Evil West test: the action that tires

Evil West is the guilty pleasure of 2022. A western game where cowboys take on monsters. The gameplay is cool, but you end up getting tired of it.

Evil West and Red Dead Redemption 2 have one obvious point in common: they use the universe of the western to dress up their proposal. But the comparison will stop there. When the blockbuster from Rockstar Games relies on narration, the faithful reconstruction of an era, flamboyant graphics and writing to convince, the title published by Focus Entertainment focuses first on the gameplay. While Red Dead Redemption 2 sinks into a painful realism, Evil West adds paranormal to the equation.

In short, we can say that Evil West is the negative version of Red Dead Redemption 2, its exact opposite. It’s 100% true as soon as you have the controller in your hands: unlike its elder, Evil West is satisfying…up to a point. In terms of length, the game developed by Flying Wild Hog lacks nuance. What is enjoyable during the first hours ends up becoming exhausting as you relive the same situations over and over again. Too bad, because the basics are there.

Evil West // Source: Focus Entertainment
This bat, we face it too much // Source: Focus Entertainment

Evil West ends up getting bored

Availablity

Evil West is available from November 22, 2022 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and PC.

Evil West has all the guilty pleasure. That was our initial impression after trying it out for half an hour at gamescom 2022. At the time, we were even very excited about the game’s potential. fundamentally changed: it is still exhilarating to get rid of the vile creatures who terrorize America, then protected by a secret organization. Vampires, werewolves, tentacled abominations… In terms of folklore, Evil West mix it up a bit.

Besides, the game doesn’t always look like much. The artistic direction is very generic, and there is no distinct identity that emerges from Evil West. It’s also not helped by its graphics and brightness annoyances. The experience is too dark in low-light scenes and too flashy in daylight. Do not hesitate to take a little tour in the settings to adjust the gamma and obtain a more faithful and comfortable rendering for the eyes. In the options, you might be surprised to find that there is a setting to override spiders. A bit of paradoxical humor that should appeal to arachnophobes, while Evil West continues to look like a horror museum (including for its decorations).

We end up getting tired of killing the same giant bat 50 times

To defend himself, the cowboy has a very varied arsenal, the different parts of which are unlocked as you go. This constantly breaks the gameplay routine. However, we too often have the impression of stupidly linking the action sequences, with always more enemies thrown into the battle. Evil West favors quantity over quality and, after a few hours, you end up getting tired of killing the same giant bat 50 times, the same werewolf 150 times and the same queen bee 200 times (we’re hardly exaggerating). Flying Wild Hog varies enemy compositions, but that’s not enough. As a bonus, adversity usually has far too high a health bar – which makes clashes longer for their own good.

In short, the euphoria of the initial levels ends up fading in favor of a strong feeling of weariness. Evil West gets bogged down in its own loops, to the point of giving birth to strange situations. For example, if you see enemies in the distance, you can only kill them once you have entered what is considered by the game to be an arena (with any architecture). The player or the player advances on rails from beginning to end, even if it is – a little – allowed to explore the environments in search of gold, chests and documents. But, do we really want to read in a game with a deliberately laughable scenario?

Evil West // Source: Focus Entertainment
My favorite hobby ? Kill werewolves with flamethrowers. // Source: Focus Entertainment

16 chapters and a cooperative mode

Evil West strives to deepen the gameplay through a progression of classicism to emphasize. You level up to get skill points. We collect money to buy upgrades for our weapons. There is nothing deeply original, but it is quite effective. Especially since there is plenty to vary the pleasures. At first, the hero has only a gun, a rifle and his fists to defend himself – before becoming a real killing machine. During confrontations, success involves managing all the means available to sow death, knowing that you have to use them all to get out of it.

Proof that Flying Wild Hog has left the subtlety in the closet: there is no need to search for ammunition in Evil West. The weapons reload themselves, in a more or less long period of time. It’s a great idea for the pacing, only broken by the cutscenes and the handful of simplistic puzzles (they usually involve powering switches). Evil West also succeeds very well in its mix between pure shooting and melee attacks (there are even electric parries). The marriage is explosive and uninhibited. To let off steam, it’s ideal. Evil West would still benefit from being as technical as a Doom Eternal — the ultimate reference.

You can eventually share the pleasure — or the pain — through cooperative mode. There are sixteen chapters in all, and the difficulty will obviously adapt to the number of participants. We haven’t had the opportunity to try it, but when it sucks, it’s always better with a friend. Evil West does not have a bad bottom, it unfortunately loses shape. This is exactly the definition of a guilty pleasure. If you still have a few hours to kill in 2022, why not.

The verdict

Evil West // Source: Focus Entertainment

Evil West is successful if we focus only on its gameplay. In terms of action, the game published by Focus Interactive is impressive. The arsenal is varied, the challenge is sufficiently high and there is a nice progression curve as a bonus. But, as uninhibited and raw as it is, Evil West fishing in the rest.

As soon as he steps out of his comfort zone, Evil West is much less convincing. He’s not particularly handsome. He doesn’t say anything very interesting. And, above all, he ends up locking himself into a boring routine, which consists in slaying, certainly with style, always more monsters. Release/10.

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