Evil Dead: The Game review (PS5)

Evil Dead: The Game takes the iconic film franchise and applies an asymmetrical multiplayer formula to it for a result that’ll certainly please longtime fans. It’s out for PlayStation, Xbox and PC right now – we played it on a PS5.

With a title like Evil Dead: The Game, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was – at long last – a videogame adaptation of an iconic name in horror. The truth is, however, that we’ve had a number of Evil Dead game come out before, starting back in the original PS1 days. The problem? None of them were very good, so after a short surge with a couple of releases we didn’t see a serious attempt at reviving the name for over 15 years.

Developer Saber Interactive went with a asymmetrical (4 vs 1) multiplayer format for the game, so obviously we were wondering if this was going to be a tad too similar to games like Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th – especially the latter, being another horror film adaptation, though Evil Dead’s Ash has also appeared in some Dead by Daylight DLC in the past.

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Luckily, Evil Dead: The Game isn’t a copycat, and starts to feel unique and authentic quickly. The “bad guy” game is still only one player, but that player has an army of the dead at his disposal. Right off the bat, we liked this change, because we’ve played too many games where being the powerful bad guy just resulted in aimlessly running around a large map – not feeling very powerful. It’s great fun being the Predator, but only if you actually feel like you’re hunting people, and not playing hide and seek.

In this game, you can deploy traps and minions across the map, and jump into their bodies to assume control as well. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s certainly more involved and fun to play when it’s your turn to be the bad guy. You’ll play as one of the members of a group of (wannabe) survivors mostly though, and in those matches you aim is to perform a ritual to cleanse the environment of the demon that’s on the loose, which is a multi-stage affair. First, you’ll retrieve three parts of a map, which then reveal the location of a book and dagger you’ll need. This then turns your attention towards a dimensional portal, where there’ll be a final face-off against the demon during which you fight to keep the necronomicon safe.

It quickly turns into a familiar sequence of events on both sides of each conflict, but it’s balanced well enough to make sure that things don’t feel too predictable after a while. Part of that is due to a good varied roster of characters to select from, including various versions of Ash Williams, who is once again voiced by Bruce Campbell himself. Switching between characters is easy because the core controls are always the same, but having four different classes and a selection of abilities that are unique to specific heroes keeps things fresh.

That’s not to say that Evil Dead: The Game is incredibly groundbreaking when playing as part of the group of survivors. Most of your objectives are fairly straightforward, but the flow of events feels good and the familiar settings and characters keep things interesting as well.

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Far more original is the time spent as a Kandarian demon, which has you hindering the team of survivors at every step, gaining XP in the process. This grants you access to more powerful upgrades and abilities, and you have a good selection of evil minions you can deploy (and play as) too. From small nuisances to powerful enemies and even bosses, there’s a nice range to choose from, and balancing out what to use at what time is a nice tactical game with a ton of possible approaches. Scare one of the other players enough, and you can even possess them, which never ceases to be fun.

As you’d expect, Evil Dead: The Game is mostly an online multiplayer game, but you can play it as a single player experience as well. That’s true for the mode described above which you can play with AI bots (though you can’t play as the demon), but more interesting is a handful of dedicated single player missions. These aren’t just good for learning the ropes before diving into the online matchmaking, they also feature unlockable characters as rewards for completing the missions – which are based on elements from the film and TV franchise and thus fairly essential for fans.

If you’re not into online multiplayer games then Evil Dead: The Game probably won’t sway you, but if you enjoy playing with others and are a fan of Evil Dead then this is a well made title worth checking out. It’s easily the best Evil Dead game thus far, and there’s a great deal of fan service to discover as well, including a range of easter eggs for hardcore fans.

Score: 7.8/10

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