From the moment I saw Get Even I was intrigued at what it would offer. I mean, without actually playing the game it’s hard to tell what exactly it is from screenshots and gameplay footage alone. It’s finally released though and I’ve played through the game from start to end, yet it’s still difficult to define it as a specific genre. It mixes so many different ideas together into a game that truly feels unique – a rare quality these days. However, being unique doesn’t necessarily merit a game a good one and Get Even does have its flaws, though thankfully they’re outweighed by everything the game manages to get right.
Get Even throws you into the action almost immediately with little to no introduction. You just know you’re Cole Black and you’re tasked with saving a girl who has been taken hostage and strapped up with a bomb. After something ‘happens’, you then wake up in a seemingly abandoned asylum with no memory and a strange device strapped to your head. Completely unaware of what’s going on, all you have is a mysterious figure named Red to guide you through the asylum and give enigmatic remarks as to what exactly is going on. What follows is a series of events that see you re-living Cole’s memories as he tries to figure out why exactly he was working to save the girl and what else he knew about the whole situation.
I actually feel that saying too much more might be against the point of Get Even; its biggest hook is the mystery of what’s going on, so giving away too much detail could easily deter from your experience with the game. So much of it is left to interpretation and it works really well, and whilst there will be plenty occasions in the game where you assume something was going on, you’d so often find that it just wasn’t the case. There are so many twists and turns to be found, and with a constant sense of intrigue to support them all it’s difficult to not find yourself completely hooked into the story. There are so many extra details to discover too, with countless news clippings, photographs, e-mails, and letters to find that each give you new bits of information as to what exactly is going on. It all pays off well in the end too.
One unique aspect of Get Even is that the way in which it blends together a variety of different genres into one package. Get Even can feel like a horror-focused walking simulator when you’re working through the asylum and witnessing some of the creepy sights and terrifying inmates, a mystery title as you find clues hidden in the environment and solve puzzles, a stealth title as you’re sneaking across levels and evading the countless mercenaries out to get you, and even an out and out first person shooter when they eventually find you. When you reach a certain point of the game it changes up completely again, offering a whole new experience that feels a lot more unique to the game. However, it’s a bit of a case of the game being a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’; sure, there are plenty of different things for you to do, but at the same time it’s typically a more basic form of it.
Take the clue finding for example – all it requires is for you to take photos of certain areas of the environment with your phone. There’s no intricate way to put together the pieces of each puzzle, but instead just the press of a button. It could feel a little too ordinary and made what could’ve been a clever detective aspect of the game feel incredibly stale. It also suffered from Silent Hill syndrome with a plethora of locked doors coming your way throughout the game, giving it a bit of a linear feel despite how open the environment seemed to be.
It’s the same with the stealth aspects, with the game simply pitting you against enemies that either stay in one spot or follow a very predictable route. There’s no real challenge to it and it feels very one-dimensional with the player just expected to find the often glaringly obvious route to take. There’s nothing particularly special about it and it could feel a little dull – it’s especially disappointing since the sneaky approach is the way the game encourages you to play.
Don’t get me wrong, Get Even never does anything that feels bad, but it could lack excitement at times and leave you feeling like you’re simply following a routine. It certainly has its moments where everything comes together nicely and you’ll be impressed, whilst it’s also full of so many neat ideas that could easily amalgamate together to offer a fantastic experience. They just aren’t always fully explored; it doesn’t mean you won’t have fun, but rather that Get Even could’ve been so much more.
One thing I really liked was the CornerGun – Get Even’s signature weapon that allows you to shoot around corners thanks to an external camera attached to the gun. There was something satisfying about being able to hide in cover and have your gun poke around a corner, all whilst using the camera to pick off enemies without putting yourself out in the open. Admittedly, the game actually discourages killing, but I couldn’t help but to find myself in fire-fights with my enemies; not just because I kept getting caught, but also because it was so much fun to thanks to the CornerGun. Still, I couldn’t help but to wonder why there was such a great weapon on offer in a game that encourages pacifism.
At least you do get to make the choice of how you play though, with the game never forcing you to take a particular approach no matter how much it might promote it. It isn’t just the choice of killing or sneaking past mercenaries you have to make either, with specific story decisions popping up that’ll have an affect on the outcome of the game. One of the earliest decisions you get to make gives you the choice of freeing an inmate or leaving him locked up. The consequence of your action might not be made apparent to begin with, but later on in the game you’ll be given a stark reminder that everything you do in the game can have an adverse affect on the narrative. These sorts of choices happen all throughout the game, giving it a real sense of replayability that’ll easily tempt you in for another playthrough to do things differently. It’s almost like a Telltale Games release in that regard; sure, the choices aren’t as significant, but it does at least allow you to have an input on how everything pans out.
One area in which the game really excelled was with its fantastic sound design. This isn’t just with the top quality soundtrack, but also the voice acting and the smaller sound effects that make each environment come to life. The asylum in particular is full of the noises that go ‘bump in the night’, adding a really haunting atmosphere to the already creepy surroundings. Besides that, there’s also the ambient noise that’s used to impressive effect. You’ll always know when you’re approaching a suspenseful scene thanks to the rise in tempo of any background ambient noise – it’s a little predictable in design, but so very impressive at setting the mood and putting the player on edge.
Get Even is made up of a plethora of different gameplay aspects, though none of them are masterfully crafted in a way that helps define the game. You’ve got your exploration, your puzzle solving, your sneaky stealth moments, and even moments of all out action in hectic gunfights, though none of these things are done to the extent that you’d really label Get Even a particular genre. It’s not a flaw though; as I’ve said, Get Even is a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, yet it all works together to make for an entertainingly unique experience.
You’re not going to be blown away by what Get Even offers and it often lacks the polish that a triple-A title holds, but it does more than enough to justify a playthrough. If you fancy playing something a little different to the norm that’ll hook you in with its engaging story and entertaining gameplay, it’s certainly worth giving Get Even a try.
Developer: The Farm 51
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: 23/06/2017
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC