Follow us on a bloody journey between vampires and gunslingers in this review of the recent action Evil West
Officially announced for the first time about two years ago, during The Game Award 2020 ceremony, the new action by Flying Wild Hog is finally among us. After the recent, and equally bloody, Shadow Warrior 3 (of which you can find our review on the matter here), the Polish software house presents us with a new and unpublished title, also full of bloody action, this time however inspired by the imaginary western and seasoned with a healthy dose of horror and cyberpunk undertones. The premises are interesting, and therefore, without delaying further, let’s find out together in this review what Evil West is like, pad in hand.
They called him Jesse Rentier
The protagonist of the story is Jesse Rentier, a vampire hunter, who works for the Rentier Institute, a secret organization (owned by the same father) dedicated to the extermination of all kinds of monstrosities. In fact, the setting of the game, as it is easy to guess even from the title itself, is the classic one of the western genre, with all the stereotypes of the case, for better or worse, but don’t expect to breathe the atmosphere of a Sergio Leone film. On the contrary, the horror and gore elements place the game closer to films such as the famous From Dusk Till Dawn, or Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness.
At the beginning of the story we will find our wiry cowboy on a mission to capture a high-ranking vampire (in the game the latter are organized as a sort of sect at war against humans), together with Edgar Gravenor, another veteran of the trade. There isn’t much more to add, as the game plot is, as often happens in these cases, little more than a mere pretext to justify the action on the screen, but we leave you the pleasure of discovering the continuation of the story. affair. Know that if you are looking for over the top action, bravado and a lot of blood here you will find plenty.
For a fist… and that’s it! – Evil West review: the good, the bad and the vampire
We now come to one of the cornerstones of this review: the gameplay of Evil West. If you have peeked at some game images, it is easy that you have initially mistaken the title for a sort of Gears of War with vampires and cowboys. In reality, pad in hand, the game is much more similar to the recent God of War (by the way, find our analysis of Ragnarok here). In fact, in the role of Jesse we will find ourselves shooting, but the weapons here play an almost secondary role in the gameplay framework. In fact, the hand-to-hand clashes will be the master, through the use of a metal glove, which will be our main weapon.
Between kicks capable of breaking the enemies’ guard, uppercuts capable of throwing them in the air and then riddle them with blows or send them crashing against elements of the scenario, it won’t take long to start chaining the most disparate combos. Not all shots always give the right feedback and in the chaos of the action it is sometimes difficult to manage the situation, also thanks to a dodge that will not always guarantee us salvation, and some time windows to act that really require lightning reflexes . Overall, however, it must be said that the game works quite well, and once you get the hang of it, the combat system is quite fun and satisfying, net of some rough edges.
Turn the other cheek to me – Evil West review: the good, the bad and the vampire
In addition to the attacks and combos mentioned in the previous paragraph of this review, Evil West’s combat system can be further explored thanks to a whole series of skills. In fact, Jesse’s glove will also be able to exploit electricity to electrocute opponents or activate a protective shield (obviously not all attacks can be parried). As the adventure progresses, new methods of massacre will be unlocked, thanks also to the presence of a skill tree in which to use the perks acquired by leveling up and exterminating enemies, while spending the coins that we can collect in the game world ( affectionately called “Greens”), we will instead be able to improve firearms.
By the way, what about weapons? as we have mentioned, their use will be almost secondary, mainly because they inflict a generally smaller amount of damage to melee attacks (and, to be honest, they don’t even give the same satisfaction). Bullets will never run out and reloading will ultimately be just a cleverly disguised cooldown. Some, like the pistol, won’t even require great aiming skills, as the target is mostly locked on automatically.
However, firearms will come in handy in well-defined situations. For example, the shotgun can be used to block some enemy attacks by hitting their weak points, when exposed (an eloquent circle will appear on the part of the body to be hit) while the sawn-off barrels will be useful for shattering shields and armor. The development team then worked intelligently to make all the guns immediately ready for use, assigning them to predefined keys. In this way it is possible to quickly switch from one to the other without having to use the classic weapon wheel, however paying the price of less freedom of use of the same.
The Wild Bunch – Evil West Review: The Good, the Bad and the Vampire
As for the enemies that we will face in Evil West, these, as mentioned earlier in this review, for the most part will have very little western. The game’s bestiary is quite varied, with enemies who draw liberally from the grotesque horror imagery. It follows that we will have to learn to manage ever-changing situations, since, having removed the basic enemies, most of the beasts that we will have to exterminate will have different attack patterns. In this sense, the title offers a rather high degree of challenge, and even at intermediate difficulty it will be necessary to learn to master the combat system to avoid being overwhelmed by the hordes of monstrosities that will appear before us.
This is understandable, as the focus of the title remains the fights, and outside of these there is not much else to do. Exploring the game world in search of coins and other objects does not give great satisfaction, and even the very few environmental puzzles (if you want to call them that) that you come across to continue tend to be quite basic. All this translates into an increasing risk of repetitiveness and boredom as the game progresses, only partially mitigated by the variety of skills and enemies implemented by the developers. However, this is a largely subjective judgment and is not necessarily to be considered a defect, especially if the combat system will be able to excite you.
For a Few Bucks More – Evil West Review: The Good, the Bad and the Vampire
For this review, we tested Evil West on Xbox Series X and didn’t notice any significant framerate drops or really notable bugs. The classic two graphics options are present: “Quality” which allows you to play in 4K at 30FPS, and “Performance” which raises the FPS to 60 but reduces the resolution to 1080p. Which one to choose largely depends on your preferences (and your TV), that said we have noticed that, in Performance mode, there are situations where the textures tend to suffer, appearing a little lackluster. Perhaps a little more could have been done, but it is said that patches capable of changing things will not arrive in the future.
In any case, from a technical point of view we are faced with a title, overall, without infamy and without praise, with some successful settings and others that are rather forgettable. On the audio front we have an average dubbing in English (the one in Italian is not present), without particular flashes worthy of note. The same goes for the music, actually quite functional and obviously anchored to the classic sound stereotypes of the western genre. What gets noticed more is the sound design, with well-finished audio effects, between explosions and powerful shots at the right point and able to adequately emphasize the action.
The last of the vampires
The wild west painted by the boys of Flying Wild Hog, although it does not give up all the trappings of the genre, is profoundly different from what one might expect. Similarly, instead of a third-person shooter, the development team has packaged an action in which, yes, you shoot, but more than the bullets are kicks, punches and combos that dominate the battlefield. It is not a work without defects and indeed the edges to be filed (although not so evident) are there and can be noticed. Nonetheless, if you are a fan of the genre and are looking for a swashbuckling title without too many frills, Evil West could have what it takes to really be able to give you some healthy fun.
And what do you think? Have you already tried this title? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to TechGameWorld.com for all the news dedicated to the world of video games. To buy video games at a discounted price, we advise you to take a look at the Instant Gaming catalogue.
An action over the top, a little rough but fun.
- Fun and rewarding gameplay…
- If you know how to appreciate the combat system you will have fun for hours…
- So many monstrosities to tear apart
- … but not without some imperfections
- … on the contrary, the title could soon expire in repetitiveness
- On the technical front, more could have been done (especially for next gen consoles)