It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of asymmetrical multiplayer games. My traitorous side was revealed in Project Winter, I recently became an avid Midnight Ghost Hunter, and I’ve played more Dead by Daylight than any other game over the last six years. Naturally Evil Dead: The Game has been on my radar for a while. Although I have no experience with the horror franchise, any game that pits humans against demons has my attention. It’s a shame this one couldn’t hold it.
Evil Dead: The Game pits a team of four survivors against a horde of demons controlled by one other player. The survivors have a whole host of objectives to complete to purge the evil from this land, and it’s up to the demon to murder the lot of them to prevent this. It’s a really interesting setup, with a lot of strategic thinking required if you want your team to succeed.
As a Survivor you’ll need to collect 3 pieces of a map first (with a vague area given for you to explore) then collect the Kandarian Dagger and pages of the Necronomicon it reveals. You can then take down the massive demons guarding the Necronomicon, reassemble it and expel all those baddies from this realm. It’s a huge task, and involves travelling across a massive map and dealing with waves of monsters as you go.
Combat as a Survivor is functional, but not particularly fun. You’ll need to grab a gun and a melee weapon from the world as soon as possible, so you can deal with whatever horde of ghouls your opponent throws at you. Up close you can unleash light attacks and heavy attacks, and will need to make good use of the dodge button. Guns work exactly how you’d expect, and come in the usual varieties of pistols and shotguns you’d expect. It’s unfortunately all just a little clunky, which is a shame because you’ll be doing a lot of it.
When you aren’t fighting spooky monsters, you should probably be looting houses to up your arsenal. Each map is pretty vast (some might say too vast) and has plenty of nooks and crannies to explore to find the best weapons. You’ll also want to find lots of healing cola, amulets that give you a protective barrier and matches to light up the world.
If you’re on your own in the dark for too long you’ll become scared. The fear mechanic is really interesting, and has a ton of implications. Anyone who’s scared will be visible on the map to the evil opponent, and can be possessed by them and used to attack their fellow survivors. One of the easiest ways to lose is having your best player turn his legendary rifle on his pals, so sticking together and huddling by a fire will serve you well.
I didn’t really enjoy playing as the survivors during my time with Evil Dead: The Game, but I had a lot of fun commanding an army of demons. There are three evil factions you can choose to lead, and once you’ve chosen you’ll be unleashed onto the map. There are a ton of different tools at your disposal as a bad guy, and you’ll need to use them all to kill those pesky humans.
Using portals to summon monsters is one of the most simple ways to torment your enemies. You have two types of portal that unleash basic and elite enemies into the world, and they can be summoned instantly or activated when an unsuspecting player walks close enough to them. You can then either watch the chaos unfold and see who comes out on top, or possess one of the monsters and take matters into your own hands. Each type of demon has a completely different moveset, and will almost always be more successful if you’re the one piloting them.
As well as portals, you can also set traps around the world at specific locations. Some of these will jumpscare the survivors (and jumpscare they do!) which raises their fear metre, others can make a tree swing branches at them or make a creepy hand jump out of a chest and attack them. Watching traps torment your opponents is always a pleasure, but the map is so big you’ll rarely get a chance to unless you choose the very best place to put them.
All of these methods of survivor bullying are fine, but none of them are as devastating as your boss monster. This powerful beast has a heck of a cooldown and isn’t unlocked immediately, but when it is unleashed it’s rare for the survivors to be left standing. Only you can control the boss, and it has a whole host of abilities to immobilise, disrupt and dismantle a team of humans. Nothing in Evil Dead: The Game feels better than summoning the boss when the survivors are gathered at an objective and killing the lot of ‘em.
Every one of these powers requires you to spend some Infernal Energy, which you find in floating red orbs around the map. Keeping this topped up is absolutely the worst aspect of playing as the demons, and it takes so many of them to do anything. Gliding around in your spectral form is floaty and stomach churning at the best of times, so having to speed around for minutes at a time just so you can send a few skeletons at Ash and company isn’t ideal.
One way to try and make this issue less prevalent is to spend your upgrade points on Infernal Energy. As you make the world a more threatening place you’ll be given points to unlock powers (like the portals and boss monsters) and upgrades to make your army more powerful. You don’t really stand a chance against the good guys when you start the match, but after placing a few traps and downing a few survivors you’ll have a plethora of unstoppable powers at your disposal.
Survivors can level up some stats mid match too, by finding pink potions in loot boxes. The upgrades are pretty granular and not particularly exciting, but getting a bunch of them is key if you want to stand a chance against the overpowered demon horde.
You won’t just be buffing your characters in matches either, with huge skill trees of upgrades available for every single survivor and demon class. Every match will earn you points based on how well you perform, and you can use them to upgrade everything from the amount of Infernal Energy you start with to the damage dealt by a specific attack.
There is one massive issue with Evil Dead: The Game that will hopefully be addressed down the line, and that’s the balance. For this review I played over 10 hours of matches as the demons, and lost 1 game total. I also played plenty of survivor matches and barely won a single game. It seems pretty unlikely that I have some sort of eSports skill level when it comes to murdering survivors, and until this balance is fixed it makes playing as the survivors especially really unappealing.
Another (admittedly more personal) issue I had with Evil Dead: The Game was the actual Evil Dead universe. I can’t understand if it’s supposed to be comedy or horror, and the end result was that it was neither. Coupled with some horrendous voice acting, it certainly didn’t make me want to check out the source material as many licensed games have in the past.
Evil Dead: The Game has an incredibly good concept, but balance issues and average Survivor gameplay really let it down in its current state. In the best moments playing as the Demons I loved tormenting my enemies, but in these moments I was painfully aware of how much less fun I’d be having if I was on the other side. With a bit of balancing though, there’s still some hope for Evil Dead fans yet.
A great concept
Playing as the Demons is entertaining
Lots of skill trees to upgrade
Survivor combat is dull
Currently extremely unbalanced
Gathering Infernal Orbs is tiresome
Floaty first person demon gameplay might make you queezy
Poor voice acting