Flying Wild Hog’s new action adventure Evil West is delightfully ‘retro’ in its approach and feels like a throwback to the games of the X360 and PS3 era. Developed for Xbox, PlayStation and PC, it’s out now and we checked it out on a PlayStation 5.
While that intro might make it sound like Evil West is a somewhat dated concept, we had a lot of fun with it. It’s not as convoluted and padded as some of today’s games, which is a nice change of pace. There isn’t a massive amount of collectibles to chase and manage, and upgrading is handled through a simple menu system where you pay for them with the money you pick up during combat. No need to head into town or find resources – just open the menu and apply your funds to whatever you want.
The game also doesn’t waste too much time setting up its premise and building up its characters – you’ll spend the bulk of your time hacking away at foes and firing your guns and other weapons, which include interesting options like a flame thrower and a crossbow. Some are way more powerful than others, but an interesting mechanics puts your most powerful weapons on a (cooldown) timer – expect to switch around between weapons regularly, which is fun as most of them (at least visually) pack a punch by looking badass and there’s plenty to shoot. You’ll want to save your rare and powerful shots for the strongest enemies though, but you’ll learn over time what to use when.
That visual style we just referred to is one of the most standout features of Evil West – your attacks make you feel like some kind of hardcore superhero. That’s especially true when using your melee weapon, which can electrocute enemies and pull them towards you with a lasso-like whip, after which you can punch them into the air before jumping up to ram them into the ground again. It might feel a bit one-note if you lean back and look at how similar some of the enemies and fights are, but it sure is fun.
Evil West generally ramps up the difficulty level by introducing more of the same enemies at once rather than by introducing new ones or designing carefully choreographed fight scenes. This is a pure action fest, with the flash of a Hollywood film but the depth of the average straight-to-video action production. Plot-wise you’re a sort of Van Helsing in a retro-futuristic Wild West setting, but you won’t be thinking about why you’re ploughing through vampires and other monsters all that much.
As with many games from the X360/PS3 era, Evil West is full of characters that are rather one-dimensional and stereotypical, but for some mindless fun we’re happy to ignore that. Harder to ignore are the technical issues we’ve been running into, from hard crashes to clipping issues and controls that stopped responding until we restarted the game. This is a game that was pushed out the door a bit too early, and we recommend checking the patch notes before diving in. Once stable, this’ll be a good bit of mindless fun, exactly the type of thing we need after a busy week.