The month of May this year belongs to Sam Raimi. Ever since the MCU’s Multiverse of Madness dropped in theaters earlier this month, I’ve heard so much about people missing Raimi’s work and praising his influences, especially in the horror genre. For many fans of the MCU, the movie was a drastic change from the usual formula. My friends and I left the theater saying “Man… that was like Marvel meets Evil Dead” and that’s when it dawned on us, we need some more Evil Dead content.
The classic 1981 film Evil Dead was an innovative and genre-fusing take on the hack and slash horror-comedy genre. Spearheaded by lead actor Bruce Campbell as the eccentric Ash Williams, the movie has spawned into a series of films, video games, a tv series, and even a musical. If you were missing the nostalgia of those movies, and the hunger to slay some Kandarian Demons, Evil Dead: The Game is your ticket to protecting the Earth from the grasp of hell.
Created by developer Saber Interactive, Evil Dead: The Game is an online 4 vs 1 asymmetrical PVP game based on the characters and situations from the Evil Dead films and tv series. The game allows players to form groups and race against impending demonic doom by gathering loot, weapons, and upgrades to survive. The four players must find the pages of the Necronomicon and the Kandarian dagger in order to fight off the Dark Ones who are protecting the Book of the Dead. You must do all this while also fighting off a single player controlling the Kandarian Demon who is protecting its portal to Hell.
Very much like the survival horror games Friday the 13th and the more successful Dead by Daylight, you and your friends must work together to achieve the main objectives while avoiding the more powerful evil character. Unlike those games, you have a strong chance of defending yourself and upgrading your abilities. Just like a battle royal, you must scavenge and loot for items and weapons to boost your advantage against the Kandarian Demon and its Dark Ones. For survivors, you have the choice of 13 playable characters, 4 unlockable, along with four different class types. The survivor characters must control a fear meter at all times. Exploring the map alone, in the dark, or without a light source will leave you vulnerable to a higher fear level and will expose you to the attacks of the Kandarian Demon including possession. The four class types are Leader, Warrior, Hunter, and Support.
Leader abilities include being more resistant to fear and providing the team with a strengthening aura. Warriors are more focused on combat and enemy attacks as they have a higher health advantage. Hunters deal more damage with ranged weapons, have higher stamina, and can carry more ammo. Lastly, Support survivors are focused on providing health and shields to increase protection for survival. Survivors must be very mindful of their environment and explore the map while also being extremely cautious. As much as this is a gory action game, stealth is a very important aspect and will allow you to survive much longer. Your team must also always be mindful of the game clock, if you take too long a demonic storm will overtake your team.
There is a vast array of long and close-range weapons. Some weapons include special finishing moves that will be signaled by a prompt over the head of a Dark One. There are many iconic weapons including Ash’s chainsaw, but you want to be careful as to how much attention you are attracting. Looting will leave your character exposed so you must always look out for traps set by the Demon player. Be sure to search crates for the best weapons including guns, and be careful shooting them or entering cars because the Demon will be alerted. Vehicles are great for fast travel, but sometimes the map is unkind and you might smash into one tree after another or be stuck on the side of a hill. Make sure that you are generating and conserving your light sources, and work together with your team to repair light sources to get yourself out of the dark. If you are in a battle with some Dark Ones, be sure to dodge, it is essential to your survival.
Aside from the four survivor characters, you can also play as the Kandarian Demon. As the demon, you play by yourself to defeat the survivors and prevent them from closing the portal to Hell. You have a range of three demon types: Warlords, Necromancer, and Puppeteer. Warlords have the ability to deal increased damage and reduce received damage. The Necromancer can summon skeletons to attack and overpower the survivors. The Puppeteers can possess things and be a living hell for the survivors, literally. Playing as the Demon, you can float around the map very quickly and provide jump scares at certain points. You can see enemies when they make sounds and you can use their abilities to limit the survivors’ progression and thwart their mission. You can leave traps to slow down or capture the survivors.
Roaming around the map and collecting Infernal Energy orbs will allow your Demon to become more powerful and it will unlock more skills. As your demon powers grow, you can control things in the environment including increasing fear, slowing characters, summoning special demons, and possessing survivor players. When you possess a player, you can attack other players, waste their ammo, or leave them in a vulnerable area. Lastly, if your demon reaches level 10, you can use upgrade points to unlock powerful bosses including Evil Ash. The survivors must do their best to protect the Necronomicon at the breach location, and close the portal. Once the breach is controlled, you must survive for about two minutes before a cutscene will play either the survivor or the demon’s victory.
Personally, my friends and I usually play Dead by Daylight, so I found this game very familiar but also fresh. Aside from some very frustrating moments, including a couple of game crashes, I was able to enjoy playing it. There are a couple of game modes to choose from so if you don’t want to play online then you can play against an AI or play some solo missions as Ash. This game is very dependent on teamwork, so be sure to get a good group of dependable players to increase your chance of survival.
Overall, I loved the gore and the comedy-horror elements throughout. The jump scares really got me a couple of times and I’m usually not a jumpy person so that impressed me. The graphics were extremely well done along with the excellent voice acting by Bruce Campbell himself. Aside from the grueling progression of upgrades, looting, and death, I think this game is an excellent addition to the survival horror genre. Evil Dead: The Game is available now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW for $39.99 and $59.99 deluxe edition. So grab your “groovy” friends, grab a chainsaw, and send those demons back from whence they came.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Evil Dead: The Game for PlayStation 5 provided by Saber Interactive.