Evil Dead: The Game

Evil Dead - The Game

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Bob Hoose

Game Review

Evil Dead: The Game is the latest entry in a growing group of horror-infused multiplayer games. This one focuses on the Evil Dead movies and features characters, locations and some story bits from those films along with lots of fanservice nods. Oh, and gore. Tons of gore.

To give players a warm-up sense of the game mechanics, Evil Dead: The Game offers up a collection of single player missions plucked out of the zombie-infested storylines of the three franchise films (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness). Players can play as a version of the movies’ protagonist, Ash, or one of several other supporting characters. And then they’re given specific story-focused goals to pursue, such as digging up a love interest’s severed, zombified head.

But the real, uh, beating heart of this game is the online multiplayer matches played with a group of friends or randomly chosen strangers. They’re asymmetrical matches that pit four human survivors (again chosen from a list of film characters) against an entire army of demonic dead, all controlled by a single player who mans the Kandarian Demon.  

The team of humans have one goal: Kill that demon. They must run through a large randomly generated map peppered with landmarks, pathways, swamps, crumbling buildings and thick wooded areas, all in an effort to figure out where three map pieces are hidden. In turn, that reconstructed map will lead them to relics that can recreate a Necronomicon, a book holding a banishing ritual that can clear the woods of the swarming evil.

On the other side of the dark conflict, the demon baddy gets to carefully monitor its human-foes’ progress. His goal is to obliterate those running humans before they get their mitts on that book. Though he can’t directly attack them—being much more of a demonic dungeon master than anything else—he can float about gathering energy orbs that allow him to place traps and portals on the landscape. Those portals spew forth shambling undead that will target any moving and noisemaking opponent.

The strategic, but very bloody, chess-moves continue until one side or the other is extinguished.

This basic construct is heightened by giving the human characters special skills and classes they can choose from—Leaders, Warriors, Hunters and Support—each with their own special abilities and upgradable skill trees. And the Kandarian Demon can choose his preferred brand of “deadite” at the beginning of the match, too—Warlords, Necromancers and Puppeteers—that have damage-boosting abilities, ranged attacks and even cloning abilities in some cases.

On top of that, the humans also have one more issue to deal with. They each have a “Fear Meter” that slowly rises depending on how long they’ve spent in the pitch-black woods. If it gets high enough, it can allow them to be possessed by their evil foes and lose control for a short period. It also forces the group to stop and light a campfire to depress those rising meters rather than simply running pell-mell to their objectives. And, of course, a team that’s standing in one place is soon a team that’s under attack by creepy foes. 

POSITIVE CONTENT

The well-meshed gameplay here is much more strategic than you might imagine. And that adds a bit of depth beyond the continual hacking and slashing. And I suppose you could say … you are killing demons and the undead. Best not to let those things wander around unchecked.

CONTENT CONCERNS

The truth is, however, like the films themselves, nearly all of this game is filled with some form of nasty content.

The graphics are crisp and realistic. And whether you’re ripping a creature’s entrails out with a chainsaw strike, or driving a shovel into a neck vertebra to pop off a head, or blasting a rotund gut point-blank, Evil Dead: The Game is all a gushing deluge of gore. The swarming battles often play out in a frenetic rush. In fact, the meat hammers, axes, pistols, rifles, and some drivable vehicles are a means to get to a goopy finishing move in many cases—designed to make players squeal in celebration over the hanging innards or dismembered body parts.

And on that visual front, one of those zombie-like creatures is a very large woman with naked breasts and backside that are partially covered by dripping blood. The s-word and some offensive hand gestures pop up, too.

Then there’s the demonic spirituality that’s a part of every 20- to 30-minute match. There’s a palpable sense of, well, evil everywhere.

GAME SUMMARY

If you came here wondering whether the latest game based on the Evil Dead movies might be more fun and less funk, sorry to disappoint you. Some strategic gaming smiles can be found in the dank dark. But from blood-gushing kills to disemboweled creatures to dark spiritual rituals to actual demons, this game definitely lives up to the franchise’s frown-worthy reputation.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.