Originally announced back in 2014 as a totally different game, Get Even has come a long way. The original plan was for an FPS where you could jump into other players campaigns and mess with them, similar to the forgettable MindJack. This was ultimately dropped, and we instead got a thriller focusing on memories and trying to figure out what is and isn't real. Does this mean Get Even fails to stand out in the crowd, or should you pay attention to this smaller release?
You'll play as Cole Black, a mercenary who is quite good at his job. It opens with a hostage situation: a woman is strapped to a chair and Black is attempting to save her from a ticking time bomb. Unfortunately, the bomb appears to go off... and then Black wakes up in the Lithurst Asylum with no clue how he got there. It isn't long before he meets the mysterious Red, a person who claims Black checked himself into the asylum in order to undergo a new experimental treatment and try to answer two important questions: "Why was I there?" and "Who was the girl?"
Things really get interesting with how the treatment is carried out, using what is called the Pandora/Savant Headset. This VR device connects to people's minds, allowing them to try and relive their memories. It doesn't always work correctly and appears at times to be leaking someone else's memories into Black's. The game begins to be about deconstructing the memories, trying to figure out who Black really is, and if he was actually there to save the girl. This plot begins to twist and turn in interesting ways, always finding some new way to surprise the player. This is helped by some fantastic characters, all of whom I found to be really compelling. Each one has their own agenda, and trying to figure them out was a real delight.
Get Even's biggest advantage is its use of the in-game VR headset (Get Even does not support actual VR headsets, unfortunately), which is constantly making me question what I could and could not trust. At one point I exited through a doorway only to hear a noise behind me. I turned around to find a mannequin had spawned into existence and was now blocking the door. I turned back around and now saw that the empty courtyard I had to pass through was patrolled by living mannequins wielding guns. Red explained that the Pandora/Savant was prone to glitches and could display virtual objects into the real world, but I wasn't sure if he was telling the truth or if I was being tricked into going after other inmates.
This especially worried me because Get Even is a game that involves a lot of choices, some of which are subtle enough that I never even knew I was making them. In one early level, I took out a lone guard in a parking garage. Just some completely random guard who happened to be in the way of my objective. Later in the game, I found his husband in the insane asylum, and he was depressed at the loss of his partner and obsessed with revenge on Black. Even the obvious choices had unintended consequences. Early in, I found a trapped prisoner that I could spring free by rewiring a fuse box. There's the obvious consequence: this guy is now free in the asylum and he may or may not keep true to his word on providing me help. What I didn't expect was when I came across another inmate that needed help in the next room. I went to hit a button to help him, but instead, the fuse blew, plunging the inmate's cell into darkness and driving him to further insanity. It turns out rewiring a fuse box has consequences on an asylum's electrical systems. Maybe I should have thought that through.
For a good chunk of Get Even, you'll simply be investigating and exploring your surroundings. Black has a phone that serves as a detective tool, allowing him to do some simple scanning in the environment to collect more data on what's going on. You can also use the phone as a UV light or as a thermal scanner, allowing you some extra abilities to help solve puzzles or find your way. For example, I once had to turn off hot water pipes to shut off a jet of steam that was blocking me. I could use the thermal scanner to see which pipes were hot and then turned the valves accordingly to stop the flow of water.
The phone also serves a unique focus once I actually entered the VR worlds that make up Black's memories. At times I could find anomalies in the memories and use the phone's scanner to either create or destroy various objects. For example, one anomaly may create a dumpster that I could then take cover behind to avoid an enemy patrol, while another could remove a chunk of wall that I could sneak under. Keeping an eye out for these anomalies are really essential as they allow you to successfully sneak around using the game's simple stealth mechanics, keeping you out of the line of fire.
Combat isn't really the main focus of Get Even. If you're constantly engaging in firefights then you're probably doing something wrong (and you'll be reminded of this by Red). Instead, you should be avoiding enemies and taking them out stealthily when you can. The big tool you have to assist you with this is the CornerShot, a gun that allows you to fire at 90-degree angles. You can flip this gun to the right or left at any time and use a screen attached to the gun to help you aim. Even if you get into a firefight, you can still use this in creative ways like aiming into the air or flipping the gun over cover so you can fire from the relative safety of your barrier. It's a neat and versatile weapon that I genuinely enjoyed using.
While the CornerShot is cool, combat as a whole feels clunky. There's no crosshair or HUD of any kind, so you have to rely on aiming down sights to know what you're hitting. Even then, I still didn't quite feel like I was hitting what I was aiming at and more than once I started a firefight because I missed a shot that I thought was lined up. There's also a disappointingly small amount of weapons available, mostly just pistols or machine pistols along with a single assault rifle. Like I mentioned before, combat isn't really the focus of the game so it wasn't enough to bother me much, but I still was kind of annoyed anytime I did have to start fighting back.
Later into the game, I got a new set of powers. I don't want to spoil exactly how or why, but the important thing is that I eventually got the ability to possess enemies, warp to pre-selected locations, and use a sonar pulse to highlight enemies. It changed up the gameplay significantly which was nice, but eventually, I found myself wanting my phone and CornerShot back. I often found the powers sort of unreliable and ultimately went to just shooting everything. You don't get these powers until near the end of the game, the last two hours of the ten-hour journey, but they left the gameplay on a bit of a sour note.
Black has access to a hub area, where all of the news articles, documents, photos, and voice recordings he finds in his investigations can be accessed. If you get 100% completion in a level, you can unlock a code for a hidden locked door in that level to gain access to some extra firepower. Considering the combat never really feels better than clunky, I didn't find this to be the best reward. On the other hand, I still wanted to shoot for that completion because I was interested in the information and how it tied into the rest of the story.
While I had fun with Get Even, how dated the game looked was always stuck in the back of my mind. Many of the game's animations are stiff and the graphics look about a few years behind current standards. The artistic design thankfully makes up for this, as the way elements seem to cut in and out of existence thanks to the Pandora/Savant Headset is really cool and watching enemies explode into a bundle of polygons is always entertaining. I also enjoyed Get Even's soundtrack, especially the way it uses a ticking clock as a motif. It helps add a strange otherworldly feel to a lot of the game's scenes, which fits well considering the subject matter.
I found myself rather surprised by Get Even. At first, it was a game I genuinely couldn't really care about, with a premise that was unique but little else going for it. After finishing it, I found myself drawn in and excited by every plot twist and every bit of character development. It still needs work, especially concerning the gunplay and the graphics, but narrative focused gamers may find one of the most interesting stories of 2017 here.
Get Even has some clunky mechanics, but has such a fantastic story that I wasn't that upset with them. Also it has a great soundtrack, some fun puzzles, and the CornerShot which is an awesome gun.
- Story Twists and Turns in Unexpected but Exciting Ways
- Very Interesting Characters
- CornerShot is a Cool Tool
- Great Soundtrack and Voice Acting
- Good Puzzles
- Combat is Clunky
- Late Game Powers Aren't as Fun
- Graphically Outdated