Being a gunslinger in most wild west games such as Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare, Weird West, and Darkwatch definitely had its great moments, and it’s the same thing I can say about Evil West.
Developer Flying Wild Hog, the studio behind the popular DOOM-inspired first-person shooter franchise Shadow Warrior, isn’t shying away from doing something new again. Trek to Yomi is a good example, and now, the Polish studio is back to creating yet another shooter filled with monsters.
Evil West is going to shoot your cowboy boots out with its enjoyable combat and gore despite its forgettable story.
As you start off your 13-hour linear adventure in this alternate 18th-century wild west, you’re in the boots of a monster-slayer agent named Jesse Rentier. With the entire country crawled with vampires called the Sanguisuges, it’s up to the Rentier Institute, an organization led by our gunslinger protagonist’s father William Rentier, to protect America from evil forces beyond mankind’s understanding.
Threatened by mortal men’s advancements in technology, the vampires look to strike before humans can progress and create weapons that will eventually eradicate them. The story about the battles between mankind and vampires has always been cliche. You may expect the plot to derive inspiration from films like Van Helsing and Underworld, but it’s as simple as just the vampire covenant trying to thrive and feed on humans. The writing drives the game’s narrative to something interesting at first but steers away from being consistent to keep you engrossed.
While the story may not be as good as you expect it to be, Evil West strikes strong with its impressive combat. Similar to 2018’s God of War, the gameplay leans more toward a grounded third-person action-adventure beat ’em up shooter. As Jesse, you can punch monsters’ heads out of their bodies with his electrifying Rentier Gauntlet, pull out a six-bullet revolver and shoot like a true cowboy, and hit enemy weak points with his deadly rifle. To make the game’s combat even more enticing, you won’t have to worry about picking up ammo, instead, you simply have to wait for a quick cooldown that acts like a reload time. It’s a nice trade-off to keep the combat pacing consistent and enjoyable.
You also get to unlock other tools and weaponry as you progress through the story like the Crippling Rod that stuns enemies within a specific radius, a close-quarters sawed-off shotgun to break enemy shields, and a flamethrower. During combat, you can effectively use all of them when the situation calls for it. You can combine melee and ranged attacks to strike a beautiful and satisfying combo like when you need to dash through an enemy, launch them off the ground, and sink bullet holes in them with your revolver.
As you’re engaged in battle, Evil West pits you against a wide variety of monsters. From regular human goons and suicidal exploding monstrosities to huge brutes with spikey shields and mutated man-bats, you’re encouraged to use all the abilities and weapons to defeat them as each encounter with enemies is certainly overwhelming at times.
You can charge up your gauntlet to uppercut enemies and launch them in the air followed by a gratifying powerful air punch that throws them to environmental hazards or to other enemies. Using the Zapper Pull to bring enemies closer to you for a mighty gauntlet punch is quite a sight, and executing a finishing move on dying enemies is satisfyingly fun to watch, you can even perfectly time a block to electrocute adversaries for a follow-up attack. Plus, you can obliterate any enemy with the gauntlet’s supercharged ultimate ability, making Jesse insanely fast and giving each punch a huge umph!
Upgrades play an important role as without them means you won’t be able to take down enemies quicker. Weapon and tool upgrades can be done by leveling up and purchasing them with in-game bucks. While you get Perk points and 2,000 bucks every time you increase your level, looking for in-game cash for upgrades is disappointingly tied to the limited crates, chests, and pouches that are scattered throughout the chapters; it’s like there’s only a maximum amount of cash you can get in your entire playthrough.
In each chapter, there’s a certain number of collectibles, chests, and cash. While they are easily found all thanks to the glowing chains that serve as a traversal indicator, if you’re looking for more money to get those upgrades, you’re unfortunately forced to find all the money before you decide to progress through the chapter or you may miss the chance to upgrade your weapons due to lack of funds.
Evil West looks visually impressive on the PS5. In most cases, you get to appreciate some of the game’s locations as they are filled with little details, capturing that 18th-century wild west filled with horrors of the supernatural.
The game runs perfectly fine but not without minor dips. You’re given two performance options with one of them removing the 30 frames per second limit. Choosing Performance mode lowers the rendering resolution, making Evil West look grainy. You will need that performance boost as this can greatly improve the responsiveness of the controls when you’re up against more than 6 enemies at a time.
Evil West‘s enjoyable, gruesome combat will keep you wanting to land more punches and rip monsters apart despite the dreary narrative.
Evil West – Review
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you have to admit it is a “Good” game.