Evil West Review

2022 has seen its fair share of “Weird West” games, but the latest is sure to be one of the best. The Wicked West from developer Flying Wild Hog takes place in the Wild West ravaged by vampires and other deadly supernatural creatures. The Rentier Institute is dedicated to hunting down these monsters to protect citizens on the American frontier, but its vampire hunters soon find themselves at odds with a particularly powerful foe.

While that sounds fun on paper, the Wicked West story is B-movie-caliber, with paper-thin characters who speak only one line, all with varying degrees of obnoxiousness. The plot is predictable, the villains are generic, but ultimately the story is accidental. Evil West’s weak narrative doesn’t hold it back, because the core gameplay is so good. Players can safely ignore it and it won’t affect their enjoyment of the overall product in any way.

Basically, if Doomfist in Overwatch spent his time killing vampires in the Wild West, then the Wicked West gameplay would happen. The protagonist, Jesse Rentier, is a seasoned vampire hunter equipped with a pair of electrified gloves that he can use to deal devastating melee combos. Players can use an uppercut to launch vampires, monsters, and other enemies into the air, then send them flying into a pile of dynamite or plummeting to the ground at breakneck speed. The gauntlet also allows players to close the distance between themselves and their enemies by speeding across the room, unleashing a barrage of jabs, and finishing with a fancy finishing move to kill any monsters unfortunate enough to stand in their way.

focus  entertainment  xbox  ps4 ps5 Wicked West’s combat revolves around Jesse’s gloves, but he also has many other useful tools at his disposal. Jesse’s arsenal of vampire slayers grows as the game progresses, which in turn adds depth to combat and gives players endless options for slaying monsters. Later in the game, players can combine Jesse’s glove attacks with shots from his revolver, shotgun, rifle, and various other weapons at his disposal to create incredible combos.

Evil West also occasionally has puzzles to solve and collectibles to find. The game’s puzzles are as generic as they appear, but they still do a good job of breaking up the action and giving players more variety in each minute of gameplay. Collectibles include documents that reveal more details about Evil West’s characters and story, as well as bags of cash that can be used to purchase Jesse’s weapon upgrades. These upgrades often translate into new attacks that further develop Jesse’s skills, which go a long way toward keeping combat fresh.

Those who take the time to thoroughly explore the Evil West levels will have no trouble finding most of the collectibles, as the game is extremely linear and doesn’t throw the player off the intended path too often. Some gamers may be put off by this, but in an industry dominated by huge open worlds and complex level design, Evil West’s shrunk arena is truly a breath of fresh air. With its simplified approach to level design and linear progression, Wicked West sometimes feels like a game pulled straight from 2005, and that’s no insult.

flying  wild  hog  horror  action  Evil West has no loot boxes or season pass. It doesn’t bog down the experience with bland side content or superfluous online features. It offers a straightforward action-adventure game that lets players slay monsters in the wild west as a cowboy vampire hunter. It’s a game that’s hard to come by in today’s gaming industry, so it stands out more than one might expect.

Evil West prides itself on returning to the old style of third-person action-adventure games. Developer Flying Wild Hog’s Shadow Warrior series fits the same mold of the first-person shooter genre, so fans of those games will likely get a good idea of Evil West’s scope and approach to game design. Its main focus is fun combat, and it certainly delivers on that. Unfortunately, this does come at the expense of the story and graphics, which leave a lot to be desired. For some, this might be a deal-breaker, but not for those who just want to play a fun video game.

One big downside that the fun combat in Evil West can’t overcome is its short length, though that’s mitigated by three things. For one, Evil West has multiple difficulty settings for players to significantly overcome the challenge. Second, Evil West has an online co-op mode that lets players play the game with friends, with the caveat that co-ops can’t save their progress. It’s a disappointing limitation that feels like co-op is added to check a box, but it’s better than not having the option at all.

trailer-evil-west A third feature that helps ease the pain of Evil West’s short gameplay is the New Game+ mode, which is always a great way to add replay value. But even with these features giving the game more replay value, some people may still be unimpressed by the Wild West short. Evil West has only 16 missions to complete, most of which can be easily completed in 30 minutes or less, with a few missions running a little longer. Most players should be able to beat the game in around 10 hours or faster without too much trouble.

Evil West’s poor narrative, dated graphics, and short length make it hard to justify the $60 price tag, no matter how entertaining the core combat is. Even so, those longing for a serious action game with old-school sensibilities may want to take the plunge, and if they’re not bogged down by the short length, they’re less likely to leave disappointed.

Evil West launches on November 22 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Game Rant obtained the Xbox Series X code for this review.

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