Evil West, by Flying Wild Hog, the developer best known for the Shadow Warrior series, is a third-person brawler style game set in a 19th-century supernatural steampunk-inspired version of the United States which is under attack by a vampire threat known as the “Sanguisuge.”
You play the role of Jesse Rentier, a vampire slayer working for the Rentier Institute, headed by his father, William Rentier. Jesse has been tasked with one job; to eliminate the vampire threat that has taken over the United States.
Before we dig into the review, I just want to bring up something based on the game’s difficulty. If you want a bit of a challenge, I strongly suggest playing Evil West on something higher than normal difficulty. While normal does, at times, make for a challenge in certain areas, it’s still pretty easy and I feel that you get the most out of these kinds of games with a good challenge. Alright, let’s move on.
I’ve been asked a few times how Evil West plays and what it compares to. If I had to describe Evil West, to me, it’s the end product of DOOM Eternal and the more recent God of War series having a baby. It’s got an old-school, arcadey feel to its design which I was really digging. Not a lot of games are doing this anymore, so it was good to see.
Evil West’s combat involves a lot of dodging and blocking, especially when it comes to the big battle arena areas or boss fights, but don’t worry, Flying Wild Hog gives you a lot of tools to get the job done.
As you play you will unlock a variety of abilities and weapons. While early on in the game combat is mostly focused on melee, it’s not long until you’ll start gaining access to weapons such as a revolver and a rifle, just to name a few, with more being added to your arsenal as you play. Each weapon is tied to a button. For example, your revolver can be used simply by hitting the RT, while your rifle is used by holding down LT to pull it out and aim, then RT to fire.
You’ll also be slowly fed abilities, and this is where the fun begins. Evil West focuses heavily on melee combat, so in some cases, weapons come across as a last resort to get you out of a hairy situation. This is where your gauntlet and abilities become an important and versatile weapon, such as an electric charge attached to the gauntlet that allows you to shock and stun enemies.
Another is a magnetic pull ability, reeling them in towards you, or vice versa, to unleash a fury of attacks. Then, once your gauntlet is fully charged up, you’ll have access to an ultimate ability, “Supercharged”, where you become unstoppable for a small amount of time.
It wouldn’t be a nod to the more recent DOOM games without glory kills. Just like in DOOM Eternal, once you’ve laid enough smackdown on an enemy, they will begin to glow. This is your cue to get in there and perform a glory kill. These are pretty cool and can be extremely violent, just the way I like it.
The game gives you two different upgrade systems to focus on. The first is your weapons and equipment upgrades, and you need money to unlock and upgrade these. The second is your perks, which use perk points to unlock new skills. As you play and level up, you’ll obtain perk points, with a few different trees you can spec into, depending on the kind of play style you are going with, such as using environmental hazards more to your advantage or getting the most out of your powerful gauntlets. It’s entirely up to you.
Evil West, for the most part, is surprisingly gorgeous to look at, offering a large array of western-inspired areas such as mountains, swamps, canyons, and old mines. Levels are broken up into traversal sections and puzzles to progress before heading into combat areas. These puzzles mostly involve things like pushing carts around or something similar. They’re pretty straightforward and obvious. Nothing too hard.
Exploration is a must. While the game is fairly linear, paths that seem out of place usually suggest a hidden item. Each area has a certain number of collectibles to be found such as chests, lore items, and money. It’s the chests and money that are most important. Money found in a chest, laying around, or by leveling up, is used to upgrade your weapons, as mentioned earlier.
Chests will also contain some perks that can only be unlocked if you find them during your playthrough. Bonus items are also found this way, such as skins for your character, gun, and gauntlet, so you can change up how you look. Don’t worry if you miss some, you can go back and playthrough each level to track down anything you might have missed your first time around.
Finally, yes! Evil West can also be played in co-op, and while this can be fun, it’s not the best way to play the game, especially if you aren’t the host, as only the host retains progress. This is something I think developers need to do better when it comes to adding co-op into their games.
In conclusion, Evil West gives us that old-school feel with its over-the-top brutally satisfying combat, packaged up with stunning visuals in an interesting steampunk-inspired world that any vampire slayer would enjoy.
- Brutal combat
- Stunning visuals
- Glory kills
- Plenty of collectibles
- Co-op doesn't retain progress if not host
- Mostly linear levels