Flying Wild Hog has had a busy year with stellar releases like the side-scrolling samurai action game Trek to Yomi, and the first-person shooter Shadow Warrior 3. This time, the development studio has partnered with Focus Entertainment (A Plague Tale: Requiem, Aliens: Fireteam Elite) to produce the epic western-action vampire-hunting game, Evil West.
Evil West – Story
You take on the role of Jesse Rentier, an agent of the Rentier Institute, a secret organization solely aiming to battle supernatural creatures. It’s Jesse’s resolve to protect the American frontier from the Sanguisuge, vampiric creatures who pose a threat to humanity. I won’t delve further into the plot, but the overall piece had a really well-paced structure, and each location didn’t feel like it overstayed its welcome. Although the plot wasn’t the most inventive, I always found myself invested in the characters and curious about the direction of the narrative.
Evil West – Gameplay
Evil West’s gameplay feels nostalgic, yet fresh. The mission structure feels similar to that of what gamers experienced during the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era of gaming. It sounds silly to be praising that, but this is what makes Evil West stand out in a saturated library of action games.
The main objective of each chapter is to make your way through each linear area defeating hordes of enemies while solving puzzles and searching for hidden loot. Each mission usually ends with a large number of enemies or a boss, presenting a challenging experience at times. If you have a friend, I highly recommend playing this game using the online co-op mode, which allows you to play through the story with another gun-slinging vampire-slaying cowboy by your side.
Shootin’ and Lootin’
Combat feels fluid and dynamic with many different ways to approach an ambush from enemies. There are several different weapons in your arsenal so it doesn’t feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, which is difficult to accomplish in games like this one. These weapons are unlocked throughout the progress of the game and can be upgraded using cash you collect along the way.
While the combat is hard-hitting, the downfall is that the supernatural creatures you fight are limited. You will often fight the same enemy or a slight variation of the enemy repeatedly throughout the game. That being said, the gun-slinging and pack-a-punch action are so engaging that it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game.
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Progression & Level Design
Leveling up rewards you with perk points which you can use to learn new abilities and boost your stats. I love the idea of a simplified “skill tree” as it doesn’t feel so overbearing when there is so much to unlock and different branches to go. These abilities were all advantageous so it was hard to choose just one each time I had a perk point.
The level design was great with areas easy to navigate thanks to the use of prompts in the form of glowing chains. If exploration is what you crave in an action game, look elsewhere because Evil West is extremely linear and the only exploration available are slightly hidden paths with hidden chests at the end of them.
Evil West – Music and Audio
Composers Nima Fakhara and Michał Korniewicz who have separately worked on titles like Detroit: Become Human, Dying Light, and Shadow Warrior 3 have created a cohesive soundtrack full of wild west music. It is so satisfying beating these supernatural creatures to the bangin’ beats created by the duo. The music is a solid addition to an already entertaining game.
Derek Hagen (Control), Damian Lynch (A Plague Tale Requiem), James Phoon (Live A Live), Emilia Blackwell (Control) lead the cast to a great performance, despite some audio quality issues. At times the dialogue audio sounded a bit dated, but I’m not sure if this was a creative decision to sound like a western film or if it was just poor quality.
Graphics and Performance
The game has a performance mode and a quality mode. My preference in games is performance mode, so that is what I’ll be reviewing. What surprised me about Evil West (and it might be because I was playing Pokémon Violet alongside this game) is how stable the FPS remained even when fighting large groups of enemies. The game runs extremely well despite the complete chaos unraveling around you.
Flying Wild Hog didn’t spare any resources when crafting this game, because man it looks so beautiful. Now, beautiful isn’t the first word you think of when you think of a western setting, but I often had to stop and admire what was around me.
Evil West delivers an intoxicating experience with its electrifying combat and engaging well-paced story. The new IP is reminiscent of an older generation of action games but feels modern and refreshing compared to other action games of today.