The over-the-top and vibrant action of Evil West has ensured that the title has been on my radar from the moment it was revealed, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit hesitant with my excitement. Don’t get me wrong, it looked great in the trailers, whilst having developer Flying Wild Hog on board meant that it would definitely be fun to play. There’s just a stigma with AA titles that left me wondering if it would actually be as good as it looked.
Put those doubts aside, folks. Whilst Evil West has its imperfections, it’s also one of the most exciting and fun third-person action titles I’ve played this year.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Evil West puts players in the role Jesse Rentier, a no-nonsense cowboy that’s a part of the vampire-hunting Rentier Institute. Come on… that sentence alone is enough to have piqued your interest, right? Whilst the Rentier Institute and its members are in constant danger anyway, the arrival of a vicious vampire named Felicity D’Albano brings their world crashing down given that she has the powers of a god. It’s up to Jesse to pick up the pieces of the Rentier Institute and bring the fight to the deadly foe.
Listen, Evil West isn’t going to win any awards for its over-the-top and somewhat dumb narrative, but it doesn’t stop it from being a lot of fun and fitting the absurd vibe of the game perfectly. The heroes are brooding steampunk bad asses, the villains are outrageous with their extreme personalities, whilst the plot revelations are silly but work. I found myself engrossed in the storytelling, and whilst it was always obvious where it was going to go, it did more than enough to keep me entertained throughout the game’s roughly ten-hour runtime.
It might seem a strange comparison to make given that it looks like a traditional third-person shooter, but Evil West feels an awful lot like God of War. Whilst you’re well equipped with a wide selection of powerful weaponry, you’re equally as powerful when facing foes head on and running into battle with a well-timed superman punch. Players will mash combos and pick off enemies from all directions, all whilst making sure to dodge their way into safety to avoid incoming attacks. It feels really good, and whilst it might not have the finesse and fluidity seen in Sony’s behemoth release, it certainly packs a punch.
“Steampunk, westerns, and horror will ALWAYS be a good combination to me, and Evil West certainly proves it time and time again during its wild adventure.”
Of course, you’ve also got plenty of guns to use on your adventure too, with each having unlimited ammo to ensure you’ll never be stuck in a rut when trying to take out enemies from range. Using the likes of your pistols, shotgun, and flamethrower never stops being satisfying, whilst knowing you won’t run out of ammo means the combat is free-flowing and the action never stops (even if you do have to wait for your weaponry to re-charge at times). When combined with the melee action, it makes for some creative and satisfying battling, whilst the abundance of weapons and abilities at your disposal ensures it never gets stale. You can even unlock upgrades as you progress or use the environment to inflict some extra-gruesome kills on your enemies, ensuring that Evil West offers plenty of depth throughout its raging gameplay.
I’d be remiss not to mention the boss encounters too, which are some super exciting showdowns that really show off the best aspects of Evil West’s combat. Not only are the boss designs themselves absolutely brilliant and fitting with the game’s grotesque vampiric vibe, but they’re also creative encounters that’ll test the player’s mettle in all sorts of ways. Honestly, I just can’t say enough good things about Evil West’s combat.
The level design is solid too, with plenty of different environments to explore that offer some impressive sights as well as secrets to uncover. There are some neat set pieces and elements of puzzling to be found too, though they don’t really do anything you wouldn’t have seen before. There’s nothing bad, but there was nothing that blew me away either from a level design perspective either – especially after playing the likes of God of War: Ragnarok recently that kept the action varied and constantly flowing throughout levels. The enemy variety isn’t exceptionally expansive either, which feels a bit more obvious during the later hours in the adventure when you keep facing hordes of the same types of enemies over and over again.
Check out some screenshots down below:
At least the game looks the part though, with its brightly coloured landscapes and character designs a real treat on the eyes. Whilst it’s easy to see that the game world isn’t packed with the visual detail seen in AAA releases and there are a few graphical glitches here and there, the art direction itself is awesome and ensures that the world is an intriguing one to be a part of. Steampunk, westerns, and horror will ALWAYS be a good combination to me, and Evil West certainly proves it time and time again during its wild adventure.
The only caveat? The graphical options feel limited. Players can either go for a visual mode that plays at a 4K resolution at 30fps, or a performance mode that plays at 60fps at 1080p. It feels like the game isn’t always making the most of the hardware, with the 1080p resolution in the performance mode a little underwhelming when similar titles have managed to hit a dynamic 1440p or 4K resolution with the higher frame rate. I’m nit-picking a little bit, but since the action is at its best at 60fps, it was a little disappointing to deal with a resolution that feels a bit last-gen.
Evil West Review
Evil West is a fun, silly, and over-the-top vampire-slaying adventure that certainly deserves the attention of action-loving gamers. The combat is great, the world offers some wonderful and horrific sights, whilst the narrative is outrageous in all of the right ways… what more could you want?
It is guilty of feeling a little samey in places with the level design, the performance settings are a little underwhelming, and there’s nothing here you wouldn’t have seen done before, but Evil West isn’t looking to revolutionise the third-person action genre; instead, it takes some of the best bits of it and jams them together into one thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC