Eville preview (PC)

Joining the roster of multiplayer social deduction games soon is Eville, from VestGames. We got a sneak peak at the game before it heads to Steam’s Early Access program soon – here are our thoughts.

What we know

Eville is looking to be the next big thing in the increasingly popular social deduction genre. The success of Among Us in 2020 speaks volumes, and we always enjoyed Werewolves Within as one of the best VR titles as well – so obviously we were intrigued by what Eville could bring.

As with all social deduction games, Eville is a multiplayer only affair, and it takes place in a village where murder is an almost everyday occurrence. Played with up to twelve people at once, the group is divided between villages and conspirators – with more conspirators per round the more players have joined in. There are specific roles for each side, all of which have unique abilities and parts to play as you cycle through the days and nights in the town.

During the day, everyone’s out and about, and you can engage in quests, buy items or, if you’re a very brave conspirator, murder someone in broad daylight. Once a body is discovered, however, the group convenes in the village center to decide who – if anyone – is the prime suspect. If the group reaches a decision on who is a suspect, they then vote on a guilty or not guilty verdict, after which the next cycle begins with or without the accused.

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Eville is heading towards an Early Access launch in the near future on Steam, and is (currently) a PC exclusive title under development at VestGames.

What we saw

During a recent online press event, we were joined by a group of fellow journalists and some of the developers at VestGames for a quick introduction and three subsequent rounds of the game, based on the most current (pre-release) build of Eville.

During two of the three rounds we were on the villagers’ side, and we ended up on the conspirators’ side for our final run. On the villager side of things we assumed the roles of detective and mayor, while our last run was spent as a smugglers, exploring the underground pathways beneath the village to sneak into homes and commit bloody murder at night.

What we thought

Being thrown in at the deep end was definitely overwhelming, and the fact that we won all three rounds was more luck than skill. Eville is a game that’s going to either need some good tutorials or plenty of practice – as is often the case with social deduction games.

Not familiar with the game in a hands-on capacity prior to the session, the real time 3D gameplay was certainly something to get used to – but having this RPG-like setting and quest-based gameplay is certainly an interesting dynamic inside a game where multiple objectives intersect at once. As a villager, you’re paying attention to who does what, while at the same time gathering clues and completing objectives that might keep you safer at night – which is when the bad guys roam around while you sleep.

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While the appeal is instantly there, and we can’t wait to play again, balancing is going to be a bit of an issue for the developers to tackle in the coming weeks and months. Of course all the intersecting objectives and murder plots are a balancing act in and of themselves, but once you die you also kind of sit out the rest of the game while you’re a ghost, and it’s not too exciting with little to do but watch the rest play.

The developer is looking to add “ghost quests” to help with that, but the other part of the equation is communication. As a ghost, you can see (and verbally out) the murderers at work. While exciting, you can’t actually do anything with that information, because you’d ruin the game for the rest of the players – another case of balancing, because you also don’t want to mute players in a game that thrives on communication and collaboration.

One other point of attention was the roles themselves, as not every role felt as interesting and fun. As the mayor, my vote counted double, but in an active round there was little for me to do – and obviously once I announced I was the mayor I was quickly murdered. It’s exactly what I’d do if I were a conspirator, but it all comes back to making the game fun for everyone, not a select group in the session. Ghost missions will certainly help in that regard, especially when those in ghost form can uncover clues that will put time pressure on the conspirators. Either way, we’re extremely interested in seeing how Eville develops over the next few months and will certainly be diving into more play sessions. See you there!

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