The Evil Dead franchise has some of the most beloved cult films that inspired generations. Growing up, Army of Darkness was and still is one of my favorite films of all time. Not only do the Evil Dead Films showcase the talent of Sam Rami. They also have wonderful, funny, and bizarre moments that make this universe unique amongst other Horror/Action genres. Saber Interactive & Boss Teams games have teamed up to create the ultimate Evil Dead experience with Evil Dead: The Game.
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Evil Dead: The Game is a 4v1 asymmetrical online experience. The 4-player team is tasked with completing a handful of objectives across a huge map while finding weapons and other helpful items. The Demon player must try and kill all 4 survivors before they complete their objectives. The base concept is simple enough, but the overall design expands even further into strategies and tactics for both sides making each match extremely fun and unique.
All your favorite Evil Dead Characters are here including Cheryl & Scotty from Evil Dead 1 all the way up to Pablo & Kelly from the most recent Ash vs Evil Dead TV show. There are also 4 different versions of Ash Williams to select as well: Evil Dead 1, 2, Army of Darkness and Ash Vs Evil Dead. This ensures that anyone who is familiar with the franchise can pick their favorite Evil Dead Character.
Survivors are broken down into four classes each with their own active and passive abilities. Supporters heal, reduce fear, and like their name implies, support the team. The Hunters are your ranged class, blasting away enemies with guns and special weapons. Warriors are the tanks of the game dealing heavy melee damage and are hard to bring down. Finally, you have the leader class, survivors that buff others and themselves with passive benefits to the group. Team composition is a big deal and you will have fun discovering what survivors you like playing most and how to optimally help your team in the best way.
Come Get Some!
The four survivors must locate three pieces of a map. Once all the pieces have been found you head to one of two locations which are always active on the map to summon Necronomicon pages and the Kandarian dagger. These trigger a wave-based defense mode in which the survivors must stay alive while the summon gauge builds in an enclosed area. Once full, the Demon player is transported far away from the survivors, and they proceed to the next objective. Once the three lost map pieces are found and the dagger and lost pages are summoned, you head off to “Ghostbuster” and eliminate the dark ones by channeling power from the dagger. Once all three dark ones are dead the final stretch begins as your team fights to stay alive and defend the Necronomicon as the Demon player tries to destroy it.
While trying to achieve these objectives you are looting areas, looking for items that heal, ammo for guns, melee weapons & most important of all, an item called “Pink F” which you use to increase the stats of your survivor. By the end of the match during the final objective hopefully your scavenging has paid off and you have good weapons and full skills which makes you harder to kill, but the Demon player also has some tricks up their sleeve.
We’re coming to get you Ashley…
Playing as the Demon is incredibly fun and, in a sense, you are more of a Dungeon Master than a “Killer.” You set traps to scare survivors, summon undead hordes to attack and stall players' progress, and possess both NPC allies and enemy players. The toolbox for the Demon is complex and will take some time to master. Being the Demon is a lot harder to play than survivor.
The game currently has 3 types of demons to play: Warlord, Puppeteer & Necromancer. Each has different abilities, minions to summon and a unique play style that you will have to learn. Not to mention building up your Demon with talent points to increase energy received, cooldowns on summoning units and improving traps. The potential to find the ultimate build and getting there as fast as possible is a great drive to improve your survivor killing skills. Flying across the maps from the Demon’s POV is great and is pulled directly from the films.
Gimme' Some Sugar, Baby
While there are currently only 2 maps in rotation, they are both incredibly large in scale. They also rotate weather & seasons. The cabin map might have thunderstorms and rain one session then be snow covered in another which gives the large-scale maps more variety overall. You can also drive in the game using vehicles and while it may not always be a good idea to hop in a car, the physics and off-roading can lead to some very funny & memorable team moments. It is clear the developers want you to stick to the roads. But certain team members may have other ideas.
Playing online matches allows you to level up your chosen survivor or demon giving you talent points to spend that increase a multitude of things ranging from straight-up damage to more health and many other small buffs that make you stronger as you commit to a specific class or demon. You are also awarded points you can cash in to level up other class trees which is a fun motivator as putting points into both Survivor and Demon specific trees makes you exceptionally stronger the more time you put into them.
There’s something out in those woods…
The game’s environments also look gorgeous with bushes waving in the wind, rain pouring, and some of the most beautifully animated executions I have seen in a game in a long time. Seriously, the animation team should be commended for their efforts here. Each weapon has multiple finisher animations and they look and sound brutal with that classic over the top feel the Evil Dead franchise is known for.
It is not all perfect though. There are some bugs I encountered. We had a teammate get stuck in a wall and they were not able to get out. In another game my Demon UI vanished, and I was not able to do anything but move around. There were also some instances where my survivor got locked up for no reason and I was not able to move until hit by an enemy. While I did not encounter these bugs more than once, it was frustrating when I did.
The game also offers single-player missions that serve as a type of narrative that throws back to the Evil Dead Shows and films. While these missions do provide good practice for learning the combat and scavenging for items, some of them are an absolute chore to grind through. With no checkpoints once you die, you are forced to start from the very beginning and some of these missions can take 20+ minutes to complete. You will have to finish all the missions too if you want to unlock more survivors. The game gives no other alternate way to unlock these characters. I can appreciate trying to diversify the gameplay with these missions but once you play them and unlock the characters, you will never want to do them again.
Hail to King, Baby!
Evil Dead: The Game surprised me in every single way. It was more than I expected. The attention to detail in the characters, enemies, and environments. The Knowby cabin is outstanding and nearly a 1 for 1 replica. The finishers are beautiful, the environments eerie and creepy, the gameplay loop addictive, but most importantly it is fun. Boss Team Games & Saber Interactive should be hailed for their attention to detail to Evil Dead the Game. It is quite apparent a lot of love, time and care went into it. Even if you are not a fan of the films or have no clue what Evil Dead is, there is still plenty to enjoy here. If you are a fan of Evil Dead, Dead by Daylight, or other asymmetrical PvP games, it is imperative that you pick up Evil Dead: The Game. At a price point of $39.99 USD with cross-play across all platforms, you would be a fool not too. In the words of the Kandarian demon itself, “Join us!”
This review is based on a digital key provided by the publisher. Evil Dead: The Game is available now for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC for $39.99 USD and should be coming to Nintendo Switch at a later date.
Evil Dead: The Game
- Amazing attention to detail for Evil Dead fans
- 4v1 gameplay is fun and addictive
- Combat feels good & weighty
- Beautiful character animations & environments
- Cross-play on every platform
- Playing the Demon is like a being a dungeon master
- Lots of builds to try out & experiment with
- Single-player missions are a chore
- Some bugs/glitches can inhibit a gameplay session
Greg Burke posted a new article, Evil Dead: The Game Review: Deadite Royale