, however, it’s difficult to place what, but we would say that the game feels open-ended, which leaves something more to happen in Jesse Rentier’s story. Other than this the game feels and plays really well and is enjoyable even on subsequent playthroughs and increased difficulties. The Themes of the Wild West and an almost fantastical Steam-Punk setting work surprisingly well and are evident in the weaponry that you can upgrade and utilise, along with some of the environments that you can progress through. In addition to this, the Visual Spectrum of blending the Stylistic artistic rendering with Realistic media is something that we would like to see from other studios, however, the Team at Flying Wild Hog must have spent an awful lot of time in Unreal Engine 4 to make this look and feel like reality.
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