No one screamed louder than me when watching The Game Awards a few years ago when a trailer for Evil Dead: The Game from Saber Interactive was announced for next-gen consoles. I’ve been an Evil Dead fan from way back when my father showed me the films at a way too young age and always had a fondness for the franchise's video game entries. They were imperfect classics when they were released but they always reflected their times in gaming. Hail to the King fits with survival horror games of the original PlayStation Era similar to Silent Hill or Resident Evil. Fistful of BoomStick and Regeneration very much fit the action-adventure game like Devil May Cry or Soul Reaver. It would absolutely be befitting for a new console Evil Dead game to fit in the already saturated genre of Asymmetrical Multiplayer.
Evil Dead: The Game is a Multiplayer focused game similar to other titles in the genre like Dead By Daylight, Friday the 13th, Evolve, and many more games that have come and gone. You play as four survivors who have to team up and use their individual skills to survive waves of the undead and complete tasks in order to win the match. Opposite the survivors is another player who controls the dead and springs scares on the unexpecting players to take them down before they complete their task of casting the evil back to Hell. Most of my time playing the game was on PC and it looks incredible. Graphically this is the best-looking survival horror game out there.
On the survivor side of things, you pick from a bevy of characters from all over the Evil Dead franchise. The star, Ash Williams, gets the most love in terms of playable options as the character comes from a series where each entry of the films in itself are reboots of each other. Every movie features a version of Ash that is playable. From babyface Ashley from the first film, Chainsaw for a hand in the sequel, Time Traveling hero in Army of Darkness, to Ashy Slashy from the Starz TV series. Each in their own set of attributes exclusive to their class.
Other characters from the franchise history also fill out the roster, each having their own special ability that might help turn the tide against the darkness. Characters like Annie Knowby or Lord Arthur help increase ranged and melee damage or College Ashley and Cheryl can help maintain fear and health for the team. The classes allow players to fill the roles they enjoy playing the most and give them bonuses for it. Choosing the right classes to work with each other is absolutely key to winning games. Overall the class system works by providing players with different skills but after playing a few matches, there do seem to be classes that must be on the field if you expect to win. The controls very much feel like your standard 3rd person action game with a primary focus on glory kills to finish off your foes. This is where the game showcases the most amount of jank and stiffness in the character model's actions and animations. It’s jank but it's a fun jank nonetheless.
As for the player controlling the Deadites, as of the release, there are three classes to choose from featuring different abilities and attributes special to each. Warlord Class featuring your traditional possessed humans adds projectile vomiting and body slams as a weapon against the living. The Puppeteer Class are demons straight from the Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series. When you take them out, they explode with electrical damage that harms the player if they are close enough. Finally, the Necromancer, based on the Army of Darkness film, invites undead Skeletons with swords and shields to the playing field. You begin matches many yards away from the players slowly leveling up over time placing around different traps and scares, adding a sort of Dungeon Master feeling.
As you lay obstacles down for the other players and possess them when their fear meters grow high, it adds some much-needed chaos to the game which is super satisfying, especially when they spring a trap of mini ashes or a severed hand. This brings the right amount of scares and goofiness. Over the course of matches, you start to feel like a chess master finding fun ways to hinder your opponent's moves and ways to take them off the board one by one. Compared to other games in this genre, having this amount of freedom is more liberating than being tied to one entity like Jason or a Dead By Daylight killer.
Even though this is a heavy multiplayer-focused game, there are some single-player missions players can access to help unlock more costumes and characters to play as. The first mission is certainly the highlight as a recreation of an iconic scene in Evil Dead 2 that’s a lot of fun to play. It uses the mechanics of the game to its benefit and makes the gameplay feel like you're playing an Evil Dead next-gen single-player action game. Players might want to jump into these challenges right away but be wary because the missions are actually on the longer side and do not provide a checkpoint system which results in starting the mission all over again if you fail an objective.
Right now Evil Dead: The Game is in great shape to compete with current ongoing survivor horror genres but in order to rise above all the titles that had short windows of success, there are a few things holding it back I really hope we could see in the future with updates. The online right now is pretty hit or miss with several instances where while in the heat of a very intense match players can randomly drop from the game with no re-entry. Once in an online game a fellow player while doing a simple attack managed to get stuck in the wall of a building. Progression from match to match is a bit on the slow side making seeing gradual upgrades harder to get the most over survival horror games.
Evil Dead: The Game Review | Final Thoughts
I’m happy Evil Dead: The Game exists and is as fun as it is beautiful to look at. The love and care the developers have for the series shines through with every detail of the game. From the score, gameplay, easter eggs, and returning cast members reprising their roles. Crossplay is absolutely key to the success of the future of the game and works incredibly well as one hopes. This is a treat to the fans of the franchise and genre that I hope not only keeps this game alive with an active community and allows Evil Dead games to stay groovy.
TechRaptor reviewed Evil Dead: The Game on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
- Love and Care For the Franchise
- Crossplay Works Perfectly
- Voice Acting From Original Cast
- Playing as the Deadites is Fun
- Slow Progression
- No Re-entry If Disconnected
- No Checkpoints In Missions Mode